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.

Matt Hobbs to speak at RenewableUK Conference, Glasgow (30 October – 1 November 2012)

Senior Ecologist Matt Hobbs will present a talk to the RenewableUK Conference in Glasgow on the subject of the Bat Conservation Trust’s onshore wind farm guidance.  Matt’s talk will take place on the morning of Thursday 1 November (the Small and Medium Wind Installer Session), and is entitled “Applying the Bat Conservation Trust survey guidelines for onshore wind farms: why doing more can mean doing less.”

The Delaware Shorebird Project

In May 2012 Ruth Walker, an Ecologist from our Derbyshire office in Hathersage, travelled to Delaware Bay in the United States to make an international contribution to an important conservation initiative for red knot and other waders.  Ruth, who specialises in ornithology for BSG, is a bird ringer and here she provides a summary of this impressive conservation project.

Translocation of Lizard Orchids

In September 2011 BSG Ecology was commissioned to prepare and implement a method statement for the translocation of a small population of lizard orchid (Himantoglossum hircinum) on a brownfield field site near Ramsgate in Kent.

Changing Faces at BSG

The last few months have been a busy time for BSG Ecology with a number of comings and goings.

BSG Ecology’s Facebook Site

BSG has over 30 full time ecologists, many of whom spend considerable amounts of their spare time, as well as their work hours, surveying, recording and photographing wildlife in the UK and abroad.  This interest helps us to refine our survey skills and keep up to date with developments in the ecology world, and our Facebook site provides a forum to share photographs, highlight conservation issues and draw people’s attention to what they can see at certain times of year.

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.

Re-igniting the debate about waders and wind farms: a new paper

The latest in a series of papers looking at impacts of windfarms on upland waders was recently published in the Journal of Applied Ecology.  This paper, by Pearce-Higgins, Stephen, Douse & Langston, aims to draw together monitoring data from wind farms in unenclosed  upland habitats in the UK in order to to determine whether there is evidence that breeding densities of upland birds are reduced as a result of wind farm construction or operation. 

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.

Recent Wind Farm Public Inquiry Decisions and Wildlife Issues

Over the last 18 months Dr Peter Shepherd has appeared at 3 public inquiries into wind farms, providing expert witness evidence in each case on the impact of the proposed schemes on local bat populations. These reviews concerned a proposed wind farm at Kelmarsh in Northamptonshire, which sat shortly after a nearby inquiry into a wind farm proposal at Watford Lodge. Both inquiries have now been determined and a number of interesting points arise from these decisions which Peter reviews in the attached paper.

Cost-effective Wildlife Surveillance

There are standard techniques for the survey of many protected animal species in the UK, particularly for those that remain common and widespread at the national or regional level.   These protocols are useful, but taking a formulaic approach to survey work doesn’t always address the question that needs answering.  In certain circumstances the use of equipment such as motion-activated cameras and video recorders can significantly increase the value of a survey programme and allow a greater level of confidence in the interpretation of results at very little extra cost.  Innovative use of technology can also help engagement with consultees and engender confidence in survey results.