News & Views

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.
BSG Ecology is committed to the professional development of staff at all levels in the organisation. Our second management training day was delivered to our Senior Management Group (SMG) on 27 February 2020. The training was bespoke, and reflected feedback from a previous broader-based training day on leadership and management in mid-2019.
Climbing trees to inspect potential roost features for bats is an effective survey technique. It allows cavities to be examined and assessed, and for evidence of use by bats to be searched for. Given the legal protection afforded to bats and their roosts, this approach allows for a robust assessment of potential roost features, and helps to determine the scope of other follow up work (i.e. more survey or mitigation) that could be required.  BSG Ecology employs a team of ecologists who are both qualified and licenced to climb trees and to undertake surveys for bat roosts. 
Over the past six months all BSG Ecology’s Directors have attended a two-day course on Mental Health First Aid Training. The role of a Mental Health First Aider in the workplace is to act as a go to person for any staff member experiencing a mental health issue, and direct them towards the resources or professional help they need.
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, and the Director of our Welsh offices. 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 a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
BSG Ecology has recently made a substantial donation to South Wales based Celtic Wildflowers to help them in the next phase of their growth. Celtic Wildflowers was established in 2018 by Barry Stewart, a well-known and highly respected freelance ecologist, and his wife Sandra, who also runs a successful ecotourism company. They set up the business to address demand for locally sourced devil’s-bit scabious (the food plant of the protected marsh fritillary butterfly), in response to a series of habitat restoration projects which were failing to source sufficient quantities of plants of local provenance. 
For the past three years BSG Ecology’s Kate Rooney has been an invited to deliver a lecture to final year Oxford Brookes Biosciences students as part of their Ecological Consultancy module. During this year's talk, Kate outlined the role which ecological consultants play in development projects, and the skills and qualities which BSG Ecology look for in a graduate level recruit. The students then worked through a case study based on a project BSG had been involved with, and discussed the scope and specification of protected species surveys for the site along with potential mitigation solutions.
BSG Ecology Director Peter Shepherd was recently invited for a second time to address the European Criminal Law Association – this time on the subject of Protecting the Environment after Brexit. The nature of the subject matter obviously requires a degree of ‘crystal ball gazing,’ so the talk started with what we know; among a series of depressing statistics, the State of Nature Report 2019 highlighted declines in 41 % of UK species, identified that 15 % are threatened with extinction, that we have lost 133 species entirely since 1970 and that the rate of biodiversity loss in the UK has been greater than the global average. The report is one of many sources that identify how critical it is that we take action to reverse biodiversity declines.