BSG Ecology provides a flexible and tailored ecological survey and advisory service for Local Authorities and other public bodies with regard to their land / property, and support in relation to other biodiversity duties such as Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA), wildlife site selection and site management.
We have established long term relationships and are on the approved supplier lists for a number of public bodies, and are also working with Faithful & Gould to provide specialist sub-consultancy services to public sector clients under the national SCAPE framework.
Ecology Services to Support Policy and Planning
We provide a range of ecology services in support of development control and strategic planning services. These include development control advice (including minerals and waste), ecological appraisal of planning applications, independent technical review of ecology chapters in Environmental Statements, interpretation of the relevant country national planning policy (including the NPPF, Planning Policy Wales and Scottish Planning Policy), and accompanying guidance.
We regularly provide and interpret information to assist public bodies in carrying out Habitats Regulations Assessments, in their role as competent authorities, as required under The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (as amended).
We provide ecological input to emerging local planning policy and plans, including site survey allocation recommendations, identification of site restoration, management requirements and representation at Examinations in Public (EIP) for plans.
BSG Ecology has developed significant experience in providing the role of Ecology Expert Witness representation at public inquiries, planning hearings and EIP.
Scope of Public Sector Ecology Support
Our team works with and across a range of technical disciplines. We offer a flexible service that can be tailored to meet specific needs and budgets, which may range from the provision of one-off assistance to more regular inputs. Examples of services we provide include:
- Provision of expert ecological support and review inputs;
- Provision of regular suitably experienced staff support to cover local authority staff absences so that continuity in their ecology service is maintained;
- Provision of ecological survey and reporting associated with the renovation or development of local authority land, built assets and infrastructure projects both under SCAPE and directly with local authorities;
- Preparation of screening templates for protected species to assist non-ecologist staff to carry out basic ecological site appraisals;
- Preparation of biodiversity checklists tailored to local authority areas and local Biodiversity Action Plans;
- Preparation and delivery of bespoke training on key issues;
- Guidance on the on the consideration of impacts on protected areas and sites;
- Development and application of non-statutory wildlife site selection criteria and policies;
- Provision of a comprehensive suite of ecological surveys for habitats and species including support to the local development planning process;
- Biodiversity research for government, SNCOs and local authorities;
- Preparation of Biodiversity Action Plans, Biodiversity Implementation and Monitoring Plans for Local Authorities and Biodiversity Forums; and
- Conservation management plans for nature reserves.
BSG Ecology’s Derbyshire Office has been providing advice to Derbyshire County Council (DCC) for 15 years, working on over 230 projects during this period. This long standing working relationship with DCC staff has enabled us to gain an in-depth understanding of their needs. During this time BSG Ecology has worked with various teams at DCC to help them gain an understanding of the ecological risks and requirements of their projects. In addition to the direct relationship, BSG Ecology also provides specialist advice to DCC through the national SCAPE framework supply chain, which ensures a consistency in approach and delivery of objective ecological advice based on our knowledge of DCC assets.
London’s important wildlife sites are recognised by the Greater London Authority and Borough councils as Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs). There are over 1,400 SINCs in Greater London, covering nearly 20% of the capital.
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council (hereafter RBKC) completed a borough-wide habitat survey in 2002. In 2014, RBKC appointed BSG Ecology to undertake a comprehensive update. The surveyed sites included 25 SINCs and 12 additional open spaces. BSG Ecology delivered a strategic overview report of the survey programme and individual reports for each site.
BSG Ecology worked with Broxbourne Borough Council to provide an evidence base for four ‘Areas of Search’ to be allocated for development in their emerging Local Plan. The four Areas of Search covered a combined area of about 7km2 with much of the land divided into small fields bounded by thick hedgerows, interspersed with clusters of residential development and roads. Our brief also involved appraisals of 35 Local Wildlife Sites that lie within and around the four Areas of Search.
BSG Ecology’s brief for the Local Wildlife Sites was to survey each one in detail and assess whether they continued to meet the requirements of the selection criteria set out in guidelines for Local Sites for Hertfordshire.