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.
The discovery of bats whilst undertaking major roof works, and the subsequent supervision (under licence) of work to the buildings by BSG ecologists, generated much excitement amongst the pupils at Shenley Primary School, Greater London.
For the past three years BSG Ecology’s Kate Rooney has been an invited to deliver a lecture to final year Oxford Brookes Biosciences students as part of their Ecological Consultancy module. During this year's talk, Kate outlined the role which ecological consultants play in development projects, and the skills and qualities which BSG Ecology look for in a graduate level recruit. The students then worked through a case study based on a project BSG had been involved with, and discussed the scope and specification of protected species surveys for the site along with potential mitigation solutions.
BSG Ecology’s Guy Miller, one of our licenced bat ecologists, supported by Adam Long (Access Techniques Ltd), an industrial rope access specialist, has recently conducted aerial surveys of the Grand Bridge at Blenheim Park, Oxfordshire. The aim has been to identify and inspect features of the bridge that have the potential to support roosting bats and nesting birds. The resulting information will be used to inform the approach taken to forthcoming repair work, ensuring that it is legally compliant and that opportunities for birds and bats are retained within the structure following renovation.
As BSG Ecology has grown as a business there has been a requirement for more staff to take on leadership and non-project related management activities. To ensure people feel equipped to take on these tasks, training has been developed to meet our specific needs through discussion with our staff and an external training provider. Our first Leadership and Management training day took place in Birmingham on 16 May 2019, and was attended by the BSG Senior Management Team.
On 4 April 2019 BSG Ecology, DEFRA and LDA Design collaborated to deliver a breakfast seminar on biodiversity net gain. The seminar brought together attendees from local planning authorities and Homes England, with those from the higher education, minerals and house building sectors.
BSG Ecology has recently completed a badger survey, for the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) on their Chimney Meadows reserve. Part of the reserve was also covered by a bait marking survey. This has revealed that there are three different badger clans using the area covered, has allowed a better understanding of the size of badger territories and of which setts are used by the different groups. This will inform the detail of BBOWT’s approach to vaccination of badgers (against bovine tuberculosis), as well as giving more insight into how clans use the reserve and interact with each other.
As many of our ecologists are actively working towards bat survey licences or assist in bat survey work, we run in-house training to address typical gaps in their knowledge and experience. The training also helps ensure that our bat fieldwork is of a very high standard, and our commercial work is robust.
The latest of these training events was a two day course held in our Oxford office in February 2019.
BSG Ecology has been part of the professional team that has worked to bring forward proposals for the Oxford North development over the last 5 years. We are delighted that the project has now reached the public consultation stage, which started on Friday 23rd June.
BSG Ecology now has two members of its team who benefit from a water vole displacement license (Jim Fairclough in our Hathersage Office working across Derbyshire, the Midlands and Greater Manchester; and Peter Newbold in our Oxford Office working across South-East England).