Awards 2020 Winner’s Spotlight: Medium Consultancy of the Year
This award was sponsored by
BSG Ecology’s team of 37 ecologists has continued to deliver high quality projects for a range of clients, ranging from single site developments to projects spanning several European countries.
This included a study on behalf of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) which ensured the routes of 150 proposed power lines were informed by a high level of ecological information.
Biodiversity net gain (BNG) has been a feature of the consultancy’s work for several years. This includes facilitating biodiversity net gain solutions integral to achieving planning consent for the urban expansion of Oxford (Oxford North), a project predicted to deliver £150M / annum into the local economy, and for Cherry Hinton, Cambridgeshire. The former will deliver 12 hectares of species-rich habitats, including a 3 hectare extension of a local SINC managed by a community group, benefiting nature and people’s connection with nature. The latter will facilitate the extension of Fulbourn Fen SSSI alongside 1,200 new homes.
For the Walthamstow Wetlands project BSG led baseline surveys, advised on habitat creation, and demonstrated, through ornithological monitoring, that impacts on SPA birds of the operational site had been effectively mitigated through the design process. The Wetlands have now become a hub for environmental education and connection with nature, and are stimulating the local economy alongside effectively conserving wetland birds. The project received a Landscape Institute award in 2019 in recognition of cultural, social, economic and learning benefits to the local community.
Sharing learning and good practice is very important to the BSG team. They have delivered a series of collaborative workshops with planning consultancies, legal practices and DEFRA to explain the concept of BNG to audiences including local planning authorities, developers and land owners. Senior staff have addressed the Minerals Products Association and RTPI conferences (nationally and regionally), and privately-organised conventions of national house builders to help industry professionals understand the commercial realities and opportunities associated with biodiversity net gain.
Supporting and developing staff is a core activity and throughout the year they have provided over 50 days of health, safety and wellbeing training to technical staff. Other areas of training delivery include the company graduate training programme aimed at ensuring common standards in core consultancy skills in all new recruits. Led by experienced internal staff, this included training on extended Phase 1 survey, great crested newt, badger, bat and reptile survey, mitigation and licensing), legislation and policy, EcIA, effective communication and business development, plus 24 days of externally-sourced technical ecological training to address specific staff development objectives.
Other initiatives included company-wide internally-delivered biodiversity net gain training and a programme of internal (lunchtime) CPD in all offices. The company actively promotes CIEEM membership and chartership to staff, supporting them on their membership journey. It also provides pro bono advice and support to organisations such as the local Wildlife Trust as well as to graduates seeking to enter the profession.
Over the next few weeks, we will be posting further information on each of the 2020 CIEEM Awards Winners over on our blog. A full recording of the event is now available to watch online. Further details on each project/individual is set out in our 2020 CIEEM Awards Booklet.