News & Views

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.
A decision by the Secretary of State (SoS) on a public inquiry into residential development at land south of Wallisdown Road, Poole was published on 28th February (PINS Ref: APP/Q1255/V/10/2138124). This was a key case called in by the SoS as it involved residential and associated development within 400m of Talbot Heath, which is part of the Dorset Heaths SPA. Understandably Natural England and the RSPB had maintained an objection to the scheme throughout the planning process as this represented a significant departure from their published guidance on development near heathland sites. The decision to grant planning permission by Borough of Poole Council has been overturned by this decision.
BSG Ecology opens a new office in Swansea, South Wales on 1 March 2012.  This will be led by Owain Gabb, Principal Ecologist, who has moved to Wales after two years in our Oxford office.
Internationally designated sites such as Special Protection Areas (SPAs), Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Ramsar Sites can have ramifications for development and other activities a long way beyond their immediate boundaries. Where these sites might be affected, impact assessment and decision making is sometimes highly precautionary, meaning that activities many miles removed from these sites can and do come under the closest scrutiny.
An often forgotten part of delivering the aims of a conservation project or a conservation site is telling the wider-world about what’s going on.  Getting the interpretation right is essential in the promotion of an organisation’s commitment to biodiversity, and can help to raise that organisation’s environmental profile.
Baker Shepherd Gillespie (BSG) recently provided advice for a lottery-funded project to preserve a blast furnace in the Royal Forest of Dean, an area renowned for its industrial heritage.
Proposals to significantly change the planning and regulatory systems are currently under consideration; however, any new approach in respect of ecology is unlikely to be resolved quickly.
Dr Peter Shepherd (BSG Partner) was asked to give evidence on behalf of the appellant as the impact on bats was a main issue at this public inquiry. As part of our on-going analysis of wind farm appeal decisions, a review of the Cheverton Down Wind Farm inquiry is presented in an article, written by Dr Shepherd, which includes comments and observations on the appeal decision (issued on 30 August 2011).
Previously green roof designers have had to rely heavily on European or North American technical guidance when devising the structure and specification of green roofs. Although a wealth of information is available from outside the UK, none relates directly to recognised British Standards. The recently published Green Roof Code is a UK-specific document which fills this gap and provides a best practice guide. It will provide a useful reference document for all those involved in the design and installation of green roofs.
The two part presentation can been viewed here: Part 1 & Part 2 BSG was once again present at our stand at the RenewableUK conference this year in Manchester. Dr Peter Shepherd presented a paper to the conference session on ecological evidence titled “A Review of Ecological Issues at Wind Farm Public Inquiries”.