BSG Ecology provides comprehensive support with regard to survey, mitigation, licensing and assessment of effects on European and/or nationally protected species such as bats, hazel dormouse, great crested newt, badger, water vole, barn owl and white-clawed crayfish.
Understanding the implications of protected species and taking account of them early in project design is the best way of avoiding more costly problems further down the line.
Planning policy makes it clear that where there is a reasonable likelihood of a protected species being present and affected by a development, appropriate levels of survey and thorough impact assessment will be required in support of a planning application.
We have wide-ranging experience and understanding of individual protected species, their distribution and their ecological requirements. Our team can quickly identify situations where the presence of one or more protected species is likely to require consideration, and ensure that surveys are appropriately scoped to address legal and policy requirements.
Protected Species Capability
Once the protected species interest of a site is understood, it may be necessary to alter the extent or nature of a development design, or the timing of work.
Our ecologists hold a broad range of survey licences, and low impact class licences for water vole and bats. We are able to survey and advise on development implications for species including the following:
- Protected and rare plants;
- Invertebrates (freshwater and terrestrial);
- Freshwater (white-clawed) crayfish;
- Bats (all British species);
- Great crested newt;
- Natterjack toad;
- Reptiles (including smooth snake and sand lizard as well as common species);
- Breeding Birds and Schedule 1 birds including Barn Owl;
- Specialist bird survey including winter wildfowl survey, vantage point surveys and nocturnal surveys;
- Water vole;
- Pine marten; and,
- Red squirrel.
Bats, great crested newts and birds often place the most complex ecological demands on a project and can be key concern for stakeholders. We have therefore produced separate capability statements for these species which are available on our website.
Ecology Consultancy Services
We work hard to stay abreast of emerging research, biosecurity standards, planning policy, case law and statutory agency technical updates and guidance. We also attend relevant conferences, seminars and workshops. This ensures that we can help our clients make informed decisions about which surveys and/or mitigation measures are appropriate to a given site, taking into account project timescales and cost, as well as the seasonal constraints that affect some species.
On a daily basis we apply the varied legislation and planning policy that affects protected species and can help clients to understand the true extent of their obligations. For more detailed legal and planning advice we have an excellent network of associated specialists.
European Protected Species
Licensed mitigation work is essential in the successful resolution of many European Protected Species (EPS) issues that are encountered in development projects. Under licence, BSG Ecology prepares and implements EPS mitigation and translocation strategies and post-construction monitoring. We have a good track record in securing EPS ‘development’ licences allowing such works to proceed, including projects affecting regionally, nationally and internationally important populations of EPS.
The Riverside Resource Recovery Facility involved the construction and operation of an Energy from Waste Power Station of 72 MW capacity on the southern bank of the River Thames off Norman Road, Belvedere, Bexley. To facilitate the development, the existing access road needed to be widened which required the ditches to be re-located by 10 metres to provide sufficient space for the upgrade. Adjacent to the road was an old marsh ditch which despite receiving fly-tipped material supported a small population of water vole.
BSG Ecology was commissioned by LDA Design to undertake surveys of the ditches for water vole and to propose and agree a suitable mitigation strategy.
The discovery of an otter spraint near a hole in a working face of a gravel pit in Oxford, led us to conclude that the hole was potentially in active use as a holt. The gravel pit was in the process of being restored to reed bed. As part of this process, the pumps that controlled water levels needed to be turned off. The worst-case scenario would have been the loss of an otter breeding site (and potentially the death of dependent cubs). It was therefore important to understand the level of use of the holt and whether it was used for breeding, to ensure that appropriate mitigation for its loss was put in place.
Although not required as part of the mitigation for the Conservation Licence, it was agreed with the landowner that an otter holt could be created by BSG Ecology working in conjunction with the Hanson Aggregates Ltd, the Principal Landscape Manager, and the RSPB Nature After Minerals Project Officer.
Castell Coch is a Victorian Gothic Revival castle that is managed and maintained by Cadw. Conservation works required the replacement of roofing tiles and the construction of a complex scaffold structure with weatherproof sheeting to protect the structure during the works period (as well as to shield the works from visitors at this busy tourist attraction).
BSG Ecology was commissioned by Opus International Consultants on behalf of Cadw to carry out bat survey work at Castell Coch in order to assess the potential impacts on bats of planned conservation works. The surveys identified a number of bat roosts within the site, with at least six species confirmed as roosting: common pipistrelle, soprano pipistrelle, brown long-eared bat, serotine, greater horseshoe bat and lesser horseshoe bat.