More East West Rail environmental surveys underway Image: EWR Co

Environmental surveys are to be carried out along the East West Rail route this Autumn as the East West Railway Company (EWR Co) gathers information that it said will assist it to develop its preliminary scheme design for the new railway connection between Oxford and Cambridge.

The environmental surveys will help identify opportunities for biodiversity net gain and build intelligence about the environmental benefits and impacts of different proposals as part of the company’s commitment to protect and enhance the local environment.

As EWR Co carries out this work, people living and working along the East West Rail route might see its teams of surveyors out and about.

Some of the things it said it will be doing include monitoring water bodies for birds and other wildlife or using the latest technology to detect potential buried archaeology in fields, for example Roman or Iron Age archaeological sites.

It will also be monitoring level crossings and public rights of way to see how they are used, and climbing trees to complete this season’s bat surveys. This work is a continuation of surveys that started last year.

Michael Shanks, head of environment at EWR Co, said:

“Our survey teams will be gathering critical information on a number of areas, including species, landscapes and rights of way, so that we can bring this vital new rail link to local communities in a way that identifies impacts on, protects and enhances their local environment.

“It’s an important stage in our environmental work, with this information providing the baseline information and evidence to allow us to undertake an environmental impact assessment and deliver on our environmental principles and commitments.”

Most surveys take place on weekdays between 8am-6pm, although some ecology surveys need to take place during the night, dawn or dusk; and traffic and non-motorised user surveys may include equipment being installed overnight. Any data collected which involve the movement of vehicles or people is anonymised.

If communities have any questions, they can contact EWR Co at contact@eastwestrail.co.uk.