It’s been another busy summer so far for our ecologists. We added another face to the team in April when Laura Thomas joined as our new Graduate Ecological Consultant. Laura joined us from the Bat Conservation Trust and has been thrown in at the deep end with some of our larger reptile and bat survey projects.
We were pleased to see our Senior Ecologist Morgan Taylor nominated as a finalist for the UK Green Building Council’s Rising Star Award at Ecobuild in March. Whilst there we also took the opportunity to speak at the UKGBC stall about how we can measure the benefits of green infrastructure, and why this matters. Other speaking opportunities have included the CIRIA Monitoring Biodiversity seminar and Green Sky Thinking week, where we discussed the value of natural capital for our health and wellbeing. We are now running CPD sessions on Green Infrastructure and Ecology Surveys and Planning. To book one of these for your team please contact Morgan Taylor.
We have worked on a wide range of projects in 2016, from skyscrapers to ancient woodlands. Our team have travelled from Cornwall to Coventry, and everywhere in between. We were particularly excited to begin monitoring the success of living roofs on the first phase of the Elephant and Castle regeneration with Lend Lease. We have been collecting data on what birds, bats and invertebrates use these diverse rooftop habitats, and will be able to measure how these enclaves of urban biodiversity change with time over the next 5 years.
Industry changes this year have included updated Ecological Impact Assessment guidance and the publication of new Bat Survey Guidelines by the Bat Conservation Trust; our senior consultant reviewed these in a RICS Land Journal article: Guidelines for bat surveys, RICS Land Journal.
Our surveyors have been busy in Berkshire where over 150 slow worms have been relocated from a surprisingly small town centre site to their new homes in purpose built hibernacula on the enhanced receptor site. Badgers, dormice, bats and great crested newts have been keeping the rest of the team busy.
Whilst we have been undertaking the usual range of protected species surveys we have had the opportunity to encounter some more unusual flora and fauna, including the schedule 8 protected plant species Jersey cudweed on the Isle of Dogs. We’ve also been studying peregrine falcons in Kent, rare orchids in Surrey and beetles in Southwark.
We’ve been pleased to see that people’s attitudes towards protecting and enhancing our wildlife are slowly changing for the better, with the Greengage ecologists beating the drum for ecology’s place in climate change mitigation. Interaction with nature is crucial for our health and wellbeing, and healthy ecosystems are crucial for the provision of valuable ecosystem services such as pollination or flood risk reduction. We will continue working with our clients to ensure that nature, and the associated value, can be protected and improved, whilst helping the design and planning process, so everyone is a winner. Looking forward to the rest of this non-stop summer and perhaps we’ll get to take a rest in the autumn!