16 Jun 2022 Promotion of the Profession: Managing Wildlife in the Historic Environment
BSG Ecology were delighted to be invited to provide two lectures as part of the three-day course on Managing Wildlife in the Historic Environment at West Dean College, Sussex. Attendees included those actively engaged in the conservation and management of historic buildings and sites, including architects, engineers, contractors and site managers. Our inputs involved delivering the opening seminar, which provided an introduction to caring for the ecological significance of heritage buildings, and a second talk, providing an overview of species and habitats likely to be encountered when working on heritage buildings. Our input was led by Dr Peter Shepherd, supported by Rachel Potter and Judith Giles.
This opening talk not only touched on legal compliance as a driver for considering ecology when undertaking building conservation works, but also invited attendees to view historic properties through the lens of ecology. Where a site manager may see a roof in need of repair, an ecologist may be looking at a building with features important for use by bats or nesting swifts. This initial lecture also covered seasonal constraints to survey and works and discussed the potential for conflicts between routine maintenance and projects and the risks associated with inadvertently committing an offence.
The second lecture concerned the importance of understanding the ecological assets on your site and how to reach a suitable level of understanding to inform your planning and regular activities. Advice was also given on how to get the most out of your ecologist – what information to give them and what questions to ask before working through some examples on routine maintenance operations and mitigation options for protected species.
The course was organised and led by Deborah Evans (Director of DE Landscape and Heritage Ltd), with other sessions led by current and former senior level heritage professionals at Natural England, English Heritage, Historic England and Forestry England. Further ecological input was provided by Hampshire Bat Group.
Course leader Deborah Evans said:
‘Dr Peter Shepherd delivered two highly informative and engaging presentations. While he made the legal responsibilities for managing wildlife within heritage sites clear, his advice was pragmatic reflecting long experience in helping to deliver complex multi-disciplinary projects. He stressed the importance of team work, and clear communication between the different parties, to avoid timely and costly delays in project work arising from poor project planning or dependence on incomplete or out of date site data’.
Further information about our experience in the built heritage and historic landscape sector can be found here: Heritage Capability
If you would like to discuss ecology at your historic site please contact one of our offices.