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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

1st Woodland Survey of the year

Morning all,

I will be undertaking the first of the woodland surveys tomorrow evening (assuming the rains stops). We will be looking at a small number of woodlands in Luton were no records are currently held.

Most of these run in a line from Round Green to the Hertfordshire border, at teh moment I have permission to mist net and look at at least three woods. I am hoping to gain access to other woods running along the boundary.


National Planning Policy Framework and BCT's new guidelines

Hi all,

National Planning Policy Framework:

On the 27th of March 2012 the Government released the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). This document has streamlined the planning policies that were implemented by the local authorities in a planning context.

Planning Policy Statement 9 (Biodiversity) is no longer valid, however circular 06/05 is to be used in conjunction with NPPF.

There were concerns from the nature conservation movement when the draft of the NPPF was published, the focus was on sustainable development, however there was no definition of what this was!!

In the NPPF which is now in force this has been revised somewhat compared with the draft, to include a definition of sustainable development.

So why was there so much concern?

Put simply the EU habitats directive and bird directive had been mostly ignored. After a lot of lobbing from the major nature organisations such as BCT, the Wildlife Trusts, RSPB and National Trust amendments were made.

Most importantly were EU protected species are concerned there is no presumption in favour of sustainable development. As in the previous planning polices, full and up to date information concerning the species should be available.

What this means in practise we are yet to find out, but the interpretation should be that full surveys for protected species should have been undertaken before planning is granted.

New BCT Survey Guidelines:

At roughly the same time the new 2nd edition of the BCT survey guidelines have been released. These are now much more focused on the commercial ecology industry.

Clarification of some of the minor issues from the previous 1st edition have been made clearer e.g. the consultant is to use expert judgement and the guidelines to make decisions.

Another issue was the de-facto two dusk and one dawn survey, the guidance now says that if a dusk/dawn is undertaken in the same 24hr period that is classed as one survey.

I hazard a guess that this will cause further issues as no definition of a 24hr period is given, common sense would say that this should be a 24hr rotation of the clock, however I can see that certain people will interpret this differently.

Overall the guidance should clear up minor issues from the 1st edition and make the consultants job easier.


Monday, 16 April 2012

East of England Bat Conference

Hi all,

Saturday saw the second East of England regional bat conference.

There were some very good talks and the chance for some networking.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Season Begins

Morning all

The bat season offically starts today, with the first survey kicking off tomorrow evening at Stockgrove CP.

Athough bats have and will be about the temperatures are not looking to good, usually a temperture of 5oC or above means there will be plenty of bat activity, however the days of late have been great but night-time temperatures have been low, with tonights low expected to be 1oC.

This means that the invertebrates that bats prey on are unlikely to be about and therefore bat activity will be low.

Hopefully we will hear the usual species, and it gives us a chance to 'get our ear' back in.