BANWELL BYPASS

It seems that after almost 100 years the Banwell Bypass might become a reality. 

To find out more about the project go to www.n-somerset.gov.uk/banwellbypass.  If you have any comments or questions you can email North Somerset at: banwell.bypass@n-somerset.gov.uk or call: 01934 888 802 

Below is the beginning of an outline timetable detailing the process.  This will be updated as we get a better idea of when each stage will be.

Events Timeline

1. Council grant decision - June 2020.
2. Procuremnet plan approvals - Summer 2020.
3. Signing grant agreement - August 2020.
4. Begin advanced surveys - August 2020.
5. Appoint designers - April 2021.
6. Design optioneering - Spring/Summer 2021
7. Six- week public consultation on options - July 5th until August 16th 2021
8. Decision made on preferred bypass route - Late Summer 2021.  Route 2 selected. Click here for press release
9. Detailed design of preferred bypass route - Autumn / Winter 2021. 
10. Pre planning application consultation on bypass design -10 March to 22 April 2022*
11.  Planning application submission - 2022.
12. Expected start on site to begin build - 2023.
13. Expected bypass completion - 2024. 

*To access the pre planning consultation online from the 10th March - 22 April, visit: n-somerset.gov.uk/banwellbypass.  If you would prefer a paper copy of the consultation, email the bypass team at: banwell.bypass@n-somerset.gov.uk or call: 01934 888 802. North Somerset Bypass Team will also be holding drop-in sessions where you can ask questions. These will be held at the following places and times:

  • 14 March 12:30pm - 7:00pm Banwell Village Hall, Banwell, BS29 6BS
  • 24 March, 3:00pm - 7:00pm Churchill Methodist, Churchill, BS25 5NG
  • 29 March 3:00pm - 7:00pm St James Church Hall, Winscombe, BS25 1BA
  • 5 April 3:00pm - 7:00pm Sandford Village Hall, Sandford, BS25 5QA

Potential Bypass Routes

Over the years there have been many routes considered.  For 2021 we understand from North Somerset that they are currently considering three outline routes below.

Below is an indicative map of potential proposed routes.

Alun Griffiths Chosen as Banwell Bypass Contractor

The contracting firm Alun Griffiths will work with North Somerset Council to design and construct Banwell Bypass with public engagement, due to start this summer, to help decide the bypass route.  As part of the project, the contractors will offer a range of opportunities to local residents, such as work placements and experience, support for community projects and employment opportunities.

In the meantime, North Somerset are continuing with important ecological surveys looking at ground conditions, wildlife and traffic modelling to better understand how designs can best protect the local environment and communities.

Funded by a successful bid for £97m from Homes England’s Housing Infrastructure Fund, the bypass will alleviate long standing traffic issues in Banwell, making the roads safer, the air cleaner and the village quieter for those who live there.  It is hoped that the bypass will also provide opportunities to increase active and sustainable travel between villages and Weston-super-Mare.  You can read more about the bypass from North Somerset here

Surveys

TACP have been appointed by Alun Griffiths Construction to provide consultancy work for North Somerset Councils Banwell Bypass project. They are undertaking ecological survey in the area from week commencing 17th May 2021.

This will include,

  • River corridor surveys - Aquatic invertebrates, Terrestrial invertebrates & Macrophytes

Ecologists will be on foot; surveys will be visual but may involve the use of nets to observe & record species. Water samples may also be taken. 

  • Reptiles / amphibians

​​​​​​Mats 50x50cm consisting of corrugated roofing felt have been placed in areas suitable for reptiles by ecologists on foot with a wheelbarrow. Ecologists will revisit on suitable (dry & warm) days during the active season. There will be 7 initial visits to establish presence of reptiles during the survey period. At the end of the survey period the mats will collected and removed.

  • Bats

Ecologists on foot will follow bats at dawn to ascertain how they return to the roosts. From this Bat surveys, comprising of watching buildings or trees or hedgerows of interest at dawn or dusk will be done by a number of surveyors for 3 hrs. Additionally, some bats will be netted in strategic locations and a radio tracking device added. These bats will be tracked nightly for a week (STC). Timings July - September 

  • Dormice

Dormouse tubes will be located across land and will be left to ‘bed in’ for between 2-4 weeks. Surveys will be once per month (in dry conditions) by small groups of surveyors on foot who will check the tubes for evidence of dormice. Surveys will also involve checking hazel nuts for characteristic tooth marks near appropriate trees.

