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Posted by W von Papinešu on August 20, 2002 at 16:46:11:
EVENING POST (Bristol, UK) 19 August 02 Slow Worms Get Marching Orders
An estimated 5,000 slow worms are to be found new homes before their current habitat in Brislington is destroyed by building work.
Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust is planning to build a 122-bed mental health unit at Callington Road.
This will involve building on 12 acres of a 42-acre site which will result in the loss of part of a wildlife haven.
To ensure the impact on wildlife is kept to a minimum, the trust is paying for a programme of ecological measures.
The first step in the programme is the re-homing of an estimated 5,000 slow worms, a protected species of legless lizard.
A number of possible new sites are being considered.
The slow worms will not be moved until next spring or summer but preparatory work will start this year.
Towards the end of the month a three-metre strip of long grass at the edge of the trust site will be cut down to prevent slow worms hibernating in that area.
A reptile fence will be put up in the winter and next spring ecologists will catch the slow worms from the land likely to be affected by the building work and transport them to a new habitat in slow worm boxes.
The trust will be working with consultant ecologists, English Nature, Bristol City Council and local people on the project.
Trust Chief Executive Roger Pedley said: "We are committed to a range of ecological measures designed to attract a wide range of plants and animals to Callington Road and reduce the impact of the development on the site to a minimum."
Environmentalists angered by plans to build the mental health unit on former allotments had hoped to contest the scheme in the High Court.
They claimed the city council had failed to carry out a full environmental impact assessment and had not been impartial when making the decision as it stood to gain from the sale.
But an appeal to the public by Knowle Open Space Action Committee (KOSAC) to donate towards the cost of a judicial review failed to raise enough money.
An exhibition on the proposed mental health unit and the programme of ecological measures will be held at St Gerard Majella Church Hall, in Buller Road, Knowle, on Thursday, August 29, between 4pm and 8 pm. For further information ring the Avon Project on Bristol 928 6627.