Today’s Star columnist: Erica Kemp

Erica Kemp
Erica Kemp
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Bats and badgers might not be the first things that spring to mind when I mention a climate campaign.

National Climate Week runs from March 3-9 to ‘showcase practical solutions from every sector of society’. In Sheffield, lots is going on worth showcasing.

As an environmental consultancy, Ecus is conscious of the impact posed by climate change so we’re proud to be supporting Sheffield Council in its flood defence works in the Lower Don Valley (LDV) to help protect the area.

The council is working with Sheffield Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the BID community, Environment Agency, Carillion and the River Stewardship Company to develop the scheme which will involve improved defences at more than 60 works locations along an 8km stretch of the River Don.

The LDV is a critical economic area for Sheffield, second only to the city centre, but was devastated during the floods in 2007. It is crucial, however, that on-going engineering is sensitive to the current needs of the local environment so our site inspections check there are no significant impacts to wildlife.  This includes checking for the presence of badgers and otters on the rivers banks and the potential for bat roosts along the watercourse.

The area is also rich in its heritage so our team have been working alongside English Heritage to make sure historic features are taken into consideration in any works, while the involvement of the Environment Agency ensures Sheffield is a key player when it comes to making sure UK cities become more resilient to flooding.

We’re working with the council to help protect wildlife and conserve the ecological biodiversity of the River Don corridor and are doing this by undertaking surveys for bats in trees, buildings and culverts. We’re also carrying out heritage surveys of some of the weirs and bridges to help conserve the industrial heritage.

In terms of the LDV, the aim is to protect more than 500 businesses and thousands of jobs, increasing resilience against climate change and ensuring the area remains an attractive place for new investment – as well as protecting local wildlife like those bats and badgers.