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.

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.

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!

Newt surveys

The sun is shining, the weather is getting warmer and Scarborough Nixon Associates Ltd’s licenced surveyors have started the seasons great crested newt evening surveys.

Great crested newt surveys are undertaken in spring when the animals are in their aquatic habitat. Surveys to establish presence/absence must be undertaken between March and June, therefore forward planning is essential to prevent costly delays. Scarborough Nixon Associates Ltd undertake pond and water body assessments as part of any ecological appraisal and can advise on the likely requirement for great crested newt surveys.

Contact us today to discuss your project.

’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).

Hartsholme Bats

Bat surveys were carried out along a length of footpath at Hartsholme Country Park on behalf of Lincoln City Council. A transect survey showed that six different species of bat are commuting and foraging around the footpath and the adjacent areas of wet woodland and open water. The species recorded on site were common pipistrelle, soprano pipistrelle, brown long-eared, Daubenton’s, barbastelle and noctule.

Botanical surveys were also carried out, yielding many notable woodland species including broad buckler-fern, male-fern, lady-fern, common dog-violet, common figwort, enchanter’s nightshade, greater stitchwort, lesser stitchwort, skullcap, three-nerved sandwort, wild strawberry and wood false-brome.