HomeEnvironmentNetwork Rail partners with RSPB to improve safety at Lochwinnoch nature reserve

Network Rail partners with RSPB to improve safety at Lochwinnoch nature reserve

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Network Rail has teamed-up with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to install new measures to keep wildlife safe at the Lochwinnoch nature reserve.

The two organisations share a boundary fence, which separates the lineside area of the railway and the reserve but that fence was no longer fit for purpose.

One of last remaining wetlands in the west of Scotland, the nature reserve hosts a variety of wildlife including the great crested grebe in spring with hedgehogs and other wildlife all year round.

As part of a seven-week programme of work, engineers from Network Rail put up a new 1821-metre-long fence to help stop animals from entering the lineside, and installed new bat and bird boxes for nesting animals.

In addition, 13 ash trees suffering from ash dieback had to be removed close to the lineside to protect the safety of the railway.

Monoliths and habitat piles for small mammals, reptiles and amphibians were left untouched during the work following consultation with the RSPB.

Hayley Simpson, Network Rail’s scheme project manager for the fencing work said: “This was a great opportunity to work collaboratively with one of our lineside neighbours, in this case the RSPB, to implement a fencing solution that worked for the railway as well as for the surrounding environment.

“We are grateful to the RSPB at their Lochwinnoch nature reserve for their support and cooperation throughout.”

Dan Snowdon, RSPB Scotland warden for Lochwinnoch, said: “We are very happy with the prior engagement and recent work that has been carried out by Network Rail in partnership with the RSPB at our Lochwinnoch site.

“The work at Lochwinnoch has been designed and delivered in a way that closely mimics the natural behaviour of a woodland, with the deadwood and cut timber benefitting wildlife such as beetles, moths and fungi.

“Over time, the next generation of trees will grow in the old trees’ place, giving nature a home for years to come.”

Image credit: Network Rail