BSG Ecology provides specialist ecological and ornithological survey and advice in relation to onshore wind farms, solar farms, energy from waste facilities, gas power stations and nuclear sites. We provide a complete consultancy service, from informing site selection and inputting to concept design to the provision of expert witness support at public inquiry and undertaking post construction monitoring.

Overview

We provide ecological support to commercial energy projects of all scales. Our projects include onshore wind farms of up to 70 turbines, energy from waste plants in former minerals extraction sites, new gas and nuclear plants in ecologically sensitive (often coastal) locations, solar and the decommissioning of sites that have reached the end of their operational lives. We also work on ‘life extension’ applications, repowering schemes and on projects to link new facilities to the electricity grid network.

Field Survey

We have a large team of ecologists, many of whom have significant experience of ecological assessment of energy sector developments, and who are supplemented by a network of regionally based specialist sub-contractors.

Our team has relevant expertise in the following technical areas for energy projects:

  • Birds: Vantage-point (VP) survey to inform collision risk analysis at proposed wind farms; specific breeding wader, grouse and raptor survey; generic breeding bird survey; wintering waterfowl survey; landscape-scale distribution mapping of flock-forming species such as geese and plovers; mapping of bird distribution in intertidal and inshore marine habitats; radio-tracking of nightjar; and, thermal imaging survey to determine nocturnal bird distribution.
  • Bats: Transect and static surveys; roost assessments; ‘at height’ surveys; internal inspections of buildings and aerial inspections of trees; radio tracking of high sensitivity species; fatality searches beneath turbines using search dogs.
  • Vegetation mapping: Phase 1 survey to identify habitat types; National Vegetation Classification (NVC) (where applicable) to attribute these to specific community types.  Application of SEPA’s SNIFFER guidance for evaluation of wetland habitats and identification of ground water dependent terrestrial ecosystems (GWDTEs);
  • Protected species: surveys of water courses for species including otter, water vole and freshwater macroinvertebrates; and, survey for badger, hazel dormouse, great crested newt (including eDNA), red squirrel, badger and various other terrestrial mammals in appropriate habitat.

Ecology Consultancy Services

BSG Ecology provides a comprehensive ecological consultancy service, including:

  • Preliminary site appraisal to enable early understanding of likely survey requirements, costs and project risk.
  • Detailed desk study, involving the purchase of data, interrogation of aerial photographs, maps and information on designated sites, and where necessary the review of planning applications.
  • Survey design and implementation based on published guidance, knowledge of local conservation priorities and likely sensitivities.
  • Liaison with statutory and non-statutory nature conservation consultees to agree a proportionate scope of works.
  • Input to scoping reports.
  • The production of baseline reports in support of EcIA Chapters.
  • Collision risk analysis to determine likely rates of bird collision with turbines.
  • Ecological and Ornithological Impact Assessments based on industry guidance.
  • Habitats Regulations Assessment advice, reports and consultation.
  • Attendance at public exhibitions.
  • Securing and implementing European Protected Species mitigation licences that allow work to proceed.
  • Design and implementation of non-licenced method statements.
  • Construction phase Ecological Clerk of Works support (including toolbox talks) to help ensure legislative compliance.
  • Critical review of planning conditions to ensure these are fit for purpose and proportional in view of changing guidance and lack of subsidies.
  • Post construction monitoring, including the design and implementation of detailed work to explore areas of residual uncertainty during the EcIA process and inform further mitigation.