A Sheffield-based environmental consultancy firm has signed a deal worth around £5m to provide UK-wide ecological advice to Network Rail.
The five-year framework will see Ecus Ltd provide expert and impartial guidance to the authority responsible for the UK railway network.
The deal is worth about £1m a year to the city company, based near Meadowhall in Blackburn Road.
Chris John, technical director for ecology at Ecus, said: “We’ve previously worked on many similar infrastructure projects including rail, canals and highways, and we are looking forward to expanding our skills and experience in the rail sector.
“Our remit is to provide independent and impartial assessments and advice including on-site support and mitigation solutions, which can range from licensed bat workers climbing trees and installing bat boxes for vegetation management works or checking embankments for protected species such as badgers.”
He added: “Our first job through the Network Rail framework was undertaking an ecological survey and site supervision in relation to vegetation management works needed to maintain the tracks in a safe condition. This involved using our specialised trained staff to undertake tree climbing inspections for bats.
“We have also undertaken surveys for red squirrel and breeding birds as well as scoping studies for numerous sites.”
Established in 1986, Ecus is a multi-disciplinary environmental consultancy firm employing more than 50 staff with offices across the UK, including Cheltenham and Manchester.