News & Views

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.
On 8 January 2019 Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) published “Bats and Onshore Wind Turbines: Survey, Assessment and Mitigation.” This is now the industry standard, and formally replaces Natural England’s TIN 051 and Chapter 10 of the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) Guidance (Hundt, 2012). It is endorsed by all the statutory nature conservation stakeholders and by BCT. This article provides an initial review of the changes in survey and monitoring the guidance brings, and comments on the implications of these for developers.
Bird ringing has been conducted at Oxwich Marsh by Gower Ringing Group since February 2013. This is co-ordinated by Owain Gabb, a licensed bird ringer and trainer based in our Swansea Office. The marsh is managed by Natural Resources Wales, and habitats include open water, reed bed, wet woodland and species-rich grassland to the landward side of an extensive area of sand dunes and open sandy foreshore. The entire area is notified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
BSG Ecology is delighted to announce that we now offer arboriculture to complement our existing ecology consultancy.  This new service is led by our senior arboriculture consultant Darryl Birch MArborA. Darryl has 8 years’ experience in providing arboricultural consultancy, and has experience of applying his expertise in a range of conservation projects.
This article on biodiversity and the new NPPF summarises what the guidance has to say about sustainable development and biodiversity net gain. We also look at whether we are now clearer about how net gain is to be measured, and whether we are likely to see more consistency in its application by local planning authorities and decision taking.

Last month the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan set out a £1.1bn vision for East Bank at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. This new centre of culture, education, innovation and growth, will provide new homes for the London College of Fashion, the BBC’s music-recording operations, a...