At ERAP (Consultant Ecologists) Ltd we like to do our bit with local conservation groups.
On Monday our licensed surveyors Victoria Burrows and Marie Pickering led a great crested newt training event with volunteers at Dobcroft Nature Reserve in Ingol, Preston.
We had an enjoyable time and managed to show the volunteers both adult gcn and larvae. The reserve is teaming with wildlife and is a little haven for biodiversity and the community.
We have assisted the INTACT charity with achieving funding and the update of a management plan and we will be involved as the reserve progresses.
As part of our commitment to keeping up to date with new wildlife legislation, protocol, guidance, initiatives and best practice the ERAP (Consultant Ecologists) Ltd team of ecologists regularly attend webinars, short courses and conferences. Our ecologists have recently attended courses entitled ‘Advance Course in Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA)’ and ‘Otter Ecology and Surveys’.
We’re due to attend a course on ‘Calculating and Using Biodiversity Units’ and also the annual CIEEM conference which is entitled ‘Nature of Buildings: Designing Effective Mitigation and Enhancement’ in Spring 2018.
As well as being enjoyable and a good opportunity to catch up with peers and contacts, these courses contribute to ensuring our team is fully up to speed with developments in our profession and also adds to our continuing professional development (CPD) record and targets.
In June 2016, ERAP Ltd’s Principal Ecologist, Victoria Burrows, became a Registered Consultant able to use the new Natural England Great Crested Newt Low Impact Class Licence (GCN LICL).
To achieve Registered Consultant status Victoria had to demonstrate to Natural England that she had the relevant qualifications, experience and understanding of great crested newt ecology and relevant mitigation projects. Victoria then attended a two day workshop / training course followed by an assessment.
The GCN LICL has been formulated by Natural England to provide a more streamlined, faster and less onerous approach to mitigation licensing in situations considered to be of low impact.
The licence overview states “This Class Licence gives ecological consultants, who are registered with Natural England to use this licence, the authority to undertake or to supervise certain activities which infringe the protection afforded to great crested newts (Triturus cristatus) at sites registered under it. Specifically, the licence permits great crested newts to be disturbed, to be caught and relocated to a safe place, and allows small areas of terrestrial habitat, used by great crested newts as a resting place, to be damaged or destroyed. It additionally permits temporary impacts in ditches, but not other aquatic habitats, for works on linear schemes.”
Examples when this licence may be applicable comprise temporary impacts, or negligible permanent impacts, affecting terrestrial habitats such as construction or installation of pipeline routes; boreholes and archaeological type works; installation of road signs and gantries, routine maintenance type works and small scale permanent habitat destruction.
The GCN LICL will only be applicable to certain projects. However, with our client’s interests as a priority, the ability to apply the GCN LICL route will always be considered to minimise any potential delays and constraints to ensure a positive outcome for both wildlife and our clients.
Brian, Amy, Chris and Carol attended the CIEEM course entitled ‘Barn Owl: Surveying and Reporting’ in May. The course entailed examining known Barn Owl roosting and nest sites. Assessing the value of different habitats for their value as habitats for hunting Barn Owl and the process to be applied when mitigation for Barn Owl is required. All reported the course to be very informative and they are looking forward to the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained.