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.

Natural England Low Impact Bat Class Licence

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).

Implementation of the British Standard (BS) 42020

BSG Ecology has taken steps to ensure that we incorporate guidance from BS42020:2013, the Code of Practice for Planning and Development, within the delivery of our day-to-day work.   The responsibility for the successful delivery of the British Standard guidance lies with all parties involved with ecology in the planning system.

Biodiversity Offsetting – Pandora’s Box, Nature Tax or a positive contribution to addressing biodiversity loss?

The development of a biodiversity offsetting scheme has been in the pipeline for some time, and a pilot scheme devised by Defra has recently come to an end. In essence, the Defra ‘metrics’ approach enables biodiversity credits to be calculated for habitats that will be unavoidably lost, and an equivalent value of credits provided through habitat restoration or creation to compensate for this loss.

Significant urban extension receives planning permission

BSG Ecology has been working on proposals for the Great Haddon urban expansion on the southern edge of Peterborough for over seven years. We were delighted to learn that in March this year Peterborough City Council granted outline planning permission for this significant development.

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.

Winwick Wind Farm Public Inquiry

This article provides a brief review of a recent appeal decision for a proposed seven wind turbine scheme in Northamptonshire.  It also continues Dr Peter Shepherd’s review of wind farm public inquiry decisions following his recent note on the Kelmarsh and Watford Lodge wind farm appeal decisions.

Bat Survey Guidelines

The second edition of Bat Surveys: Good Practice Guidelines has recently been published by the Bat Conservation Trust, and this builds upon the guidance set out in the first edition and draws upon a range of new information.  It is likely that this document will quickly become established as the new standard for bat survey work, and for this reason it is important that developers and others understand the implications for their projects.  Some of the key points are summarised below, and further advice is available from BSG Ecology.

Bats and Micro-wind Energy Schemes

BSG Ecology has been delivering ecological survey and assessment in support of wind farm and large single turbine applications for a considerable time.   Over the past year, however, we have begun to field a considerable number of queries about small-scale turbines, typically to provide electricity for individual industrial units or farms.  The requirement for our input often arises as a result of consultee concerns about potential impacts on bats.


A decision by the Secretary of State (SoS) on a public inquiry into residential development at land south of Wallisdown Road, Poole was published on 28th February (PINS Ref: APP/Q1255/V/10/2138124). This was a key case called in by the SoS as it involved residential and associated development within 400m of Talbot Heath, which is part of the Dorset Heaths SPA. Understandably Natural England and the RSPB had maintained an objection to the scheme throughout the planning process as this represented a significant departure from their published guidance on development near heathland sites. The decision to grant planning permission by Borough of Poole Council has been overturned by this decision.