Ecology Oxford

An often forgotten part of delivering the aims of a conservation project or a conservation site is telling the wider-world about what’s going on.  Getting the interpretation right is essential in the promotion of an organisation’s commitment to biodiversity, and can help to raise that organisation’s environmental profile.
Jersey’s Island Plan came into force in June 2011, carrying with it clear statements about the importance of protecting, promoting and enhancing the natural environment. It also makes clear a requirement to support planning applications that might affect important or protected biodiversity sites with an appropriate level of ecological information.
A major conference on Wind Energy and Wildlife Impacts was held at Trondheim, Norway in May 2011.  This event brought together many of the leading international researchers on wind farm-wildlife interactions.  BSG is in the process of collating and reviewing many of the studies that are most pertinent to the UK.  This process helps us to keep improving our assessment work, and allows us to disseminate our findings and thoughts to our clients and other interested parties.
The UK Government’s Feed-in Tariff (FIT), an initiative to provide incentives to people who generate renewable energy to feed some of the electricity back into the National Grid, has generated a lot of interest amongst developers and landowners. In particular, single wind turbine developments are now proving to be very popular but, as with any development, the erection of even a single wind turbine can potentially have impacts on the environment, including ecology.
When the Bat Conservation Trust’s (BCT’s) “Bat Survey Guidelines” were published in 2007, wind farms were excluded because there was little knowledge or experience of surveying to inform a wind farm proposal. The guidance documents that did exist (principally the “Eurobats” guidance and Natural England’s guidance notes (TIN051 and TIN059)) are quite open-ended with regard to survey methods and effort and there are discrepancies between them.
BSG have been catching and ringing birds at the Oxford office since February 2010.  This work has been undertaken with permission from Worton Farms, and is carried out by appropriately licensed and experienced bird ringers (led by Owain Gabb).  All data collected is supplied to the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).  The information is therefore available to be used in scientific research projects, while the ringing study provides training opportunities for some of BSG’s ecologists and detailed information to the farm on their local bird community.