BSG Ecology are delighted to announce that we are able to offer Bat Low Impact (BLIMP) licensing in Scotland alongside the Bat Mitigation Class Licence (BMCL) in England. The purpose of these licences is to provide a streamlined approach to protected species licensing for bats in situations where a development is predicted to have limited impacts on bats.
At BSG, we regularly use thermal imaging technology to supplement more standard methods of data collection, and answer questions that need to be addressed in Ecological Impact Assessment and Habitats Regulations Assessment work. In some circumstances, it can provide a more robust evidence base for our clients’ projects. The value of thermal imaging in wildlife recording has been recognised by NHBS, the largest supplier of wildlife, ecology and conservation books and equipment in Europe, who have used footage provided by BSG in their latest article entitled ‘NHBS Guide to Night Vision and Thermal Optics.’ Most of this footage has been collected in the course of commercial work.
BSG Ecology is delighted to have been short-listed for two prestigious CIEEM awards; Medium Scale Consultancy of the Year and the Small Scale Mitigation and Enhancement Award.
Having won the Medium Scale Consultancy of the Year award in 2018, it is very exciting to be short-listed for a second year.
As the number of solar farms in the UK increases, there is growing interest in the interactions of wildlife with ground-mounted solar photovoltaic panels. Evidence of whether operational solar farms impact on biodiversity remains limited, however, particularly in a UK context. To address this, BSG Ecology has undertaken a literature review of worldwide research on the evidence of the impacts of solar farms on biodiversity.
On 4 April 2019 BSG Ecology, DEFRA and LDA Design collaborated to deliver a breakfast seminar on biodiversity net gain. The seminar brought together attendees from local planning authorities and Homes England, with those from the higher education, minerals and house building sectors.
BSG Ecology has recently completed a badger survey, for the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) on their Chimney Meadows reserve. Part of the reserve was also covered by a bait marking survey. This has revealed that there are three different badger clans using the area covered, has allowed a better understanding of the size of badger territories and of which setts are used by the different groups. This will inform the detail of BBOWT’s approach to vaccination of badgers (against bovine tuberculosis), as well as giving more insight into how clans use the reserve and interact with each other.
On 22 March 2019 BSG Ecology’s Owain Gabb, along with other members of the Gower Ringing Group, and Kelvin Jones, Welsh Development Officer for the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), hosted a bird ringing demonstration for Swansea University students. The event took place at Natural Resources Wales’ Oxwich National Nature Reserve.
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.
Natural England has established a Wildlife Licensing Service to deal with protected species licence submissions, returns and renewals. This new service will also lead on plans to charge for mitigation licences, a process that will be subject to a phased role out that will commence in April 2019.
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.
On 5 March 2019 BSG Ecology and Womble Bond Dickinson 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.