This article provides a brief review of a recent appeal decision for a proposed seven wind turbine scheme in Northamptonshire. It also continues Dr Peter Shepherd’s review of wind farm public inquiry decisions following his recent note on the Kelmarsh and Watford Lodge wind farm appeal decisions.
In May 2012 Ruth Walker, an Ecologist from our Derbyshire office in Hathersage, travelled to Delaware Bay in the United States to make an international contribution to an important conservation initiative for red knot and other waders. Ruth, who specialises in ornithology for BSG, is a bird ringer and here she provides a summary of this impressive conservation project.
In September 2011 BSG Ecology was commissioned to prepare and implement a method statement for the translocation of a small population of lizard orchid (Himantoglossum hircinum) on a brownfield field site near Ramsgate in Kent.
BSG has over 30 full time ecologists, many of whom spend considerable amounts of their spare time, as well as their work hours, surveying, recording and photographing wildlife in the UK and abroad. This interest helps us to refine our survey skills and keep up to date with developments in the ecology world, and our Facebook site provides a forum to share photographs, highlight conservation issues and draw people’s attention to what they can see at certain times of year.
BSG Ecology regularly provides ecological input to BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Home (CfSH) assessments. It is our experience that the ecological (biodiversity) aspects of BREEAM and CfSH are an area where clients are often unaware of what is required. In the viewpoint below, BSG Partner Steve Betts identifies some of the common issues that are encountered, and provides clients with advice and guidance to help them plan their way through the process and secure the credits they aspire to.
The latest in a series of papers looking at impacts of windfarms on upland waders was recently published in the Journal of Applied Ecology. This paper, by Pearce-Higgins, Stephen, Douse & Langston, aims to draw together monitoring data from wind farms in unenclosed upland habitats in the UK in order to to determine whether there is evidence that breeding densities of upland birds are reduced as a result of wind farm construction or operation.
The second edition of Bat Surveys: Good Practice Guidelines has recently been published by the Bat Conservation Trust, and this builds upon the guidance set out in the first edition and draws upon a range of new information. It is likely that this document will quickly become established as the new standard for bat survey work, and for this reason it is important that developers and others understand the implications for their projects. Some of the key points are summarised below, and further advice is available from BSG Ecology.
Over the last 18 months Dr Peter Shepherd has appeared at 3 public inquiries into wind farms, providing expert witness evidence in each case on the impact of the proposed schemes on local bat populations. These reviews concerned a proposed wind farm at Kelmarsh in Northamptonshire, which sat shortly after a nearby inquiry into a wind farm proposal at Watford Lodge. Both inquiries have now been determined and a number of interesting points arise from these decisions which Peter reviews in the attached paper.
Biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of disease in UK amphibian populations were a topic of discussion at the Herpetofauna Workers Meeting 2012.
This article presents an overview of the symptoms of, and research on, the two main diseases threatening our native amphibians: Ranavirus and Chytridiomycosis. It also outlines how anyone coming into contact with amphibians can employ some basic measures to help amphibian conservation.
There are standard techniques for the survey of many protected animal species in the UK, particularly for those that remain common and widespread at the national or regional level. These protocols are useful, but taking a formulaic approach to survey work doesn’t always address the question that needs answering. In certain circumstances the use of equipment such as motion-activated cameras and video recorders can significantly increase the value of a survey programme and allow a greater level of confidence in the interpretation of results at very little extra cost. Innovative use of technology can also help engagement with consultees and engender confidence in survey results.
BSG Ecology has been delivering ecological survey and assessment in support of wind farm and large single turbine applications for a considerable time. Over the past year, however, we have begun to field a considerable number of queries about small-scale turbines, typically to provide electricity for individual industrial units or farms. The requirement for our input often arises as a result of consultee concerns about potential impacts on bats.
Over the last two years we have been looking hard at everything we do to improve the way we carry out our business and how we provide the best ecology service to our clients. As a result we have instigated a number of positive changes at all levels of the business. As part of this important process of change and investment for the future we will from 19th March 2012 trade as BSG Ecology.