Biodiversity & the Built Environment

BSG Ecology has expertise in biodiversity enhancement within sustainable design. This includes the ecological elements of design of green and brown roofs and sustainable drainage systems. We have won awards for some of our work.


BSG Ecology has expertise in biodiversity enhancement within sustainable design. This includes the ecological elements of design of green and brown roofs and sustainable drainage systems. We have won awards for some of our work.

Planning policy directs planning authorities to expect developers to maintain and enhance biodiversity value wherever this is possible.

Our experience in habitat design, creation and management, and our knowledge of key species requirements, means we can offer clients a tailored approach according to budget and the design opportunities and constraints specific to individual sites.

Consultation and Policy Review

Identifying measures to maintain and enhance biodiversity through the development process is often key to addressing nature conservation consultee and third party concerns.  Frequently local areas have specific policies or green infrastructure strategies which seek to shape how biodiversity is protected and maintained.   These often provide the basis for the development of appropriate measures that are in line with local nature conservation priorities.   BSG Ecology also has extensive experience in stakeholder meetings and consultation events through which measures proposed can be communicated and their likely effectiveness discussed.

Maximising Biodiversity Gain from Landscaping and Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS)

BSG Ecology staff work with design teams from concept stage to project completion.  This allows effects on biodiversity to be avoided, and opportunities to be identified and maximised.  BSG Ecology is able to advise on habitat creation and enhancement appropriate to the locality, as well as how value to biodiversity can be obtained from more formal planted areas. Invasive species such as Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam are common on development sites, and we are able to provide advice on the implications of the presence of these species.

We provide advice on the ecological design of features within sustainable drainage systems as part of our input to environmental impact assessments and masterplanning projects.  Attenuation ponds and swales provide opportunities for an attractive resource for biodiversity and we are able to provide advice on methods to maximise the value of existing and new features.

Advice on Provision of Features for Species

We are able to provide advice on how measures for specific species can be incorporated into new builds or refurbishment projects including integrated bird and bat boxes, bird bricks, bat bricks and bat tiles. Our advice considers how these measures can be incorporated or retained without compromising the additional demands imposed on projects by initiatives such as “zero carbon” homes.

Ecological Design advice for Living Roofs and Green Walls

We provide detailed ecological design advice for green and brown roofs (also known as intensive and extensive green roofs).  We understand that inclusion of these features can have significant implications for the engineered properties of the roof, and work with the design team to ensure that recommendations are deliverable.

We also have experience of wider issues with living roofs, such as their use in Conservation Areas and on listed buildings, and of other priorities for roof space such as public access, siting of photovoltaic panels and services.  We have advised on large, species-rich, grassland roofs and one of the largest biodiverse brown roofs in London. We have also advised on green walls.

Watercourse Restoration

The Water Framework Directive, and policies in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for wildlife corridors and habitat enhancement, have resulted in the reinstatement, restoration, naturalisation and opening-up of culverted watercourses frequently becoming a key component of site development plans. We are able to provide advice and assistance with regard to designing appropriate restoration and enhancement work for watercourses, as well as baseline data collection and the implementation of monitoring during and after construction work is complete.

Biodiversity & the Built Environment – Capability Statement

Project Examples

BSG Ecology was commissioned to provide ecological advice on the design of two brown roofs for development phases 1 and 2 at Woolwich Arsenal in London. We provided guidance on the features to be incorporated into the final roof design to accommodate and benefit both the rare bird black redstart and nationally scarce invertebrate species populations.

In 2008 BSG Ecology was invited to become part of the LDA-Hargreaves design team appointed to prepare a masterplan for the Olympic Park, within which the principal venues for the 2012 London Olympic Games will reside.

Peter Shepherd has headed up the BSG Ecology team that has worked closely with the design team of landscape architects, planners and landscape engineers to help create habitat and species designs that will deliver the Biodiversity Action Plan objectives, whilst also meeting the varying wider objectives for the park

BSG Ecology was commissioned by Derbyshire County Council Property Services Division to assist in the design of a green roof at The Derbyshire ECO Centre in Derbyshire as part of the development for a new educational building that promotes rural crafts, in particular those relating to construction, a sustainable environment and renewable technologies.

Our BREEAM assessment identified an opportunity to enhance the site through the addition of a green roof on the new building and we provided advice and ecological input into the green roof specification.