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Www.adas.co.uk So You Think You Care About The Environment? Peter Hancocks Senior Ecologist.

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Presentation on theme: "Www.adas.co.uk So You Think You Care About The Environment? Peter Hancocks Senior Ecologist."— Presentation transcript:

1 So You Think You Care About The Environment? Peter Hancocks Senior Ecologist

2 So You Think You Care About The Environment? Of course you do!

3 So You Think You Care About The Environment? I specialise in wildlife surveys and mitigation strategies and manage all the ecology work ADAS carries out for SSE. I also work for other DNO’s, including WPD and UKPN

4 A brief look at some of the key environmental issues (with an emphasis on protected species) that affect vegetation management and an exploration of a range of potential solutions. So You Think You Care About The Environment?

5 Vegetation Management and Ecology Legislation Specific protected species incl. survey timings and methods Solutions Shelf-life of reports

6 Why Do We Need to Consider Ecological Issues? Legislation Personal and Company Accountability Customer Expectations Profile/Reputation Future Business

7 Legislation The potential presence of protected sites or protected species on a site, should be considered Prosecutions can result Not everyone understands the law!

8 Legislation / Duties Pests Act 1954 Forestry Act 1967 (Felling Licence) Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended ) Town & Country Planning Act 1990 (TPOs) Planning (Listed Building & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 Protection of Badgers Act 1992 Hedgerows Regulations 1997 CROW Act 2000 Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (sites) Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 Biodiversity Action Plan Habitats and Species

9 ‘The Birds and the Bees’ ….and the Trees…. Generally, with the exception of hedges, no habitats are protected per-se Many are BAP habitats Some sites are protected

10 Protected Sites

11 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI’s) – for habitats and species Special Areas of Conservation (SAC’s) – for habitats and species Special Protection Areas (SPA’s) – for birds SINC’s/LWS’s

12 Protected Sites Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI’s) – for habitats and species - NB linear SSSI’s in the New Forest – they’re under transmission lines!

13 Protected Sites MAGIC Nature on the Map ngland.org.uk/ ngland.org.uk/ CCW maps/protected-sites-map.aspx maps/protected-sites-map.aspx SNH scotlands-nature/protected-areas/ scotlands-nature/protected-areas/ NIEA age/default.aspx age/default.aspx

14 Protected Sites Prepare Method Statement and seek assent or agreement from the relevant statutory authority

15 ‘The Birds and the Bees’! Most wildlife species are protected

16 ‘The Birds and the Bees’! Most wildlife species are protected Some are rare or uncommon

17 ‘The Birds and the Bees’! Most wildlife species are protected Some are rare or uncommon Others are common or even abundant in at least some places

18 Finding them….. Landowner Information – unreliable Contractor Surveys/Walkovers/Look-sees EcoCheck TM Surveys – overview of the site and issues Protected Species Surveys – specialist surveys for identified species. (Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey and Protected Species Assessment – for submission with a Planning Application)

19 Species and Solutions

20 Will consider in order of frequency of issues

21 Birds

22 Birds nest in scrub, hedges, trees, ruderal vegetation, short crops, bare ground – anywhere…

23 Birds All bird nests are protected whilst they are occupied or being built

24 Birds All bird nests are protected whilst they are occupied or being built – even ‘pest species’

25 Birds All bird nests are protected whilst they are occupied or being built – even ‘pest species’. Some birds, such as Barn Owl, Peregrine, Kingfisher & Cetti’s Warbler, are specially protected whilst they are nesting (Schedule 1).

26 Nesting Birds – what to do Schedule 1 species – get out of there!

27 Nesting Birds – what to do Schedule 1 species – get out of there! Others:- Prevent nesting Inspect, keep working but don’t destroy the nest, however best to avoid the immediate area, seek advice, wait until young have fledged Prevent birds from nesting by netting area before the main bird nesting season begins

28 Very common in many parts of the UK Badgers

29 It is an offence to disturb Badgers whilst occupying a sett, or damage or block a Badger sett Badgers

30 Disturbance licenses used to be required Badgers

31 …but Badgers are very tolerant of disturbance Badgers

32 …but Badgers are very tolerant of disturbance Badgers

33 In England, disturbance licenses now rarely required due to recent NE guidelines Badgers

34 Identify and document Badgers – what to do

35 Cart away from sett Badgers – what to do

36 Cart away from sett Chip away from sett Badgers

37 Cart away from sett Chip away from sett (both avoid disturbance and blocking) Badgers

38 Leave tidy Badgers

39 Seek advice if in any doubt Badgers

40 Badgers – summary Survey and document Modify works to avoid sett damage or Badger disturbance If sett damage likely - undertake works under licence (1 July – 30 Nov)

