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Highways Agency (Animal Welfare)

Volume 451: debated on Monday 30 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much money has been spent in total by the Highways Agency on (a) projects relating to animal welfare and (b) the purchase and installation of bat boxes; who determines (i) whether such expenditure is appropriate and (ii) the levels thereof; and if he will make a statement. (98301)

The Highways Agency is committed to minimising the impact of the trunk road network (in England) on both the natural and built environment and to playing a full role in implementing the Government’s Biodiversity Action Plan. Where appropriate, the agency undertakes works to mitigate for the impact of its operational, maintenance and improvement works, which may include the provision of animal welfare measures. These measures include the provision of animal crossings in the form of tunnels and adapted farm crossings and underpasses. Appropriate fencing may be included to both prevent animals crossing the carriageway and direct the animals to a safe crossing facility. They also undertake specific enhancement measures, such as the provision of bat boxes as part of commitments set out in the Highways Agency Biodiversity Action Plan (HABAP). Finally, the agency also undertakes research to support the development of advice in relation to the effectiveness of such measures.

With respect to expenditure, mitigation and enhancement measures are often provided as part of larger scheme budgets and specific costs are not available. However as part of its HABAP commitments, the agency has installed in excess of 920 bat boxes since 2002. Each of these enhancement schemes has been evaluated through a value management process, to ensure that works are appropriate and represent value for money. Other works are evaluated through cost challenge workshops or similar procedures for assessing value for money.