Wildlife conservation at the heart of Brierley Hill tram extension project

The Midland Metro Alliance has started protected species surveys along the proposed Wednesbury to Brierley Hill tram extension route.
To help ensure that any work has the most positive impact possible on the local environment, ecologists have been on site over the last month setting-up reptile surveys, taking water samples to check for amphibians and checking sections of canals and rivers for signs of wildlife.
Breeding bird studies will be carried out during the summer, whilst late night bat activity surveys are ongoing until the end of September.
Earlier this year, surveys completed on behalf of the Midland Metro Alliance identified a wide-range of birds along the route, including jackdaws, robins and wrens, along with several water fowl including coots, moorhens and herons.
The summer breeding bird surveys will enable the Midland Metro Alliance to introduce measures to assist those species breeding on site, as well as ensure that there is no loss of biodiversity as a result of the Midland Metro coming to the area.
Alejandro Moreno, Midland Metro Alliance Director, said: “The work we are doing to secure the biodiversity of the area demonstrates how seriously the Midland Metro Alliance takes its environmental responsibilities. Not only are we looking to develop a high quality integrated public transport system that the region can really be proud of, we are also determined to be an integral part of the built environment. This means working with a range of experts to ensure that we meet our social and environmental responsibilities.”
Claire Gilby, Graduate Ecologist at Pell Frischmann, working on behalf of Midland Metro Alliance, said: “The Midland Metro Alliance has ensured that ecological constraints have been considered from the onset of this project and we completed our first site visit in December last year to assess the scale of scrub and woodland habitat present. We are confident that we will be able to assist in delivering a scheme that is considerate of the wildlife present and will be looking for ways to enhance the local environment wherever possible.”
Earlier in the spring, the Midland Metro Alliance began clearing the vegetation that covered the existing disused heavy rail line which closed for passenger use in 1962 between Wednesbury and Brierley Hill. Following the clearance works, Members of the Senior Citizens Enterprise Woodwork group in Dudley kindly donated their time and skills to build a variety of bird habitats to be installed in preparation for the proposed construction of the new Midland Metro route, which is planned to open for passenger service in 2023.