41 Hazel Dormouse Generally rare

42 Hazel Dormouse Widespread

43 Hazel Dormouse Rare, but highly protected …but thin on the ground

44 Hazel Dormouse Dormice and their nests are specially protected (European Protected Species)

45 Dormouse Surveying Only two affective methods: Searching for Hazel nut shells

46 Dormouse Surveying Only two affective methods: Searching for Hazel nut shells Nest Tubes – preferred method

47 Dormice – what to do Assessment/Survey

48 Dormice – what to do Assessment/Survey Work under Method Statement – timing critical – winter best – not Jun to mid-Aug

49 Dormice – what to do Assessment/Survey Undertake works under licence Justification for works (Reasoned Statement of Application) Onerous conditions (maintenance of habitat) Work under supervision

50 Bats UK species of bat Widespread and generally increasing in numbers

51 Where do you find bats? Trees (Buildings, other structures such as bridges, culverts and wells, and caves)

52 Bats Bats and their roost sits are specially protected (European Protected Species)

53 Bats – what to do Survey (licensed worker)

54 Bats – what to do Survey (licensed worker) Work under Method Statement – timing critical – avoid late- spring to late-summer STOP WORK if found

55 Bats – what to do Survey (licensed worker) Work under Method Statement – timing critical – avoid late- spring to late-summer Undertake works under licence Justification for works – must be no reasonable alternative (Reasoned Statement of Application) Strict terms, timing, provision of alternative roost(s). Work under supervision

56 Reptiles All snakes and lizards are protected from ‘intentional’ harm or destruction

57 Be aware Allow to escape Survey & remove – only if necessary Reptiles – what to do

58 Great Crested Newts GCNs and their breeding and sheltering habitats are specially protected (European Protected Species)

59 Assess the situation Avoid impact Work under Method Statement Work under licence Great Crested Newts – what to do

60 Otters Otters and their holts are specially protected (European Protected Species)

61 Otters - what to do Be aware Survey Work under Method Statement Undertake works under licence

62 Water Voles Water Voles are fully protected. It is illegal to: intentionally or recklessly, injure or take a Water Vole damage or destroy or obstruct access to any structure or place which Water Voles use for shelter or protection Disturb Water Voles while they are using such a place

63 Water Voles - what to do Be aware Survey Modify works to avoid risk of breach of legislation Work under Method Statement There is no clear ground for a licence to be granted for commercial operations (it is likely that works can proceed with agreement from NE/EA) - Justification for works Availability of suitable alternative habitat Work under supervision Reliance on the legal defence ‘the incidental result of a lawful operation that could not be reasonably avoided’ should not be relied upon.

64 Survey Periods Breeding birds – nesting season usually March to August inc. Badgers – November to May is best Bats – April to September for activity Dormice – March to October Reptiles – April, May and September are best Great Crested Newts – adults in ponds from mid- March to mid-June, peak mid April to mid-May Otters – November to May is best Water Voles – April and May are best

65 Protected Species Summary Should conduct site inspection – cannot rely on word-of-mouth, record office data, internet or published info., or site designations

66 Protected Species Summary Should conduct site inspection – cannot rely on word-of-mouth, record office data, internet or published info., or site designations If required, survey as soon as possible

67 Protected Species Summary Should conduct site inspection – cannot rely on word-of-mouth, record office data, internet or published info., or site designations If required, survey as soon as possible Read reports fully, understand the implications and act on the recommendations

68 Protected Species Summary Should conduct site inspection – cannot rely on word-of-mouth, record office data, internet or published info., or site designations If required, survey as soon as possible Read reports fully, understand the implications and act on the recommendations Seek environmental training

69 Shelf-life of Ecology Reports Valid on day surveyed c.f. an MOT certificate

70 Shelf-life or Reports Valid on day surveyed c.f. an MOT certificate Shelf-life depends on species and findings No Badgers – could easily move in No Dormice – unlikely to move in Water Voles present – could disappear

71 In conclusion Plan ahead – examine site as early as possible – if required request surveys as soon as possible Read reports and recommendations and act on them Avoid/minimise the impact Avoid having to translocate Timing is everything! Seek training

72 QUESTIONS


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