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Swanpool and housing development A Howie

Developments and Ecology

What is an ecologist and why are they important for developments?

Recently The Wildlife Trust‘s released a document about how housing developments can work for both people and wildlife. It details the benefits developments can gain from planting more trees, creating community green spaces and restoring/creating habitats and ecosystems. It emphasises the need for ecologists and developers to work together – not against each other. This echoes CEC’s sentiments exactly.

CEC has a team of six ecologists.  Four of our ecologists are ‘general ecologists’, meaning that they can carry out a wide range of ecology work, including Preliminary Ecological Appraisals/Phase 1 Habitat surveys and species surveys.

We also have two dedicated bat ecologists. Bat ecologist means just that – an ecologist who specialises in studying bats….although this can include nesting birds too.

A consultant ecologist is someone who has the capabilities, experience and often legal requirement of a licence, to carry out surveys for both flora and fauna within the environment, as well as analysing these results, and providing advice either for mitigating impacts and/or how to manage land to enhance its value for wildlife. The role of ecologist includes recording data, undertaking research, identifying impacts and preparing reports including recommendations, mitigation and advice.

Ecologists will determine what environmental impacts may occur due to certain developments and projects – such as a new housing scheme – and this not only ensures that legal requirements are met, it also enables a plan to protect habitats and species both before, during and after development works are undertaken and enhance biodiversity rather than destroy it. This input also allows planning officers to determine a decision.

Ben Wyatt is one of CEC’s Ecologists and undertakes a wide range of surveys including Preliminary Ecological Appraisals, reptile surveys, bird, badger, dormouse and bat activity surveys. He has a wide range of experience on all types of projects such as road schemes and housing developments.

Emma Barrow, CEC’s Business and Marketing Manager, asked Ben a few questions about his work;

Ben, what would you say is your favourite bit about the job?

“The wide range of sites that I get to visit makes the job really varied and interesting interesting. Travelling throughout Cornwall and having the chance to survey an extensive number of habitats and species in some really special places. “

And your least favourite bit…?

“I am tempted to say being office bound, but in reality the balance between site work and office work is really good and during the depths of winter during periods of strong winds and heavy rain it can be a bit of a treat to be inside writing reports.”

What has been the most enjoyable/memorable project you have worked on?

Hallwood, Pelynt has been a particularly memorable project. The wide range of surveys which were undertaken at the site was really interesting and gave a good insight into the species, habitats and ecology of the site. The way the site is nestled in the valley also gives a feeling of remoteness with some great vistas. Another memorable site which had a similar feeling of remoteness was working on Bodmin Moor in freezing winds and rain through the winter months, memorable for very different reasons!”

Why do you think ecology is important?

“It is very important to understand the ecology of the sites which we work on as best we can so that we can work together with developers to provide effective mitigation solutions to reduce the impacts to our local wildlife. It also enables the developer to build a scheme which benefits not just the environment, but people too – green spaces are proven to provide health benefits, plus potentially increase the profitability of the development overall.”  

CEC encourages all developers, planning agents and architects to read through it – it’s a simple, easily  to read document and our ecology team and landscape architects would be delighted to talk through options and ideas with you for your next development.

Download the document here – Homes_for_People_and_Wildlife

Please do not hesitate to contact us on 01872 245510 or complete our contact form.

 

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