ACO Water Management provided an ecological solution for a sustainable residential development in Ebbsfleet Valley to protect the area’s wildlife. The Castle Hill site – also known as the Garden City – will eventually contain 5,000 homes and is set amongst 400 acres of sensitively designed parkland and open space.
Given the fact that this was a sustainable development, Arup, the acting Infrastructure Engineer on the scheme, along with other contractors involved on the project, were keen to fulfil their ecological commitment from the outset and specified the use of ACO Climate Tunnels to protect the local wildlife.
The Climate Tunnel system is an enclosed series of polymer concrete tunnels which can be installed to sit flush with the road surface, to allow amphibians safe passage across potential ‘risk’ areas, such as roads and footpaths. It is also designed to meet load class D 400, making the range perfect for trafficked areas The polymer concrete construction material contains no reinforcing steel, and eliminates the possibility of disorientation to animals arising from magnetic fields. Additionally the non-absorbent texture creates minimal thermal conductivity while the material is also non-caustic, providing an ideal surface for amphibians to move along.
The principal civil engineer on the project for Arup, William Dunford, commented: “Middlemarch Ecologists, who were advising us on the project, recommended the use of ACO Wildlife Climate Tunnel. When we were bought up to speed with the issues faced, we were keen to implement this kind of solution throughout the development. We selected the ACO Climate Tunnels based on the product’s proven success on similar projects. “The Climate Tunnels are provided in one metre sections, which are then built up to the required length. In our case we extended them up to 10 metres in length to reach beneath the verge on one side of the access road, and a footpath on the other.”
Not only did the slotted version allow light and humidity to enter the tunnel but, being set flush with the carriageway, it also reduced the travel distance for the wildlife and the excavation depth for the contractors involved.
Where a continuous carriageway surface is required, the tunnels can also be produced with a solid top section for setting deeper in the ground. As part of a fully thought out wildlife range, the ACO Climate Tunnel should be used in conjunction with the ACO LEP Guide Wall, ACO Climate Tunnel Entrance, and ACO Climate Stilt Tunnel to form a complete guidance and crossing system.