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The wildlife that lives along the stretch of road we’re improving, and what we’re doing to protect it.

First published:
27 September 2021
Last updated:

The 11 mile stretch of the A465 section 5 and 6 runs through a diverse landscape. It includes:

  • the built-up urban areas around Merthyr Tydfil
  • towns and villages
  • post-industrial sites
  • farm land
  • forests
  • reservoirs

There is also a wide variety of terrain that characterises the Heads of the Valleys. This determines the area’s biodiversity.

Supporting biodiversity along the route of section 5 and 6 is important. The road is designed to keep to the area’s natural landscape and cultural features.

We carried out environmental surveys before the building work started.

It’s a big project, and so far we’ve carried out:

  • 100 inspections
  • 313 environmental observations
  • 4,000 hours of ecological supervision

This has helped us to work out what kind of wildlife lives in the area. We also looked at the soil and plants to see what kind of habitats can support the wildlife.

What we found

The surveys showed that there were several species living along the route. These included:

  • bats
  • dormice
  • great crested newts
  • lapwings
  • marsh fritillary butterflies

a photograph of a common frog

Common frog from the A465 section 5 and 6 site
Copyright: Future Valleys Construction

How we’ll protect the wildlife

To make sure that these species have the space they need to thrive, we’re:

  • creating new habitats away from the road, including heathland and woodland
  • moving Devil’s-bit scabious, a plant which supports marsh fritillary butterflies
  • installing bat houses
  • creating a great crested newt pond
  • removing, storing, and re-using topsoil
  • buying land for new, managed, lapwing breeding sites
  • moving marsh fritillary larval webs to safe areas, including farmland
  • installing 421 pitfall traps within fenced-off areas to move over 1,000 amphibians or reptiles safely from the works. These include:
    • 57 great crested newt
    • 123 palmate newt
    • 61 common frog
    • 496 common toad
    • 65 common lizard
  • moving dormice to a new habitat in 6.33 hectares of land
  • growing 8,000 plants which support marsh fritillary butterflies
  • removing plants which destroy structures and make it harder for helpful plants to grow
  • planting over 55,000 new trees and shrubs to replace the ones we removed to build the road

This regulated work is being monitored by:

  • Welsh Government
  • Natural Resources Wales
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council Environmental Team
  • Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council Environmental Team
  • specialist ecologists supervising the relocation of species

For the latest information about the A465 section 5 and 6 Dowlais Top to Hirwaun project, visit our project page, or the A465 Facebook and Twitter channels.