Ecological receptors identified include the statutory designated site, Blaen Cynon Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The scheme was re-designed at an early stage to avoid earthworks in proximity to the SAC.
A Habitats Regulations Assessment screening was undertaken and mitigation measures to avoid adverse impacts on the SAC and locally designated sites are discussed in the EIA. [Air quality impacts on the SAC are considered to be insignificant.
No significant residual adverse impacts are expected to result from the Project and there are no cumulative impacts expected with other projects and proposals. Targeted mitigation measures, identified through the EIA, to be implemented during the site establishment and mining stage include translocation of notable plant species, habitats and protected species to safeguarded receptor sites. Full details of proposed translocation including timescales will be presented in an overarching Ecological Management Plan for the site. Mitigation throughout the mining operations stage will result in neutral impacts to habitats and species across the site.
Restoration proposals include additional enhancement for nature conservation through the establishment and management of habitats of high value within the main site and the management of old tips for wildlife and enhanced provision for biodiversity in general. It is considered that these measures will result in an overall positive residual impact for nature conservation.
Ecology Mitigation and Restoration Addendum
The purpose of the Ecology Mitigation and Restoration Addendum is to provide additional detail to the ES submitted in July 2010 as requested by the statutory consultees in relation to the ecological impact assessment, mitigation and restoration proposals. The principles of avoidance of impacts, followed by mitigation and compensation where impacts cannot be avoided have been followed. Particular focus was placed on retaining, protecting and creating habitats and species of high and moderate value, including retaining habitats suitable to support marsh fritillary butterfly, habitats for which Hirwaun Common pSINC is designated and national and
local BAP habitats and species. The mitigation and enhancements delivered by the restoration proposals will result in enhancements for a number of habitats and species, will provide increased ecological connectivity both within the site and within the Hirwaun area and will ensure that in the long term there is no net loss to nature conservation.
Marsh Fritillary Habitats Regulations Assessment Addendum
A Marsh Fritillary Habitats Regulations Assessment report was produced to assess the likely significant effect of the scheme on the Blaen Cynon Special Area of Conservation (SAC) with respect to impacts on potential supporting habitat for marsh fritillary butterfly (an Annex II protected species of the EC Habitats and Species Directive). The assessment included reference to the findings of a specialist marsh fritillary habitat suitability survey. The assessment concluded no adverse impacts on the integrity of the Blaen Cynon SAC.