Residential & Commercial Development

BSG Ecology works with a range of clients involved in delivering residential housing schemes, commercial development, such as business parks, new school and university campuses, care homes, large mixed-used developments and major urban extensions.

Overview

This often involves a large scale change to the landscape and land use from, for example, brownfield or agricultural habitats which can involve resolving complex ecological issues.  BSG Ecology works closely with the client team to retain and integrate valued biodiversity assets into the development. We have a detailed understanding of legislation and good practice guidance, requirements for mitigation including protected species licencing and Public Inquiry expert witness experience.  This means that we can effectively scope likely survey requirements to ensure that ecology work is appropriate and proportionate to the effects of the scheme.

Communication

Our experience in pre and post-planning consultation with statutory and non-statutory consultees, gives us a thorough understanding of decision makers’ requirements and is drawn upon to dovetail with our client’s commercial aspirations.

We have detailed experience of working with local planning authorities, statutory and non-statutory conservation organisations.  We consult with regard to proposed survey approaches, appropriate mitigation and/or compensatory measures and to agree practical ecology planning conditions. Our liaison role frequently requires us to provide a key link between the project team members, the local planning authority ecologist and the planning case officer.

Consultancy Services

BSG Ecology offers consultancy advice that goes far beyond the delivery of survey work. We provide a complete ecology service, from pre-land acquisition feasibility studies, to fieldwork and baseline survey, ecological impact assessment and implementation of planning conditions. For large scale developments we actively contribute to the masterplanning process, often working within multi-disciplinary teams. We have extensive experience of problem solving, dealing with complex licencing issues, providing practical advice and project delivery. Protected species often need to be considered in relation to both small and large scale developments. BSG has expertise in survey and licensing for a wide range of protected species (including bats, hazel dormouse, great crested newt, badger, otter, water vole, barn owl and other nesting birds).

We understand the value of good design and the role of ecology within the design process. We have significant experience in the inclusion of green and brown roofs, SUDs (sustainable drainage) features and the provision of carefully sited green infrastructure associated with major projects. A successful large scale scheme often includes the provision of habitat creation, establishment and management schemes or biodiversity management plans. BSG applies practical delivery mechanisms when we provide the ecological input to Construction and Environmental Management Plans (CEMPs) and Landscape and Environmental Management Plans (LEMPs). Further to securing planning permission, we can provide technical and on-site support to our clients in the discharge of ecological planning conditions. Our Suitably Qualified Ecologists (SQEs) advise clients on the Land Use and Ecology criteria for BREEAM or Code for Sustainable Homes Assessment, and give advice on ecology opportunities to obtain credits and the implementation of ecology recommendations.

Our ecologists are fully equipped to work on construction sites and BSG Ecology invests time in appropriate health and safety measures and staff training including working at height, understanding our obligations under CDM Regulations and asbestos awareness training.

Project Examples

BSG Ecology has provided ecological advice and client support for a residential development proposal in Aylesbury; challenging the strict application of a Biodiversity Offsetting metric requested by the Council and successfully resolving concerns held by the Environment Agency.

The site was granted planning permission subject to conditions in June 2015. BSG Ecology produced the necessary documents, including the Habitat Management Plan, required to discharge the ecology related planning conditions. As part of the approach to avoiding impacts on protected species and adjacent habitats, on-site ecology support will also be provided as the development progresses.

BSG Ecology was approached in 2012 by William Davis Ltd to provide ecological support for a planning application for 83 dwellings in Smalley, Derbyshire. A range of baseline ecological surveys and reporting was completed to support the planning application. During the process of determination we had regular liaison with the non-statutory consultee advising the Local Planning Authority on ecological matters to agree the scope of survey information required and appropriate mitigation measures, which included the preparation of a mitigation strategy for bats and a habitat management plan. In addition, development licences for badger and bats were secured by BSG Ecology to allow the development to proceed

BSG Ecology was commissioned by Monmouthshire County Council (MCC)  to provide a Phase 1 habitat survey of a small area of former arable land adjacent to the Raglan Highways Depot to inform a planning application for a car park. The car park was required to accommodate the expanding work force at the depot.

The Phase 1 survey identified a pond approximately 150 m north-west of the proposed development site, and associated desk study revealed historical records of great crested newts (GCN) found under a manhole cover on the depot grounds.

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