Listening to local communities
December 16, 2015
Community Matters – Bradwell with Pattiswick Parish
September 1, 2016

Environmental surveys

June 14, 2016

Essex is a beautiful county of contrasting landscapes and rich culture. The area surrounding the A120 between Braintree and the A12 is no different. Our residents and visitors value our villages, towns, cities, landscapes and wildlife, which provide great pleasure and economic prosperity.

When planning improvements to our road infrastructure it is important to balance the need for growth, better access and maintaining or protecting our environmental features, both human and natural. To inform the development and selection of route options, potential environmental features and potential impacts must be understood. To do this, we are undertaking a number of, non-intrusive environmental surveys across a broad study area.

These environmental surveys for the A120 feasibility study have just started.

The first planned group of environmental surveys include:

    • Ecology
    • Landscape and visual
    • Air quality
    • Land and water visual inspections

    The table below provides an overview of what surveys look at and how they are carried out.

    Survey What is involved?

    Ecology refers to habitats and the flora and fauna that rely on the habitats.

    A Phase 1 Habitat Survey will be carried out. The purpose of this visual inspection is to identify habitats and the potential importance of these habitats for nature conservation for species including:

      • Great Crested Newts (GCN)
      • Bats
      • Reptiles
      • Water Vole
      • Badgers

    Landscape and visual

    Landscape refers the character of an area as defined by natural and human interactions.

    The study area will be visited by landscape architects to gain an appreciation for the existing landscape and visual characteristics.

    A number of photographs will be recorded to provide a representation of the existing landscape.

    Air quality

    Air quality sampling will be undertaken to understand current levels of pollution from vehicle emissions.

    Land and water visual inspections

    A site walkover of the study area will be carried out to understand the characteristics of water courses in the area and the influence of previous or existing land uses on land quality.

    Surveys will be carried out from the roadside or in public areas where possible. Access to private property will also be required for some of the ecology surveys. In these instances, property owners will be contacted in advance of the survey. We have produced an environmental survey information sheet for property owners

    A helicopter may be used to record accurate aerial imagery. The use of a helicopter will enable rapid survey of the large, broad study area and will inform a targeted ground ecology survey reducing the need to access private land where possible.

    More information on the process of Environmental Impact Assessments can be viewed on the Department for Communities & Local Government website

In March 2020, the government announced details of its latest Road Investment Strategy (RIS2), covering April 2020 to March 2025.

The strategy outlines how the government will be investing £27.4 billion in maintaining, improving and building capacity in the strategic road network during the 2020-25 period, including £2.2 billion for the east of England.

The document also looks further ahead and includes a list of ‘pipeline projects’ which will undergo more analysis and design work ahead of being considered for potential future investment.

The A120 Braintree to A12 was identified as a pipeline project and will now be progressed by Highways England.

For more information, email

A120 Braintree to A12 - Highways England 

View: Press Release - A120 Upgrade Drives Forward

Although Highways England is now progressing the A120 upgrade, Essex County Council continues to provide regular updates. To receive these please register your email address