Soils & Land Restoration
Soils & Land Restoration Consultants
This long-standing service focuses on providing solution-driven restoration, landscape and environmental management to mineral and waste operators. We work cooperatively with clients, neighbouring landowners and statutory authorities to achieve the best result for all parties.
By building a strong relationship with key environmental stakeholders and statutory consultees, we are able to bring a unique balance of innovative, pragmatic and cost-effective advice to a range of projects.
Soils & Land Restoration Services
Planning Rationalisation & Stakeholder Liaison
We have a strong background in minerals planning and can undertake a detailed review of all background and historic planning information. We can then present this information in tabular format to focus on outstanding conditions and the measures required to address these.
Linking all documents back to specific areas of the site, through digital mapping of phase and planning boundaries, we are able to recommend the next steps in planning liaison, to resolve issues and collate future submissions for ease of management and approval.
We can undertake up front liaison with planning officers and structured site meetings, where required, to confirm the style and approach to a planning submission.
Our team work with clients to confirm information and to outline the priorities for the development. This enables us to assist with the specific environmental and community aspects of the submission e.g. habitat design, woodland management and community engagement.
Further to this, we can prepare and amend both supporting and main planning documents in liaison with clients and co-consultants and can negotiate with local authorities for swift agreement of conditions / actions.
Land Survey & Management Planning
Our diverse professional team of surveyors, forestry consultants, arboriculturists and ecology consultants are skilled in a wide range of integrated land surveys for environmental planning purposes.
The teams are also practical day-to-day managers of land and habitats and the pragmatic application of their knowledge feeds back very strongly into the data collection and client objectives.
Soil Survey & Advice
Getting the soils right is central to our environmental planning support and we provide a range of bespoke advice for minerals / waste companies and developers. This starts with the survey of soil resources to inform planning applications and also final land use for restoration design. We produce soils handling method statements and can supervise that work.
We are often instructed to monitor restoration work and are able to provide the evidence base through sampling and physical / chemical testing to support planning sign off.
Our Soils Advice service flyer and team contact details can be downloaded here.
Soil Survey & Species Suitability Report
In addition to his role as a Soil Scientist, our business unit lead Robin Truslove is also a Chartered Forester and specialist in land restoration to habitat. We work for developers, local authorities and increasingly for private landowners who need to create a species mix or approve a proposed mix for their planting or seeding project. We make sure the right tree is planted in the right place.
We would normally undertake a soil survey and lab testing to identify the soil types and characteristics but will also refer to information gathered through ground investigation and farm records. A woodland planting scheme across a farm may encounter 2-3 soil types from clayey and neutral (well suited to oak or hornbeam) to loamy and calcareous (suited to beech, sycamore or silver fir) .
Lockhart Garratt have the detailed silvicultural knowledge to match the species to those soil types and have extended this advice to more complex mixtures for arboretum creation. This advice also extends to species rich grassland where understanding the soil nutrient content (in particular phosphate) and pH. are key, in selecting species which can tolerate and thrive in the conditions present, or may need further amelioration.
Agricultural Land Classification
Confirmation of agricultural grade is a key part of medium and large development planning applications. Grades 1, 2 and 3a comprise ‘best and most versatile land’ and need to be identified to assess the wider environmental and agricultural impact of proposals.
Lockhart Garratt’s surveyors apply their in depth knowledge of soil texture, structure, stone content / type and drainage properties to the assessment of agricultural grade and to support our development clients in planning applications. Our professional soil scientists are trained through courses run by the British Society of Soil Science (BSSS). Sites are sampled by 1 auger bore per hectare plus 1 trial hole for each of the main soil types.
Our Agricultural Land Classification reports are normally combined with a Soil Resources Survey but can be undertaken in isolation if required. The report includes a clear summary of soil types and an agricultural grade map.
Soils Management Plan
Planning approval for new quarry, commercial or large housing developments normally comes with a condition to produce a soil handling and re-use strategy.
Lockhart Garratt have seen first hand the benefit in understanding the soil resources available and handling them carefully to allow best use of that resource as a growing medium within the approved landscape design plan. Where a soil resource survey has already been undertaken this will feed directly into the report but equally, Lockhart Garratt can tackle that survey as part of the management plan process.
