News & Views

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.
BSG Ecology’s Owain Gabb and James Garside were among the speakers at the Swansea University Employability Event on 23 October 2019. The event was set up to provide second year Biosciences students with insight into the range of career options available to them. Our talk naturally concerned ecological consultancy as one obvious potential career pathway.
BSG Ecology is delighted to be exhibiting at Regen Conference in Liverpool on 6-7 November 2019. Please visit Stand C4 where our experienced team will be delighted to discuss all-matters ecology, including issues related to bats, great crested newts and other protected species, brownfield habitats and our experience with biodiversity net gain.
The footage below shows lesser horseshoe bats Rhinolophus hipposideros emerging from a stone shed that supports a maternity roost. It was captured in early August 2019 by BSG Ecology’s Guy Miller and Hannah Daniels, using one of BSG Ecology’s FLIR T650sc thermal imaging cameras. The location is near Abergavenny, Monmouthshire.
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.
Since the Government announced plans for new developments to deliver Biodiversity Net Gain on a mandatory basis in England, many local planning authorities have begun the process of incorporating net gain policies into their Local Plans. It is crucial that developers, planning consultants and ecological consultants understand these policies if successful projects are to be delivered. BSG Ecology has therefore developed a policy tracker for England to identify where Local Plan biodiversity net gain policies exist, where they are in preparation, and the Local Plan review stage authorities have reached.
Steart Marshes in Somerset is one of the largest examples of managed retreat (coastal realignment) in England. As a result of its design, it has rapidly become of great importance for biodiversity, and is also delivering wider ecosystem services benefits. In this article, BSG Ecology Partner Peter Shepherd reflects on the lessons that can be learned from projects such as Steart if we are to deliver the bigger, better and better connected network of habitats envisioned for Britain by Sir John Lawton in his 2010 review[1]
BSG Ecology now has five consultants who have been awarded Chartership by the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM). Chartership represents a considerable personal achievement, as it both recognises technical expertise and is the culmination of a lot of hard work. It should also provide our clients with the confidence that the advice they receive from BSG will help ensure positive outcomes for their projects.