Biodiversity offsetting – a way forward for a Lawton Levy?

BSG Ecology recently attended two events in London focussing on biodiversity, planning and the environment. There are many changes taking place in this area of our work and these events proved useful in keeping us up to date on current thinking and practice and on potential future changes to how biodiversity is addressed through the planning system.

Rewilding Britain – a new way of looking at the restoration of land?

Since the year 2000, when publication of Frans Vera’s book ‘Grazing Ecology and Forest History’ stimulated debate about what our ancient landscapes would have looked like, interest in the concept of rewilding has grown. The book was followed in 2005 by Peter Taylor’s wildland strategy for the UK in his book ‘Beyond Conservation’ in which he set out a way forward for rewilding or restoring and repairing the damaged and truncated natural processes that once shaped our habitats and landscape.

BSG Ecology exhibiting at the All Energy Conference, Glasgow

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.

What are we looking for in a Graduate Ecologist?

We are regularly approached by students and recent graduates keen to understand the skills they need to pursue a career in consultancy work.

The following short article summarises, from our perspective, areas in which some basic experience is likely to be advantageous in securing an ecologist (entry-level) position.

Golden Plover use of an Operational Wind Farm

Using our thermal imaging camera, BSG Ecologist Jenny James recorded this footage of golden plover foraging within a wind farm in England. The clip, recorded in January 2015, shows the plovers using a cultivated arable field at night, close to the base of an operational wind turbine. The birds are approximately 25m from the turbine’s base; several other turbines are present nearby. The lower sweep of the blades (clearly visible in the clip) is approximately 20m above ground level. From the footage, this golden plover flock does not appear to be affected by the nearby turbine.

Use of eDNA for detecting great crested newts – how effective is it?

In this article we consider the use of eDNA analysis of water samples to detect great crested newts, and discuss the results of some recent survey work.  Whilst we identify limitations that need to be considered, it is also recognised that the technique provides a useful additional method for detecting great crested newts, and we use it in appropriate circumstances at sites throughout the UK.  The method has been endorsed by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) at BSG Ecology

BSG Ecology is committed to tackling complex ecological issues successfully for our clients. We recognise that experience, skill and knowledge within our team are important in producing these results. All of our ecologists are members of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), membership of which requires a minimum amount of continuous professional development to be completed each year. Regular investment in our team, through support of conference attendance and provision of access to in-house and external training, strengthens our skills set and provides an up to date and scientifically sound basis to our advice.

North Sea Ferries Bat Migration Research 2014

In 2014 we deployed bat detectors on two commercial ferries sailing routes through the southern North Sea. The two vessels were Flandria Seaways (DFDS Seaways) and the Pride of York (P&O Ferries), which sail from Felixstowe (UK) to Vlaardingen (Netherlands) and from Hull (UK) to Zeebrugge (Belgium) respectively. The aim of the study was to investigate the occurrence of bats over the North Sea, and to see if there were any clear patterns to records indicative of migration.

Pembrokeshire Islands Bat Research 2014

In 2014 we deployed bat detectors on the islands of Skomer, Skokholm and Ramsey, off the west coast of Pembrokeshire, Wales. The islands are between 0.8 km and 2.6km from the mainland.

The aims were to increase knowledge of the bat fauna and investigate evidence for migration through the identification of changes in seasonal bat activity. The detectors were set to survey from half an hour before sunset to half an hour after sunrise from spring to autumn, the most active period for bats and the peak migration seasons.

Partnering Swansea University: Dartford Warbler Research

During 2014 BSG Ecology provided training to two Master of Science students at Swansea University in order to help them develop their ornithological field skills.  This enabled them to complete research projects on a species of particular local interest, Dartford warbler.  The partnership was facilitated by the Access to Masters initiative, which is backed by the European Social Fund.  In this short article, Hannah Meinertzhagen summarises the findings of her study, and the benefit she got from partnering with industry professionals.