The first step is to confirm the objectives for the project. Large scale Commercial developers often need to retain all soils on site but housing developers may require a net export of material. Lockhart Garratt then look at the species lists and soil requirements for landscape creation and match those to the soil types available.
From that information, phased maps of soil handling are produced covering: stripping, movement, storage, placement and amelioration. Minimising movement distance is economically important. Matching of soils is key for selecting e.g. a) well drained loam with low stone content for amenity grassland, b) a deep and loose placed clay loam for broadleaf woodland or c) a lime rich low nutrient medium for calcareous wild flower grassland.
Cost Engineered Landscape & Habitat Design
Our ability to understand the link between design and implementation cost allows us to offer restoration designs which prioritise the best use of land. We provide designs which offer suitable habitat and land use, being uniquely mindful to avoid areas far in excess of that needed to achieve planning for the core operations.
Our skills in daily budgeting and delivery of this implementation feed back into a design which is inexpensive, but also has a strong visual impact and habitat value. We have a team of two experienced graphic designers in-house who are fully conversant with ArcView and AutoCAD packages; these presentation skills have been brought to the fore on numerous large planning applications.
Restoration and Aftercare Management Plan (RAMP)
A Restoration and Aftercare Management Plan (RAMP) is an increasingly effective means of confirming site wide final restoration proposals for minerals and waste, and is welcomed by planning authorities across the UK.
Having collated planning conditions, site surveys and design details, we can pull these into an overarching planning document to confirm detailed methods for implementation of soil placement, ground modelling, seeding and planting.
This will set our a 5 year aftercare regime in tabular format to confirm weed control, mowing, pruning, reed cutting, thinning and all maintenance operations, always keeping delivery to an appropriate scale to cost-engineer the outcome.
Specialist Woodland Translocation & Soils Clerk of Works
Spanning the two disciplines of forestry and soil science, Lockhart Garratt are ideally placed to supervise specialist woodland translocation (soils, saplings, coppice and large trees) from donor to receptor site, ahead of quarry working or large infrastructure projects.
Our advice starts with a soil and woodland survey to identify the depths of top and subsoils and assess translocation volumes but also to earmark trees and shrubs for lifting and replanting.
We work closely with the client and their earthworks providers to build a phased strategy for soil and tree movement which avoids any tracking over soils. Movement of soil in turfs has been used previously in the industry for grassland translocation but Lockhart Garratt have pioneered this technique in the movement of woodland soils. The technique has retained the topsoil, wildflower bulbs, micro fauna and mycorrhizal connections 80% intact on replacement at the donor site, greatly accelerating the re-establishment and recovery of that woodland structure.
Our consultants have used their tree growing knowledge to specify the movement 8m x 50cm standing deadwood monoliths and of 45 degree fallen live trees, which are planted with a root ball and supported by an earth mound, to salvage the maximum amount of live material available from the habitat.
In the current economic climate delivery at the right level has become all the more important. We understand the quantities and specifications for vital elements such as plant numbers; seeding rates; tree protection strategy and maintenance regime to deliver the best results within a tight budget.
Our innovative approach to habitat creation is supported through active participation in relevant industry bodies and strong experience, through continuing to secure high level instructions in the minerals and waste sector.
Soils & Land Restoration Projects
The following are an example of the Soils & Land Restoration projects we have completed for our clients.
Soils & Land Restoration Team
Get in touch with one of the Soils & Land Restoration team to discuss your needs.
Soils & Land Restoration Stories
The following are news and information items from the Soils & Land Restoration team.
We are delighted to present our latest newsletter. This months edition is jam packed with content including: An article on Woodland Creation - An opportunity to be taken seriously; An update from the Forest Canopy Foundation; An insight into the future of...
As we start to see the easing of of the Covid restrictions our Oxford team are looking forward to returning to the office at Greystones House just outside Chipping Norton. The team is now managed by our Deputy Head of Landscape Richard Fox, a Chartered Landscape...
You would have had to been living in a bubble not to have noticed the increasing focus on new woodland creation in the Government’s thinking and the wider public consciousness. From high profile announcements about the need for reductions in our carbon footprint, to...