Projects

Bird Surveys - Caithness

Bird Surveys - Caithness

Our team of ornithologists recently concluded 12 months of bird surveys at a proposed wind farm site in Caithness, Scotland.

During fieldwork a variety of breeding waders were encountered, as well as Twite and three pairs of Arctic Skua. It wasn’t all work though, and the team managed to find a variety of rare species during time between surveys, including Syke’s Warbler and American Wigeon amongst other species.

Our team of ornithologists cover all parts of the British Isles, and beyond. If you require support on you project, please contact Martyn Owen (martyn@biomeconsulting.com).

Shropshire Bat Surveys

2017 was busy year for our Shropshire bat ecologists!

Our team completed in excess of 50 bat surveys to inform planning applications, with surveys of many structures undertaken including a number of primary schools, hotels, factories, a public house, farm complexes, barns and house redevelopments. BiOME also completed static monitoring and transect surveys at a number of wind farm sites in Wales.

Our specialist team of tree climbing bat surveyors in Shropshire assisted developers with the surveys of trees to be impacted by developments in rural and urban locations as well as monitoring bat boxes erected as part of mitigation schemes.

During these surveys numerous bats were encountered and roosts identified, which resulted in the production and submission of over 20 European Protected Species bat mitigation licence applications.

We also continued to monitor a colony of Lesser Horseshoe Bats, first identified by our surveyors in 2016, which considerably expanded the known range of this species in Shropshire.

We look forward to another successful year in 2018 supporting clients in Shropshire, and beyond. If you require ecological support in Shropshire please contact Martyn Owen.

Common Pipistrelle droppings within a roof void

Habitats Regulations Assessment - Wales & England

In 1992 member states of the European Union (EU) adopted legislation designed to protect the most seriously threatened habitats and species across Europe. This legislation is referred to as the Habitats Directive and complements the Birds Directive. The basis of both these Directives was the creation of a network of protected sites, collectively called Natura 2000 sites (also referred to as ‘European sites’).

Under Article 6(3) and 6(4) of the Habitats Directive, any project / plan likely to have a significant impact upon Natura 2000 sites (either alone or in combination with other plans or projects) must be subject to Appropriate Assessment by a competent authority. The process for determining whether an Appropriate Assessment is required (screening), together with the Appropriate Assessment itself (where it is considered necessary following screening), is known as Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) and is set out in Regulation 48 of the Habitats Regulations.

Over the course of the last twelve months BiOME have been commissioned by clients to complete the required ecology work in relation to a number of proposed developments (harbour improvements, a leisure centre, road upgrade and single turbines) in close proximity to coastal Natura 2000 sites, in both England and Wales. 

To inform the HRA process, robust, comprehensive and repeatable bird surveys were required. These surveys were designed and completed by our in-house team of highly experienced ornithologists, producing a dataset upon which it was possible to fully and confidently assess the impacts of the proposed development, both alone and in-combination with other projects.

We look forward to completing the post-construction ornithological monitoring in relation to these projects in future years.

Wind Farm Post-Construction Monitoring

BiOME continues to expand both its client base and project portfolio in the post-construction monitoring sector, delivering projects at a number of new sites in Scotland and Wales during 2017, whilst continuing to deliver high quality services in relation to ongoing projects.

A variety of ecological impacts are possible following wind farm construction, including (but not limited to); direct loss/deterioration of habitats, indirect habitat loss (due to disturbance/displacement), mortality (from collisions) and barrier effects. Post-construction monitoring is often required to verify the magnitude and extent of the impacts predicted during the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process, and to monitor implemented mitigation to ensure that it is having the desired effect.

Completed survey and assessment work during 2017 included:

  • The monitoring of Golden Plover numbers following the implementation of habitat management measures to dissuade this species from the wind farm area during the autumn at a wind farm in Scotland. Surveys included walkover surveys, Vantage Point (VP) surveys (followed by Collision Risk Modelling (CRM)) and carcass searches (to validate the results of the CRM), along with the monitoring of habitats to ensure that the prescribed management occurred.
  • Monitoring of a Schedule 1 bird species at a wind farm in Wales using VP surveys and walkovers to enable the assessment of impacts in relation to potential collision risk and displacement of nesting birds.
  • The monitoring of breeding and wintering birds at a wind farm in Scotland, including Common Bird Census (CBC) walkover surveys (and territory mapping), VP surveys and the monitoring of Peregrines that nest in the vicinity of the wind farm. Followed by CRM, and an updated assessment of impacts.
  • Habitat (National Vegetation Classification), bat activity and breeding bird surveys (VP and Brown & Shepherd walkovers) at a wind farm in Wales.

Ecological Clerk of Works and Great Crested Newt mitigation work was also completed by our team of licenced surveyors.

Whilst a number of these projects commenced in 2017, others have been ongoing for at least three years. The completion and sharing of post-construction monitoring is vital to further our understanding of ecological impacts from wind developments enabling more robust assessment during the EIA process. BiOME is committed to contributing to this knowledge base wherever possible, sharing data with, for example, the Scottish Windfarm Bird Steering Group and preparing scientific papers.

European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria - Our work at a Scottish site in 2017 included a comprehenisve suite of surveys in relation to this species

Curlew  Numenius arquata  - A key consideration for many wind farms in mid-Wales

Curlew Numenius arquata - A key consideration for many wind farms in mid-Wales