Awards 2020 Winner’s Spotlight: Small Consultancy of the Year

Baker Consultants Ltd

This award was sponsored by 

Baker Consultants Ltd’s team of 9 ecologists and environmental managers works with a wide client base ranging from charitable organisations and local authorities, to large infrastructure and housing developers. At any one time the team has over 250 active projects. Each project is approached with the same robust scientific rigour and determination to secure outcomes that serve the clients’ needs as well as furthering nature conservation and biodiversity enhancement.

Key projects include Brightwell Lakes, a development of up to 2000 homes in Suffolk close to the A12. This project demonstrated the team’s ability to carry out effective negotiation with stakeholders to allow the development of 2000 homes and the creation of a large recreational mitigation package for public access to nature whilst preserving a sensitive wildlife site. The project won the 2019 Planning Award for placemaking (500 homes or more).

Dearne Valley ‘On the Verge’ was a very different type of project. This was a public sector project, for which the team delivered botanical surveys, effective public engagement and training to assist in the protection and enhancement of roadside verges. Baker Consultants Ltd’s aim, through training volunteers, was to deliver outcomes that would have a long legacy beyond the life of the commission.

The company has also been involved in the high profile and innovative Thames Basin Heaths project. The quality of the mitigation proposed by the team, including over-delivery of onsite SANGs, creation of a nature reserve and restoration of part of the SPA, led to a landmark planning decision for a residential development within 400m of the boundary.

In addition to delivering projects on behalf of their clients, Baker Consultants puts considerable resources into research and development and to actively raising standards within the ecology profession. Team members are encouraged to develop specialisms in line with their interests and the business needs. This includes supporting staff to pursue part-time further education, research, exploring the introduction of new technologies and processes including drones, remote cameras, thermal imaging and new data analysis techniques. Their approach to managing the team and encouraging their professional development enables them to deliver the highest quality service to their clients.

The team are committed teachers and trainers, working both within the company and externally. They regularly speak at industry conferences, offer training to clients, and actively disseminate their research, including publishing papers in InPractice and scientific journals. Senior staff deliver courses to other professionals and volunteers on bioacoustics, environmental law (via UKELA) and GCN survey and mitigation. Indeed the company’s development of the use of bioacoustics for bats, cetaceans and now bird species is undoubtedly influencing how the industry collects and analyses data.

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.