  • Hedgerows

Assessment of all key hedgerows, by ecologists on foot. Detailed surveys will be carried out on hedgerows likely to be impacted by the preferred option to determine whether hedgerows meet the ecological criteria for ‘important’ under the Hedgerow Regulations 1997.

Timings: Key hedgerows along all options will be surveyed in May/June and hedgerows along the preferred option will be surveyed during August.

  • European Otter

Surveys will be carried out in May/June visually inspecting watercourses for resting places and feeding areas by ecologists on foot. Further detailed surveys will be undertaken in September/October when the final bypass route is determined.  

  • Water voles

Samples of droppings and feeding areas have been taken to check for presence during May. Further detailed surveys will be carried out within 250m buffer of preferred bypass route in September/October 

  • Kingfisher

Ecologists on foot, surveys will be carried out along all waterbodies within 250m of the three options and also of any suitable waterbodies that are bisected by these options that may be outside of this buffer.

Timing: May to June

  • Barn Owl 

An experienced ecologist/ornithologist will undertake an initial vegetation survey, to identify potential roost sites in trees, buildings and bird boxes. With agreements from landowners the surveyor will then inspect the potential roost sites for birds, pellets and feeding remains. An activity survey would then be carried out by watching over the area - concentrating on any areas identified by the vegetation survey - over dusk in suitable weather conditions (dry and with light winds). 

  • Great Crested Newts

Sampling for environmental DNA (eDNA) left by newts will take place in ponds which are believed to have a presence before the end of June. Depending on results, further surveys may need to be carried out at a later date.

  • Arboricultural Survey 

An experienced ecologist will carry out a ‘Visual Tree Assessment’ (VTA) from ground level. This is a non-intrusive survey, where the physiological and biomechanical features of trees will be recorded. Aug & Sept

  • Farm impact Assessments

 This is an assessment to understand the current use of agricultural land and how the bypass will impact on it. The assessment will be undertaken by Fisher German and Reading Agricultural Consultants, they will organise a meeting with those affected. Oct - Dec

  • Ground Investigation & potential associated Archaeology

This is an intrusive survey which will be carried out in several specific locations in the area. Landowners affected will be contacted in due course. The ground investigation will involve drilling boreholes in the ground and digging trial pits with a small machine. Samples will be collected from the boreholes and trial pits and insitu testing of the soils will be undertaken. Some locations may require ground penetration radar tests (GPR) which are non-intrusive. These are to investigate the location of utilities under the surface. An archaeologist may also be on site to monitor for geoarchaeological remains. Further information will be provided to those affected. Sept - Nov

Survey findings will be included in the Environmental Statement we produce for the planning application for the scheme, to minimise the impact of the proposed new road, and to inform designs. 

Surveys Spring 2022

Survey name

Method

Time

Ground Level Tree Assessments

These are non-intrusive surveys and consist of one or more experienced ecologists surveying trees (both standing and fallen) from ground level.

Using binoculars and endoscopes if appropriate (though not essential), the surveyors will classify the potential of the trees to house bats. These surveys will then inform the number and nature of further surveys of the trees which will include a mixture of emergence, re-entry and climbed/endoscope surveys.

 

Mid-March (4 - 5 days for whole scheme)

Dormouse Surveys

 

Dormouse tubes will be placed across land and left to ‘bed in’ for 2-4 weeks. Surveys will be undertaken once per month by small groups of surveyors on foot who (in dry conditions) will check the tubes for evidence of dormice. Surveys will also involve checking hazel nuts for characteristic tooth marks near appropriate trees

April/May

Advanced bat surveys

 

A team of around ten surveyors will conduct a detailed study of bat species and their behaviour, along with foraging areas, flight routes and roost use. The surveyors will do this by trapping and radio tracking a range of target bat species including Annex II and other species with roosts and/or major flight routes on or close to the scheme. This also includes radio tracking bats from Banwell Caves.

TBC

Archaeology

 

This is an intrusive survey that will involve digging trenches (of approximately 19x30m and 18x50m) to look for archaeological remains. We will write to impacted landowners separately with more information about these surveys, including locations and proposed access routes.

April onwards