Government announces further Sale of Military Sites – Wildlife Considerations

As reported by the BBC on 7 November 2016, a Government review of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) estate has concluded that ninety-one sites covering an area of approximately 32,500 acres will be released. This will result in running cost savings for the MoD, and free up land that has the potential to deliver up to 55,000 new homes.

Putting Sustainability into SUDS

The benefits of and requirement for enhanced sustainability within developments is now firmly embedded in local and national planning policy in Scotland.  Whilst the provision of ‘Blue-Green Infrastructure¹ can be viewed as a hindrance, as it takes up land with a commercial value, it should also be viewed as an opportunity, potentially adding value to the wider development.

On 17 March 2016, Holyrood, the seat of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, will host an event organised by the “Living Cities Consortium” directed at major stakeholders involved in house building, construction, public realm improvements and delivery of new development across the public, private, voluntary and social enterprise sectors.  The purpose of this event is to highlight the range of opportunities that Blue-Green Infrastructure can provide.

Designing Cities with Nature in Mind

Dr Peter Shepherd will be appearing on Tuesday 19th January 2016 as an expert panel member at a seminar organised by the Environmental Research Doctoral Training Partnership at the University of Oxford.

This is the first in the Grand Challenges Seminar Series, organised by a group of interdisciplinary PhD students at the University of Oxford, which is intended to “provide a forum to hear from experts and discuss the pressing issues and questions surrounding our environment”.

Implementing Biodiversity Conservation with the John Lewis Partnership

Over the last few years BSG Ecology has been working with Andrew Cameron under a partnership called Crex, to help develop and implement the biodiversity element of the John Lewis Partnership Responsible Development Framework. One of the key commitments to biodiversity within the Framework is to achieve no net loss of biodiversity from the Partnership Estate by 2020. One of the first new stores where this biodiversity commitment is being applied is at Chipping Sodbury, in Gloucestershire.

Olympic Park – Establishing an Ecological Legacy

Dr Peter Shepherd will be giving a short presentation to the CIRIA organised event titled “Biodiversity site tour – Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park” on the 11th of September. The aim of the event is to consider the success of current maintenance and monitoring of on-site biodiversity initiatives in order to ensure long term biodiversity benefits. This is part of the on-going training and CPD events programme organised by CIRIA .

Biodiversity Offsetting in England – Where Next?

Defra confirmed in July 2014 correspondence with BSG Ecology that, ‘there are no plans at this stage to announce a way forward on biodiversity offsetting’. We enquired about the status of offsetting further to the Green Paper that was out for consultation in 2013, and the subsequent completion of the six biodiversity offsetting pilot projects in April 2014. Defra also confirmed in their letter that ‘They [the offsetting pilot projects] will require several months of analysis before they can fully inform our thinking. The final report of the results of the pilot offset projects is not currently available; however we are committed to publishing it.’

Biodiversity Offsetting – Are We All Ready?

Defra is currently analysing the consultation responses received on the Defra green paper entitled Biodiversity Offsetting in England.  The paper was published in September 2013 and the consultation period ended on 7 November 2013. It is understood that there is general support across all the main political parties to implement a biodiversity offsetting system in some form. Biodiversity offsetting is already being ‘used’ in different ways in development projects, not least within the Defra Trial areas. As such professional ecologists and other professional disciplines, in particular planners and developers, need to be up to speed with the principles, the application of the system as it currently is being implemented, and how it might evolve.

BSG Ecology wins award from the Landscape Institute

BSG Ecology is delighted to announce that our collaborative work with LDA Design (as lead consultant) on the Network Rail National Lineside Vegetation Management Strategy has won the Strategic Landscape Planning section of the Landscape Institute Awards 2013.

Ecology of the Olympic park – An Interview with Dr Peter Shepherd

Between 2008 and 2012 BSG Ecology was retained as the ecological advisor to the design team of LDA Design-Hargreaves who prepared the designs for the Parkland and Public Realm areas of the Olympic Park in East London. In this interview , which is one of a series of 10 interviews, Peter describes the role BSG Ecology had in the development of the Park designs and the integration of the Olympic Park Biodiversity Action Plan objectives.

A British Standard for Biodiversity

The emerging draft of BS42020 Biodiversity – Code of Practice for Planning and Development provides opportunities for improved consistency and objectivity across all professional ecologists involved in delivering advice on ecology matters in advance of and during the planning application process. The BS will apply to those working in the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Getting the most from BREEAM

BSG Ecology regularly provides ecological input to BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Home (CfSH) assessments.  It is our experience that the ecological (biodiversity) aspects of BREEAM and CfSH are an area where clients are often unaware of what is required.  In the viewpoint below, BSG Partner Steve Betts identifies some of the common issues that are encountered, and provides clients with advice and guidance to help them plan their way through the process and secure the credits they aspire to.

Environmental Interpretation: the importance of saying it right

An often forgotten part of delivering the aims of a conservation project or a conservation site is telling the wider-world about what’s going on.  Getting the interpretation right is essential in the promotion of an organisation’s commitment to biodiversity, and can help to raise that organisation’s environmental profile.