On the scenic Settle to Carlisle railway line which crosses the North Pennines, Eden Valley and Yorkshire Dales, Opus was commissioned to undertake ecological work relating to slope remediation works along a railway cutting, assessed as being in a poor state and with a high risk of failure.

The team undertook an Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey in an area situated within a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) which included a nearby pond with historical records of great crested newts.  In light of this, a suite of great crested newt surveys were undertaken to determine their presence. The team detected great crested newts and provided advice that meant that the methodology and timing of the proposed slope remediation works could be altered to avoid potential prosecution and eliminate the requirement for a European Protected Species (EPS) licence.