Residential & Commercial Development

BSG Ecology works with a broad cross section of clients involved in delivering residential housing, commercial development, and large mixed-used developments. We work with clients to deliver a range of schemes from small single unit developments through to major urban extensions.

Overview

BSG Ecology works closely with the client team, Local Planning Authorities and other key stakeholders to retain and integrate key biodiversity assets into development; often an essential step towards achieving planning consent.

We have a proven 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 likely effects of the scheme.

Consultancy Services

We have a large team of specialist ecologists, many of whom have significant experience of ecological assessment for the residential and commercial developments sectors, and who are supplemented by a network of regionally based specialist sub-contractors.

BSG Ecology offers consultancy advice that aims to go far beyond the basic 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.

Key areas of expertise within this sector include:

  • Proactive engagement with the master-planning 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.
  • Detailed assessment of impacts upon European Sites as part of the Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) process. The service includes collection of baseline survey data, screening reports, and creation of Appropriate Assessment documents including detailed mitigation strategies. We have extensive experience of working on these matters on a range of projects from small domestic applications through to Local strategic documents including Core strategies.
  • Full engagement with the net-gains (biodiversity offsetting) requirements in some local authority areas, including use of the Defra metric approach.
  • Extensive experience of representing the interests of key developer clients at both Public Inquiry and Examinations in Public.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Provision of ecological input to Construction and Environmental Management Plans (CEMPs) and Landscape and Environmental Management Plans (LEMPs).
  • Our Suitably Qualified Ecologists (SQEs) advise clients on the Land Use and Ecology criteria for BREEAM, 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.
  • We regularly provide Continued Professional Development training to a wide range of residential and commercial sector clients. This includes specific training on current matters such as Habitats Regulations Assessment, in addition to more generic ecology training sessions.

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.