IKM Consulting Ltd

  • 2012 - Waverley Line (Borders Railway) - Reptile survey for a major railway project in Midlothian and the Scottish Borders. The reopening of the iconic Waverley Line (closed under the Beeching Axe) has been on the cards for many years, with progress accelerated since the Waverley Railway (Scotland) Act 2006. The 50km route finally reopened in 2015, and the construction operation was a joint venture between BAM Nuttall and Network Rail. CGO Ecology Ltd was instructed by IKM Consulting Ltd to perform a reptile survey of the route in September 2012. This involved a full walkover of the 50km disused railway route, through agricultural land, woodland and urban areas. Refugia were laid in 50 locations (10 roofing felt mats at each), and all were surveyed seven times in September/October 2012. Very few reptiles were found; only common lizards in one location on the route itself, and two other incidental records arose from locations within 500m of the route. Mitigation advice was provided to the client. It is quite extraordinary that such a large swathe of countryside, admittedly lowland and agricultural in the main, had so few reptiles on it. The neighbouring muir-capped hills almost certainly held more reptiles. When the Borders Railway opened in summer 2015, CGO Ecology's Director Chris Gleed-Owen took a ride on one of the first trains; something of a pilgrimage, to see how the route had (dramatically) changed.