BSG Ecology provides Ecological Clerk of Works (ECoW) services which typically include the preparation of documentation before construction activities commence and delivery of ecological requirements on site to meet key development milestones. The ECoW role involves monitoring to ensure that site based construction activities are delivered. We work with site personnel, so as to avoid contravention of relevant wildlife law, and so that the works comply with planning consent commitments and the ecology elements of principal contractor documentation. Such works may also aid the discharge of planning conditions. The ECoW also pro-actively identifies and resolves ecological issues, however minor, that could otherwise give rise to third party criticism of the scheme, and ensures that the workforce are aware of their responsibilities. This helps ensure that work proceeds in accordance with the project plan.
We regularly provide EcoW services to residential housing, public (education), utilities, heritage, renewable energy (wind and solar), and the minerals sector. We aim to assist clients in as cost effective manner as possible providing advice regarding timescales well in advance of the start of construction in order to help ensure development timeframes can be met. We have experience of working with local planning authorities, statutory and non-statutory conservation organisations.
Depending on the scale and type of the development, our role as the ECoW may involve the following:
- Production of and input to key construction phase site documents, some of which are required for condition discharge during the pre-construction phase. These may include:
- The Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP);
- HSQE documents – e.g. Pollution Prevention Plan, Environmental Management Plan
- Construction Method Statements (CMSs);
- Permits to Work;
- Ecological Constraints Plans; and,
- the Habitat Management Plan or Landscape Environment Management Plan (LEMP);
- Attendance at and input to site meetings
- Consultation with the Local Planning Authority (LPA) and other relevant consultees such as the Local Wildlife Trust, Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, and the Environment Agency
- Provision of toolbox talks and site inductions for the site personnel.
- Provision of advice on the protection of ecological features and protected species mitigation measures
- Pre-construction and construction phase checks for protected species.
- Provision of an ecological watching brief during for example, vegetation clearance or building renovation or demolition, habitat translocation work, habitat creation, habitat enhancement and habitat management work.
- Species translocation (flora or fauna).
- Co-ordination of the implementation of European Protected Species (EPS) Mitigation and Badger Development Licences.
- Pollution monitoring and advising contractor and client on any necessary remedial / mitigation measures if problems occur.
- Daily record keeping, signing off construction documents, and production of reports as required.
- Regular record keeping and production of reports, as required for auditing purposes.
Health and Safety
Health and safety is particularly important on construction sites and our employees are required to comply with all client health and safety requirements as well as undertaking their own risk assessments. Each of our suitably qualified staff are accredited under the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) as a ‘Professionally Qualified Person.’
BSG Ecology is committed to meeting our obligations under the CDM Regulations by ensuring that hazards are designed out of the construction process and risk is reduced to an acceptable level, and has achieved SMAS accreditation.
Training and Experience
An ECoW role requires an experienced ecologist with an excellent understanding of the construction environment as well as an excellent working knowledge of wildlife legislation, who can act quickly, decisively and in an informed way to help resolve issues. Ideally, the ECoW would have a good knowledge of the ecology of the site, the nature of the development and the species subject to the mitigation. Good communication and problem solving skills are also a key attribute of an ECoW, as the role typically involves pro-active liaison with both contractors and the client if carried out effectively. The ECoW should also foresee potential problems, so that these can be avoided or ensure practical mitigation is implemented in a timely manner.
We are able to offer suitably experienced ECoWs who have up to 25 years of applied professional experience’ and selected key staff have also attended the CIEEM Ecological Clerk of Works training course. We can provide a single member of staff to deliver a role but may also, if appropriate, use a small team to deliver work, where appropriate. We have considerable experience in working closely and effectively with site contractors and project managers.
In May 2015, the Welsh Government granted planning permission for the Garreg Lwyd Hill Wind Farm in Powys, following a Public Inquiry held in October 2014. Two applications were consented, one for the main wind farm site, another for highway upgrades and associated works on third party land between Newtown and the proposed wind farm. BSG Ecology has been appointed by RES to provide construction phase support; this has involved the discharge of outstanding planning conditions relating to ecology.
BSG Ecology is also providing an ECoW team to the project that will be responsible for monitoring compliance with planning conditions, environmental legislation, and protected species licences. The ECoW role will ensure that work is being undertaken in line with the CEMP and other environmental safeguards.