Bristol has been awarded European Green Capital for 2015, and has launched its programme to celebrate this. Features range from recycling initiatives to sustainable architecture and biodiversity. There are a whole range of events that are open to members of the public to get involved. This includes a range of biodiversity enhancements, including floating harbours, details on birdfeeders and lichens and plant collections.
The National Planning Policy Framework requires all schemes to show an ecological enhancement. This can sometimes cause problems when designing masterplans especially if layouts have been fixed before ecological input is sought. It can be very costly to incorporate large areas of green space within fixed layouts if consideration to biodiversity has not been given at the design stage. Early engagement with an ecologist is key, but we have also provided a summary of easy wins and dos/don’ts when designing your development layout.
Environmental DNA (eDNA) is DNA which is collected from water in which plants or animals live rather than from the organism directly. A method has been developed in ponds in the UK to use eDNA to determine presence or absence of Great Crested Newts within a waterbody.
Natural England have approved a licence to allow a family of beavers recorded in the River Otter in Devon to remain in the wild. A licence will be issued to Devon Wildlife Trust to manage the release of wild beavers currently present in the river catchment on a five year trial basis. This licence will be subject to several conditions, and the Wildlife Trust will have to be sure that the beavers present are European beavers free of parasites.
Natural England have recently changed their licensing process, which is now more stringent and requires an increased level of detail. Method statements associated with licence documents are legally binding and must be adhered to. Natural England are still experiencing delays processing licence applications.
Natural England have previously raised concerns over some consultants advice in respect to when a mitigation licence is required. Specifically these relate to:
A recent paper in Science magazine ‘Recovery of large carnivores in Europe’s modern human-dominated landscapes’ shows that large carnivores in Europe can share the same landscape as humans. The paper, published in December 2014 and authored by 76 researchers from 26 countries is not the first to show that large carnivores can co-exist with people, however their results show that the land-sharing model, in contrast to wilderness and national park strategies elsewhere in the world, can be successful on a continental scale.
Ecosulis recently attended the Oxford University 2015 Biosymposium 2015 which focused on the functions and values of biodiversity. This subject has a wide expanse of viewpoints and information associated with it, from biologists and biochemists, to economist and philosophers. Flooded with information and lively debate from all viewpoints, the symposium supported an array of debate and discussion on the subject. This can make it quite difficult to see a way forward, and a way to make a difference.
The common or hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) has traditionally been linked to hazel coppice and is well known as a mammal that lives in semi-natural broadleaved woodland. It is also known to use species-rich hedgerows and scrub which are well connected between suitable woodland habitats.
Natural England is planning to launch a new development bat licence. The Bat Low Impact Licence is designed to simplify the licensing of certain bat projects and would streamline licence applications for schemes that have a low impact on bat roosts. This would include impacts on small roosts of the more widespread bats, such as works affecting a summer transitory roost for one or two individual common pipistrelle bats.
Ecosulis attended the Bristol University Internship Career’s Fair on 30 October 2014. The aim of the fair is to assist environmental and science students with their chosen career, and to offer placements to give potential ecologists relevant work experience.
Ecosulis work closely with several universities, including Bristol University, offering placements and interships to graduates and students studying an environmental degree, and with a passion for ecology.