Integrated Soil & Land Management Advice Delivers Cost Effective Restoration
We were instructed in 2016 to find a solution to issues associated with failing agricultural restoration on this 14ha(35Ac) site.
Issues: The original restoration had not achieved the required arable quality for the landowner/farmer and the planning authority were challenging our client to address the issues.
The critical requirement was to find a cost effective solution that would meet the farming needs and the planning requirement for an agricultural restoration and minimise the need for additional restoration work.
Detailed soil survey and analysis, undertaken by our team, identified localised water logging/rutting and compaction below 400mm. In addition, gas infrastructure, both above and below ground were restricting the scope for corrective measures such as subsoiling and field drainage. Soil quality was also an issue with low organic matter and nutrient status.
Solution: Working with all the stakeholders and using our understanding of the current agricultural policy and land management requirements, we identified the option for the inclusion of the site as wildlife habitat, which could address the wider farming agri-environment requirements.
Using this information, we were able to amend the restoration proposals to grassland specifying specialised robust seed mixtures to accommodate the sandy soils, which would secure the site as grassland for grazing / hay cropping.
This solution fully satisfied the planning requirement for restoration to agriculture and with careful design input, including rotational seed crops and hedgerow / scrub planting, delivered a cost effective restoration in line with the objectives of all the site partners to created a high-quality habitat with a sustainable future in agricultural production.
Both Lockhart Garratt’s pragmatic approach in working with the farmer and their technical input to evidence the soil conditions were very valuable. A good solution found for all concerned.
Phil Kitchener, Aftercare Manager, Viridor.