The East West railway line

The East West Rail scheme will re-establish a rail link between Cambridge and Oxford to improve connections between East Anglia and central, southern and western England. RSK Habitat Management worked extensively on Phase 2, which involved reopening the Oxford–Bicester line between Bicester and Bletchley in south England.

The East West Rail Alliance, comprising Network Rail, Atkins, Laing O’Rourke and VolkerRail, is overseeing the massive development project, including constructing a station at Winslow, two new platforms at Bletchley, 18 overbridges, 22 footbridges and modifying 97 railway crossings. The project will include major civil work such as installing drainage systems, widening rail corridors and refurbishing and installing rail systems.

Group-wide collaboration

Working closely alongside our colleagues in the ADAS ecology team, RSK Habitat Management helped to supply, install and maintain great crested newt and reptile mitigation measures and provided ongoing, additional ecological support for trapping and translocation efforts across the newly installed fencing. In detail, our team supplied and installed up to 7.7 km of temporary herptile fencing. We also supplied and installed 1223 pitfall traps and associated refugia and built two log piles. The team also fabricated, supplied and installed two specialised 4-m newt grids. Our project scope also involved providing an ecological clerk of works who supervised the fencing and habitat-enhancement work. Additionally, we provided licensed ecologists to undertake reptile and great crested newt trapping and translocation work. This coincided with supplying ongoing management and maintenance of newly installed fencing.

RSK habitat management completed the £232,000 project ahead of time and within budget. By collaborating with ecologists from ADAS, we installed the fencing ahead of the programme and ensured the trapping and translocation schemes were completed in a single season.