News & Views

Under the heading of Achieving Sustainable Development, Paragraph 17 of the National Planning Policy Framework sets out twelve core land-use planning principles that underpin both plan-making and decision-taking. One of these is to ‘encourage the effective use of land by reusing land that has been previously developed (brownfield land), provided that it is not of high environmental value’. Understandably, ¹there is increasing pressure to develop brownfield sites. However, some of these are amongst our most important sites for wildlife, and in particular, invertebrates.
Since 2014 BSG Ecology has been using thermal imaging cameras in appropriate situations to determine the presence of bats in trees, bat boxes and other structures; and to identify flight lines and foraging behaviour to better inform the assessment of impacts on rare species of bat. We have been particularly interested in how this technique can assist us in the assessment and survey of potential tree roosts, which is always a challenging task.
Ecologist Rachel Taylor will present a talk to the Welsh Bat Conference at Stackpole, Pembrokeshire, on the subject of BSG Ecology’s Bat Migration Project (2012-2014).   Rachel’s talk is entitled “Bats on the Pembrokeshire Islands and an overview of BSG Ecology’s Bat Migration Project.”
This article explores some of the challenges of assessing the significance of impacts on noctule bat Nyctalus noctula from onshore wind farms in the UK. The article reviews discrepancies between sources with regard to the status of noctule in the UK, considers how differing conclusions relate to our own experience (from a sample of 52 sites), and questions whether the recent focus on this species in wind farm assessments is appropriate.
BSG Ecology has taken steps to ensure that we incorporate guidance from BS42020:2013, the Code of Practice for Planning and Development, within the delivery of our day-to-day work.   The responsibility for the successful delivery of the British Standard guidance lies with all parties involved with ecology in the planning system.
On 4 February 2015 BSG Ecologists Jim Fairclough and Hannah Bilston delivered a half day seminar on Protected Species¹ to The Parks Trust², the independent charity that owns and cares for many of the parks and green spaces in Milton Keynes.  This green space adds up to approximately 5,000 acres of river valleys, woodlands, lakesides, parks and landscaped areas alongside the main roads – about 25 percent of the new city area.
Using our thermal imaging camera, BSG Ecologist Jenny James recorded this footage of golden plover foraging within a wind farm in England. The clip, recorded in January 2015, shows the plovers using a cultivated arable field at night, close to the base of an operational wind turbine. The birds are approximately 25m from the turbine's base; several other turbines are present nearby. The lower sweep of the blades (clearly visible in the clip) is approximately 20m above ground level. From the footage, this golden plover flock does not appear to be affected by the nearby turbine.
In this article we consider the use of eDNA analysis of water samples to detect great crested newts, and discuss the results of some recent survey work.  Whilst we identify limitations that need to be considered, it is also recognised that the technique provides a useful additional method for detecting great crested newts, and we use it in appropriate circumstances at sites throughout the UK.  The method has been endorsed by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales.
BSG Ecology is committed to tackling complex ecological issues successfully for our clients. We recognise that experience, skill and knowledge within our team are important in producing these results. All of our ecologists are members of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), membership of which requires a minimum amount of continuous professional development to be completed each year. Regular investment in our team, through support of conference attendance and provision of access to in-house and external training, strengthens our skills set and provides an up to date and scientifically sound basis to our advice.
In 2014 we deployed bat detectors on two commercial ferries sailing routes through the southern North Sea. The two vessels were Flandria Seaways (DFDS Seaways) and the Pride of York (P&O Ferries), which sail from Felixstowe (UK) to Vlaardingen (Netherlands) and from Hull (UK) to Zeebrugge (Belgium) respectively. The aim of the study was to investigate the occurrence of bats over the North Sea, and to see if there were any clear patterns to records indicative of migration.