Getting net gain ready

As part of preparations for the introduction of the new Environment Bill, our team have been undertaking training courses on Biodiversity Net Gain.

Once the Environment Bill is passed, there will be a requirement for all developments to incorporate a minimum of 10% net gain in biodiversity (some LPA’s have different requirements), as determined by the Natural England Biodiversity Net Gain Metric. Current net gain calculations can be undertaken on the beta version of the metric, with the final version set to be released in the coming months. Click here to read more about Biodiversity Net Gain on CIEEM’s website.

Earlier this year, Helen completed CIEEM’s “Calculating and Using Biodiversity Units with Metric 2.0” training course  and has since run an in-house training session for the team about how to use the Metric. Ian and Rachel are hoping to complete this course once the final version of the Metric has been released as well as the metric for smaller developments. All of our team have completed the “Biodiversity Net Gain Through Development” CIEEM training course and are looking forward to putting their new skills into practice.

Local Planning Authorities across the UK are beginning to request net gain calculations along with ecology reports. Inspired Ecology have therefore undertaken several Biodiversity Net Gain calculations already, providing solutions for both large and small projects within a number of Local Planning Authorities.

In order to achieve the best outcomes for your development and for nature, it is best to consult ecologists within the early stages of development. The inclusion of net gain measures early in the design process (or even as early as the feasibility stage of a project) will help to reduce costs further down the line.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help to ensure Biodiversity Net Gain in your project.

Seal monitoring for the Boston Barrier

Throughout the summer, Inspired Ecology have been undertaking seal monitoring as part of the works to install the new Boston Barrier flood defences.

During our daily visits to site, one particular seal has been noted to be a regular visitor. Nicknamed Loki for his mischievous behaviour, the seal has been seen to use the tide to help him catch breakfast during our site visits.

In addition to the seal, we’ve seen a number of birds on site, including common sandpiper and kingfisher. The peregrines that breed on Boston Stump have also been seen during the surveys; Ian was lucky enough to see a parent passing food to their youngster on one occasion.

Piling works are taking a break for a little while now so our staff are also taking a break from site, however we look forward to getting back in action in a couple of months and hopefully seeing some more great wildlife.

It’s a well-deserved climb for Rachel!

We are honoured to be promoting one of our long-standing team members Rachel McNally to a full-time Ecologist as of June. Rachel is a truly valuable and hardworking member of the team and offers a wealth of ecology knowledge and experience. She is an absolute joy to have in the team and we are so pleased with the news… Congratulations Rachel!

The bat survey season is underway!

The nights are getting warmer and sunsets are getting later, which can only mean one thing – the bat survey season is underway! The team at Inspired Ecology have been out and about in Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire to conduct our first evening emergence surveys of the season, and it’s great to be back at it!

Experienced staff at Inspired Ecology Ltd. can conduct evening emergence and dawn re-entry surveys. We can also undertake extended remote Anabat detector surveys. Contact us today to discuss your project and its bat survey requirements.

Welcoming Helen to the team

Inspired Ecology are thrilled to be welcoming a new Principal Ecologist, Helen Archer, to the team! Helen has ten years’ experience working as an ecologist within large, multi-disciplinary environmental consultancies. She has a Bachelors degree in Environmental Conservation and Countryside Management and holds a Natural England Bat Survey Licence. You can read more about Helen on her profile.

We’re so pleased that Helen has decided to join us here at Inspired Ecology, and are excited to work with her as we enter the summer survey season. If you think that your project may require ecological surveys this summer, then contact us now for more information and a quote!

COVID-19 working practices update

We would like to reassure you that we are taking measures to protect our clients, staff and their families from COVID-19. In addition to government guidelines, we have updated our working practices to follow the advice from the leading industry body for our profession, the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM). On 29th June 2020, CIEEM published Version 3 of their Guidance on Ecological Survey and Assessment in the UK During the COVID-19 Outbreak (available here).

So far this season, Inspired Ecology has been able to undertake all of the surveys for which we have been commissioned. This has been made possible by implementing relevant safety precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, thus protecting our staff and others. Ecologists maintain appropriate social distancing during site visits and staff now travel to survey sites in separate vehicles, in order to avoid unnecessary close contact. In some instances, it is also necessary for staff to wear face masks and gloves during site visits. We are still reviewing survey appointments on a case-by-case basis, however it is possible for surveys to go ahead provided that our staff are able to remain safe by following these precautionary measures.

We are mindful that this is an ever-changing situation and are keeping a close watch on both government and CIEEM advice, and will keep this page updated with our response. We ask that you get in touch as soon as possible to discuss your survey requirements so that we can prepare to undertake survey work with appropriate safety measures in place.

We hope that all of our clients remain safe and well during this difficult time

This article was last updated on 14th August 2020.

West Sussex bat trapping

Over the summer, the Inspired Ecology team travelled down to West Sussex to assist AECOM with bat trapping surveys. Between July and September, surveys were conducted at three different sites, with one at each site during each month.


Harp traps, so called because they look remarkably similar to a harp when set up, were the most successful at catching bats, though mist nets also managed to catch a small number of bats. Once caught, the team identified the species, took wing measurements and weighed the bats, before releasing them again.


Numerous different species were recorded by the team, including common pipistrelle, soprano pipistrelle, brown long-eared bat, Natterer’s bat, whiskered bat and noctule. The most exciting catch of the summer was reserved for Bechstein’s bat however. This species is one of the UK’s rarest bats and is found in just a small number of places in the south of England and Wales, making it a very important and special find for the project and for UK bat conservation!

’tis the season…

…for bat hibernation checks!

The bat activity survey season may be finished for the year, but the team at Scarborough Nixon Associates Ltd will be carrying out hibernation surveys for bats throughout December, January and February.

Sites to be surveyed include Tattershall Carrs, a Woodland Trust site, recently seen on BBC Countryfile! Over the last couple of years, Ian Nixon has led a project to transform some of the Stanton shelters and remaining wartime structures within the woodland to provide winter roosting features for bats. The features include bat boxes and the specially designed Lincolnshire Bat Brick. These features have now been in place for 18 months, and hibernation surveys in winter 2015/2016 showed that the structures were being used by small numbers of bats, including brown long-eared and Natterer’s. This winter, further hibernation surveys will take place to monitor the population of hibernating bats within the woodland, and all data will be submitted to Bat Conservation Trust as part of the National Bat Monitoring Programme.

The photo’s show Ian with the Countryfile team filming in the bunkers.

Water vole update

In January 2016, a class licence (CL31) was introduced to “intentionally damage or destroy water vole burrows and to disturb by displacing water voles occupying burrows before carrying out lawful development works”. Scarborough Nixon Associates Ltd are pleased to announce that they have completed the licensing process with Natural England and are registered to use the class licence to carry out water vole displacement work.

Scarborough Nixon Associates Ltd offer water vole surveys both as part of our general walkover surveys and ecological assessments and also as focused species specific surveys, for a range of clients including private developers, internal drainage boards and The Environment Agency. All our survey work and water vole displacement work is undertaken by experienced ecologists in accordance with the latest industry guidelines, published in The Water Vole Mitigation Handbook (Dean et al. 2016).