Ecology Newcastle

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 has recently provided support to Ford and Etal Estates with regard to the renovation of estate cottages in the village of Ford, Northumberland. An initial appraisal suggested the cottages provided good roosting opportunities for bats due to both their age and setting.  Bat surveys then found small bat roosts in a number of the cottages, and that one supported a maternity roosts of 270 soprano pipistrelle bats and 57 brown long-eared bats.

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.
Steve Betts, BSG Ecology Partner, led a biodiversity offsetting and net gain seminar to a large audience of developers and planning consultants in Newcastle on 27 February 2019. A key aim of the session was to share learning and promote good practice. The session set out a brief history of biodiversity offsetting and net gain in England and provided an overview of planning policy, which currently varies both locally and nationally.
Dr Peter Shepherd will be presenting on the 1st of February to a seminar on Environmental Impact Assessment organised by the North-east Regional section of the RTPI.  Peter has been asked to give a presentation on Biodiversity Offsetting: Implications for EIA and Mitigation. This is a subject BSG Ecology has been following closely since it was first promoted in the Natural Environment White Paper 2011 and a number of articles have appeared in our New and Views ever since and as such we are delighted to be asked to speak.
The benefits of and requirement for enhanced sustainability within developments is now firmly embedded in local and national planning policy in Scotland.  Whilst the provision of ‘Blue-Green Infrastructure¹ can be viewed as a hindrance, as it takes up land with a commercial value, it should also be viewed as an opportunity, potentially adding value to the wider development. On 17 March 2016, Holyrood, the seat of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, will host an event organised by the “Living Cities Consortium” directed at major stakeholders involved in house building, construction, public realm improvements and delivery of new development across the public, private, voluntary and social enterprise sectors.  The purpose of this event is to highlight the range of opportunities that Blue-Green Infrastructure can provide.
In this article we consider the use of eDNA analysis of water samples to detect great crested newts, and discuss the results of some recent survey work.  Whilst we identify limitations that need to be considered, it is also recognised that the technique provides a useful additional method for detecting great crested newts, and we use it in appropriate circumstances at sites throughout the UK.  The method has been endorsed by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales.
Environmental DNA (eDNA) testing is a relatively new survey technique that can help determine the presence or absence of great crested newts in ponds. Since this is still a relatively new approach its practical application and limitations for field surveys some uncertainty remains in the ecology sector about how it should be best applied and what its practical limitations might be. This article discusses the potential applications of the process, and our perceptions of its limitations, which should be considered when planning survey work for great crested newt.
John Baker, Senior Ecologist in BSG Ecology’s Oxford office attended the British Ornithologists’ Union (BOU) annual conference at the University of Leicester held between the 1st and 3rd April 2014.  This year’s theme was the ecology and conservation of birds in upland and alpine habitats. Speakers came from across Europe and North America and included researchers from universities, consultants and representatives of NGOs.
At BSG Ecology we routinely field requests for invertebrate surveys. These can take many forms, but typically include: surveys of sites with potential to support invertebrate species or invertebrates associated with habitats of principal importance (NERC Act 2006); assessment of biological water quality of ponds, lakes, streams and rivers, using freshwater invertebrates as indicators of ecosystem health; or more bespoke surveys of protected or otherwise notable invertebrate species (e.g. white-clawed crayfish, or rare dragonfly or butterfly species).