BSG Ecology provides ecological support to minerals companies, quarry operators and minerals planning consultants. Technical input is provided at all stages in the project life cycle from initial site appraisal to the monitoring of restoration work.
Our project experience includes work on large-scale active quarries, proposed quarry extensions, brick pits, gravel pits, secondary open cast mineral extraction and re-claiming former colliery sites. Amongst our staff there are several former minerals planning authority employees with a detailed understanding of ecology issues at minerals sites.
BSG Ecology provides ecological advice and support for schemes that require:
- Reviewing and updating of old mineral planning permission conditions (ROMPs) with regard to the provisions of the Environment Act 1995;
- Stage 1 Screening Assessments and Appropriate Assessments (under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010) due to changing extraction requirements;
- Consolidation planning applications and time extension applications;
- Planning applications for new extraction and for extensions to extraction at existing quarries;
- Planning applications for re-development of former mineral sites that include the recovery and re-working of secondary materials, and staged restoration ready for subsequent re-development; and
- Restoration and monitoring plans often through planning gain, for example using Section 106 agreements.
Ecology Consultancy Services
Our consultancy services to the minerals sector include:
- Preliminary site appraisal to enable early understanding of likely survey requirements, costs and project risk;
- Upfront or integrated desk-based site appraisal;
- Ecological survey design and implementation based on industry guidance, knowledge of local conservation priorities and likely sensitivities;
- Support in protected species survey, mitigation and licensing;
- Stakeholder liaison and negotiation;
- Input to multi-disciplinary, and stand-alone ecological, scoping reports;
- The production of ecological impact assessments (EcIAs) supported by detailed and robust technical baseline reports;
- Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) advice, reports and consultation;
- The provision of expert witness services at Public Inquiry;
- Working closely with landscape architects and consultees on an advisory level, including local authority and National Park Authority staff, to agree commensurate survey, mitigation and habitat management / creation measures and the review of planning conditions and obligations for clients;
- Providing ecological advice / input to the development of restoration proposals;
- Developing or advising on the specifications for habitat restoration / creation; and,
- Production of 5 year and 10 year Biodiversity Management Plans for both active and restored mineral sites.
BSG Ecology has provided ecological support to Birchover Stone Limited for over ten years. Most recently we were commissioned to provide supporting information to help secure planning permission from the Peak Park National Park Authority for the proposed continuation and extension of extraction of stone from the quarry.
A limestone quarry in County Durham supplies high quality aggregate to the building sector. The minerals company identified a continuing demand for this material, and this resulted in a proposal to extend the quarry to the east to increase the amount of mineral that could be extracted.
BSG was commissioned to undertake an ecological impact assessment of the proposed quarry extension site. Whilst the baseline ecology surveys found that the proposed extension site was of low botanical importance and with no protected species present, we discovered that the settlement lagoons within the adjacent operational site supported a large population of great crested newts.
The former sand quarry site is located within the Fenland of Cambridgeshire. Aggregate extraction ceased across the site several decades ago and it is still owned by a leading aggregate manufacturing company. In recent years the site has been leased by a motorcross operator who is seeking to continue using the site as it represents one of the best motorcross surfaces in the UK.
The site is subject to a Section 106 agreement which secures its long-term future as a site for nature conservation. This will be realised through the production of a detailed phased restoration and aftercare strategy. BSG Ecology was commissioned in 2014 by the motorcross operator to prepare an Ecological Restoration and Habitat Management Plan for the site.