A recent project at Houghton on the Hill, Leicestershire, provides a good example of how the Bat Low Impact Class Licence process can be applied to ensure a project proceeds to time and budget (despite unforeseen circumstances), while also acting to conserve bats.
BSG Ecology has recently been successful in securing a Bat Mitigation Licence for urgent roofing works by utilising one of Natural England’s four new European Protected Species (EPS) licensing policies.
This allowed works to progress at least seven months sooner than would otherwise have been the case and meant that significant project cost savings could be made. BSG Ecology understand, from liaison with Natural England, that this was only the second case relating to bats to be considered under the new licencing policies, since their introduction in December 2016.
BSG Ecology Partners Kirsty Kirkham and Peter Shepherd have contributed an article on Natura 2000 post Brexit to the December 2016 edition of DTA Publications’ Habitats Regulations Assessment Journal.
In this article, Peter Shepherd (BSG Partner) reviews a recent study that looked at noctule ranging behaviour in an area of high wind turbine density in Germany, and draws conclusions with regard to how the study can potentially be used to inform wind farm surveys, assessment and mitigation strategies.
BSG Ecology are currently working on several projects in Devon that involve the use of thermal imaging cameras to monitor greater horseshoe bats Rhinolophus ferrumequinum. During a free evening one of our ecologists, Helen Simmons, took the opportunity to visit Berry Head National Nature Reserve & SSSI and film greater horseshoe bats emerging from a known roost. The site is managed by the Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust where she was joined by the Trust’s Countryside Officer, Noel Hughes, who monitors them on a regular basis .
Katy Stiles, Senior Ecologist in our Derbyshire office, was recently invited to attend a consultation workshop on Bats in Churches Project. The event, held in Coventry in May 2016, was facilitated by the Arthur Rank Centre and organised by the Bats and Churches Project Team.
Over the last fifteen years there have been significant changes in the way many professional ecological surveys are carried out. In large part this has been driven by the standardisation of survey methods for many protected species (and species groups) brought about by the issue of widely accepted and endorsed guidance.
BSG Ecology’s Greg Chamberlain, Owain Gabb, Helen Simmons and Rachel Taylor will be attending the All Energy Conference at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC), Glasgow on 4-5 May 2016.
We are currently working on energy projects throughout the UK and Ireland, and the team present will have over 50 years of consultancy experience to draw upon. We will be available to discuss ways in which we can provide innovative, cost effective ecological support required for energy sector planning applications, as well as technical concerns, such as the implications of forthcoming changes in bat survey guidelines for new and existing renewables schemes.
British Standard (BS) 8596, which was published in October 2015, sets out guidance for surveying bats in trees and woodland. This BS is relevant to both development and conservation-led work affecting trees and woodland habitats.
During 2015 BSG Ecology provided training and technical support to three Swansea University Master of Science students. This enabled them to complete research on the use of sandy and rocky shore habitats within Swansea Bay by bats. During the project BSG staff gave an initial briefing, assisted in survey design and on transect work, provided equipment and technical support in the use of Analook (for data analysis) and GIS.
BSG Ecology Partner Steven Betts is now a Registered Consultant, and is therefore able to rely on the Natural England Low Impact Bat Class Licence for sites that have been registered.
This aim of this new system is to provide a more efficient and proportionate approach to licensing for bats in certain circumstances. Natural England’s objective in introducing this licence is to provide a more streamlined service for developers that is appropriate to situations where effects on bats can be easily mitigated (but which nonetheless require a licence to derogate the law).