News & Views

BSG Ecology Director of Health and Safety Richard Wilks has recently completed an internal programme of training aimed at further developing the health and safety culture of the company. Richard’s training included examples from a variety of industries that demonstrated that irrespective of the quality of systems, not all risks can be engineered out of the work environment. To minimise the risk of incidents occurring at BSG Ecology, it is therefore important to build on our systems and the training we provide to foster a staff culture in which individuals see the health and safety of themselves and of others as a core element of their job, an area in which they set themselves high standards, and in which they expect high standards from their colleagues.
On 14 March 2019 BSG Ecology, Womble Bond Dickinson and Scottish Power Renewables collaborated to deliver a seminar to wind farm developers and asset managers on the implications of recent guidance concerning bats and onshore wind farms published by Scottish Natural Heritage, Natural England and Natural Resources Wales. This was the second of two planned seminars on the subject, and took place at the Citizen M Hotel in central Glasgow.
It is likely that delivery of biodiversity net gain will be made mandatory in England, meaning that developments will need to use a metric to measure the extent of net gain required. It is not yet certain, however, how biodiversity net gain will be delivered. Given the need to provide additional land, the use of conservation covenants may become key to the delivery mechanism. Developers need to understand and contribute to developing this mechanism in order to achieve a practical and sustainable outcome.
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.
BSG Ecology is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Roger Buisson as Director of Ecology in our Cambridge office. Roger has over thirty years of applied professional experience, and has spent significant time working in both consultancy and nature conservation organisations. He has particular expertise in both Habitats Regulations Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment, and considerable experience of Public Inquiries and Hearings. He has broad sector experience and specialist knowledge of ornithology, habitat creation and management.
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 is delighted to be able to offer support to clients who are looking to undertake BREEAM Ecology assessments using the New Construction 2018 Guidance. Although the 2018 guidance has taken some time to filter into common usage (as many well established projects have been able to work to 2014 guidance), we have now had the opportunity to apply the 2018 Land Use and Ecology criteria to a number of projects in both England and Wales.
One of our recent projects involved the provision of ecological advice in relation to the restoration of land within and adjacent to a former clay pit in the south-east of England. Ground-nesting birds were a key potential constraint to the restoration of the site. All wild birds, their eggs and nests are afforded protection by law; the mosaic of habitats within the site was considered capable of supporting a range of breeding species.
We are regularly approached by students and recent graduates keen to understand the skills they need to pursue a career in consultancy work. The following short article summarises, from our perspective, areas in which some basic experience is likely to be advantageous in securing an ecologist (entry-level) position.