In April 2016 staff from around the practice assembled at our Oxford office for specialist training on badger survey, mitigation and monitoring.
The training was delivered by Penny Lewns of Protected Species Ecology. Penny has over twenty five years of experience working with badgers and development and has authored publications on the status of the badger in Britain, techniques for surveying badgers, monitoring populations and estimating the impact of past persecution on the numbers of badgers. She has held 400 badger licences across the UK, and is one of the most experienced badger specialists in the country.
The course considered the potential for effects on badgers over the stages of development of a project: it began with an overview of badger ecology and relevant legislation, then went on to look at when and how standard and specialist survey techniques, including bait marking and dietary analysis, should be applied. Mitigation measures were then discussed and comprehensive advice on artificial sett design, sett exclusion and sett destruction was provided.
The course formed part of the programme of continued professional development (CPD) that BSG Ecology delivers to its staff. The need for CPD is identified through mentoring, line management and the annual review process. Where a training requirement that is common to various staff is identified, as it was with badger mitigation (a key aspect of this course), we either deliver this using internal expertise or, if we do not have a leading technical expert, bringing someone in. By doing this we can have a course that is based on our specific needs.
We are very grateful to Penny Lewns for delivering an excellent course, with positive feedback received from all who attended.