News & Views

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.

The British Standards Institute (BSI) has launched a public consultation on the draft British Standard - BS 8683 Process for designing and implementing Biodiversity Net Gain – Specification. The main purpose of BS 8683 is to set out the requirements for the biodiversity net gain assessment process for all developments across the UK.

BSG Ecology's Gareth Lang is developing a motion sensitive infrared surveillance camera which is responsive enough to detect and monitor bat roosts. Currently, this is very hard to achieve using commercially available infra-red trail cameras, as the speed at which bats enter and leave roosts means that although these cameras may be triggered they seldom capture any footage. The video clip below, from March 2020, shows a lesser horseshoe bat entering and leaving a disused boiler in a church cellar near Monmouth, Wales.

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.
One of our most challenging but enjoyable (in retrospect) internal training courses concerns the public inquiry process and the role of an expert witness. This is a one day course that is delivered to new and recent recruits within BSG and occasionally to external audiences. It includes classroom teaching and a mock inquiry with an inspector, expert witnesses, cross examination and re-examination. To increase the sense of formality and to give attendees a more realistic sense of inquiry procedures the training is held in an unfamiliar venue set up to reflect a typical inquiry location and those attending are asked to dress appropriately as if they were involved in a real inquiry situation.