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.

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.

BSG Ecology – A new name and a positive future

Over the last two years we have been looking hard at everything we do to improve the way we carry out our business and how we provide the best ecology service to our clients. As a result we have instigated a number of positive changes at all levels of the business. As part of this important process of change and investment for the future we will from 19th March 2012 trade as BSG Ecology.

STOP PRESS – TALBOT HEATH DECISION PUBLISHED

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.

BSG Opens Swansea Office

BSG Ecology opens a new office in Swansea, South Wales on 1 March 2012.  This will be led by Owain Gabb, Principal Ecologist, who has moved to Wales after two years in our Oxford office.

Disturbance and increased visitor pressure impacts on internationally designated sites

Internationally designated sites such as Special Protection Areas (SPAs), Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Ramsar Sites can have ramifications for development and other activities a long way beyond their immediate boundaries. Where these sites might be affected, impact assessment and decision making is sometimes highly precautionary, meaning that activities many miles removed from these sites can and do come under the closest scrutiny.

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.

Bats in the… blast furnace?

Baker Shepherd Gillespie (BSG) recently provided advice for a lottery-funded project to preserve a blast furnace in the Royal Forest of Dean, an area renowned for its industrial heritage.

Planning, law and ecology – all change!

Proposals to significantly change the planning and regulatory systems are currently under consideration; however, any new approach in respect of ecology is unlikely to be resolved quickly.

Cheverton Down Wind Farm – Review of appeal decision

Dr Peter Shepherd (BSG Partner) was asked to give evidence on behalf of the appellant as the impact on bats was a main issue at this public inquiry. As part of our on-going analysis of wind farm appeal decisions, a review of the Cheverton Down Wind Farm inquiry is presented in an article, written by Dr Shepherd, which includes comments and observations on the appeal decision (issued on 30 August 2011).

Biodiversity Planning Toolkit

The Biodiversity Planning Toolkit is a new online resource designed to facilitate the incorporation of biodiversity into the planning system and new development at an early stage within the UK. The Toolkit has been created and launched by the Association of Local Government Ecologists (ALGE) working in partnership with a wide range of conservation and planning organisations.

The GRO Green Roof Code

Previously green roof designers have had to rely heavily on European or North American technical guidance when devising the structure and specification of green roofs. Although a wealth of information is available from outside the UK, none relates directly to recognised British Standards. The recently published Green Roof Code is a UK-specific document which fills this gap and provides a best practice guide. It will provide a useful reference document for all those involved in the design and installation of green roofs.