Railway team's efforts help protect local wildlife

As work to the Borders Railway continues apace, the project team has been working hard to ensure they are doing all that they can to help protect the environment and local wildlife that live along the new line of route.

Wildlife including barn owls, otters and badgers are just some of the species being protected as part of Network Rail’s environmental commitment towards ensuring that the impact and disturbance to the habitats of these local animals during construction is minimised.

Some of the work carried out by the teams so far includes providing local barn owls with an alternative nest box, protecting badger setts from disturbance during construction, and ensuring that construction does not interfere with otter breeding and resting areas.

Andrew Mitchell, Project Environment Specialist for Network Rail, said: “An essential part of the re-development of the Borders Railway is to ensure that we are protecting species that have been integral to the Midlothian and Scottish Borders environment for many years.

“Although it is inevitable that a project of this scale will require some de-vegetation and other disturbance to make way for the new line, we are committed to working with SNH and SEPA in their regulatory capacity to make sure we work around important habitats and protected species or plants sensitively and, of course, appropriately.”

The Borders Railway project is also working to ensure any protected plant species are appropriately managed, one of which includes water crowfoot at various locations along the Gala Water.

Andrew continued: “While some construction works need to take place in the water, we are committed to protecting important aquatic plants like water crowfoot.”

Updates relating to the management of local wildlife and the environment will be available as work along the line progresses. The Borders Rail project environmental policy is outlined in its Code of Construction Practice.

To see images of badgers and fox cubs along the line of route captured using special camera traps, please click here.

If you would like to find out more about the Borders Railway project and works in your local area, please visit: www.bordersrailway.co.uk.