Awards 2021 Winner’s Spotlight: Consultancy of the Year – Medium

JBA Consulting

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JBA Consulting is a multi-disciplinary consultancy employing 35 ecologists/ environmental managers. The company aim to deliver high quality, sustainable projects that deliver multiple benefits for the environment, people and the economy.

An example of such projects is the Sands of Life (for Natural Resources Wales). This LIFE project involves the monitoring of habitats and species as part of a major dune restoration scheme across Wales. JBA established a botanical baseline at eight dune sites before restoration works were conducted using a series of nested plots, in both intervention areas and control sites, within which all vascular plants, bryophytes, lichens and algae were recorded. In addition, other species including Sand Lizard and Great Crested Newt were also surveyed to ensure interventions could be moved away from sensitive locations. Detailed invertebrate baseline surveys were also undertaken using a JBA-devised methodology of using pitfall traps situated in linear arrangements across slacks; active, timed searches on areas of open sand; and structured sweepnet surveys. The outcomes of the surveys have been used to identify targeted interventions to improve biodiversity on a site-by-site basis.

Growing Goss is a project whereby the team produced an ecological restoration plan for Goss Moor, an area of unenclosed upland in an area of flat relief in the headwaters of the River Fal in Cornwall. Mining has had a dramatic impact on the hydrology, ecology and landscape present today. Abandonment of the extractive industries over recent years has led to the development of a series of ecologically interesting wetland habitats that are now designated as a SAC, SSSI and NNR. Natural England had funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to enhance the resilience and capability of Goss Moor to deliver important ecosystem services for Cornwall’s communities, including enhanced biodiversity, clean water, floodprevention, carbon storage alongside education and health and wellbeing opportunities. The restoration plan looks to re-naturalise the headwaters of the River Fal where historic artificial drains and canalised channels have damaged wetland habitats. The scheme will restore hydrological conditions and improve the condition of SAC and SSSI features.

The difficult conditions of 2020 provided new challenges for the team in the way it shares knowledge and good practice. The company moved its training provision online allowing staff to deliver a number of courses, including bespoke training on fluvial geomorphology and river restoration, working with natural processes, conservation and biodiversity (to NRW) and Biodiversity Net Gain (to the Environment Agency). The team ecologists have links with numerous academic institutions which facilitates knowledge sharing and promoting awareness of the profession.

JBA has a strong commitment to supporting the professional development of all staff.  In 2020 company-wide training was provided on the UK Habitat Classification survey method, with staff also attending courses on HRA, Biodiversity Net Gain and the Defra Metric 2.0. In addition to the generous training budget, JBA also provides support for staff to attend lunchtime
training sessions at work. JBA ecologists have run a very successful programme of internal lunchtime talks, delivered by specialists within JBA. Over 2020, improving standards in botanical survey has been a key theme, with numerous sessions provided by in-house expert botanists on identifying difficult species/groups and recording of Annex I habitats.

Over the last week, we have been posting further information on each of the 2021 CIEEM Awards Winners over on our blog. Further details on each project/individual is set out in our 2021 CIEEM Awards Booklet.