Ecology Consulting

In some circumstances the use of technology such as remote-activated cameras can significantly improve the quality of ecological data collected and the confidence in the outcome of mitigation, while also saving money for our clients through a more cost-effective and less labour intensive approach to work. Some recent examples are outlined below, along with the footage captured in each instance.

BSG Ecology's Gareth Lang is developing a motion sensitive infrared surveillance camera which is responsive enough to detect and monitor bat roosts. Currently, this is very hard to achieve using commercially available infra-red trail cameras, as the speed at which bats enter and leave roosts means that although these cameras may be triggered they seldom capture any footage. The video clip below, from March 2020, shows a lesser horseshoe bat entering and leaving a disused boiler in a church cellar near Monmouth, Wales.

BSG Ecology is committed to continuing to deliver an excellent service while protecting the health of our employees, our clients and their families. To enable this, we have ensured that all staff have the ability to fully access our systems and contract files at home. Field work can typically be completed safely with minor additional controls to minimise risk, and we are making the most of video conferencing to communicate as an alternative to meetings and associated travel.
BSG Ecology Director Peter Shepherd was recently invited for a second time to address the European Criminal Law Association – this time on the subject of Protecting the Environment after Brexit. The nature of the subject matter obviously requires a degree of ‘crystal ball gazing,’ so the talk started with what we know; among a series of depressing statistics, the State of Nature Report 2019 highlighted declines in 41 % of UK species, identified that 15 % are threatened with extinction, that we have lost 133 species entirely since 1970 and that the rate of biodiversity loss in the UK has been greater than the global average. The report is one of many sources that identify how critical it is that we take action to reverse biodiversity declines.
BSG Ecology's Peter Newbold and Sarah Joscelyne recently delivered training aimed at providing recent Natural England recruits with a better understanding of the practicalities of survey and mitigation for great crested newts.  The training was delivered over two days at O&H Hampton's Crown Lakes and Western Peripheral Road sites, where BSG has been overseeing mitigation and habitat creation aimed at various species under a multi-species project-wide mitigation licence.
Recent months have seen a change in momentum in terms of biodiversity net gain, with the various components needed to drive the process: the policy; the Defra Metric, and some of the detail of how the process will work all taking significant steps forward. This article provides an overview of the evolution of the process to date, explores the emerging implications of policy, and reflects on the change in dynamic between planning authorities and developers that is likely to occur now that biodiversity net gain is a policy requirement in England.
The commitment of the Government to mandate biodiversity net gain in England through the Environment Bill, and the revision of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in 2018 to put more emphasis on net gain are both likely to drive a requirement for higher resolution habitat data to be routinely collected for development projects. Habitat classification needs to be robust in order to ensure that biodiversity metrics critical to calculating net gain can be accurately applied and their outcomes withstand scrutiny by nature conservation consultees and third parties. The UK Habitat Classification is a potentially important tool in de-risking planning applications, as it provides a more robust outcome than Phase 1 habitat survey.