2022 Skanska

FiveRivers carried out Ancient Woodland Translocation at Aspbury’s Copse, a woodland either side of the M42 at Junction 5A. This is phase 2 of the translocation after initial works were carried out in February and March 2021.


1305m2 soils translocated


101 trees translocated

Project requirements


The project required 1300m2 of ancient woodland habitat to be moved to make way for the new slip roads of Junction 5a on the M42. Sections on the east and the west of the motorway were translocated to an agricultural field on the east. Restrictions to the works included, underground and overhead services, nearby Birmingham Airport reducing working heights as well as interface with other contractors in the area.


Our approach

Key remarks

Ancient woodland is high priority habitat due the amount of time it takes to establish and the rare species that depend on it. The translocation ensured the movement of essential attributes of the ancient woodland to a receptor site.

A initial assessment of the woodland took place to rule out the possibility of protected species such as Bats, GCN and Badgers. An ECOW was present during works in case of incidental finds.

Soils were carefully moved in layers, under the supervision of a soil scientist and placed at a prepared receptor site.  Where available we moved coppice stools, dead wood, and saplings, as well as ground flora. Where possible felled material was re-used as on site as deadwood habitat, including standing deadwood monoliths (restricted in height due to the nearby airport).

Project outcomes


The project ran smoothly and was completed within the programmed timescale. This was assisted by the cooperative working practices of Skanska and the good weather throughout soil translocation.

The process of translocation went well and the attributes and features that were identified in the preliminary assessment were relocated effectively. Overall, a total of 101 trees and coppices were moved and there is hope that a high proportion will survive, the remaining stumps will provide excellent deadwood habitat in the future.

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Martin Whitfield - Managing Director at FiveRivers (5R)

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Martin Whitfield

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