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Services

Ecology

With a dedicated team of over 60 ecology consultants we have established ourselves as a market leader based on our expertise and project experience.

Our team of ecologists support clients across the UK and Ireland in all aspects of ecological consultancy. We are recognised as pioneers in biodiversity and sustainability, setting standards of excellence within the profession.

Our ecological expertise is coupled with our knowledge of Planning and EIA legislation. We have established excellent working relationships with the statutory nature conservation agencies over the years. We ensure that our clients’ projects are fully compliant with environmental regulations and statutory requirements.

Our ecologists have many years experience in the survey and assessment of habitats, legally protected species, and other species of conservation concern (such as UK Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Species) which require consideration during the planning process.

We have experts in protect species and European Birds and Habitat Directive issues and advise developers and Local Authorities on the complex implications of these Regulations and how proposed plans and projects are affected by them

We work with clients from across all industry sectors and have advised on projects in urban and rural settings in terrestrial, aquatic and marine habitats.

Ecological Surveys

Invasive Weeds

Natura Impact Assessment

Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA)

Habitats Directive

BREEAM / Code for Sustainable Homes

Habitat Creation, Restoration and Management

Biodiversity

Expert Witness

Geographical Information Systems.


Download our Ecology Capability Statement here

Case Studies

A9

RPS Successfully Support Sensitive Development within the Cairngorm National Park

Since September 2015, RPS has provided Environmental Clerk of Works (ECoW) services to Wills Bros/John Paul Joint Venture for the 7.5km Kincraig-Dalraddy A9 upgrade. The scheme passes through the Cairngorms National Park, Alvie SSSI and a tributary of the River Spey SAC, and has required the sensitive management of numerous protected habitats and species during the tight construction schedule.

Ecological highlights of the development have included:

Translocation of some 45 hairy wood ant nests in collaboration with the Cairngorm National Park Authority. Hairy wood ants, included on the Scottish Biodiversity List as a prior species for conservation and a key stone species of woodland ecosystems, are threatened through habitat loss. The successful translocation of these nests is a key conservation action for the species and was praised by the National Park Authority;

Sensitively felling of mature Scot’s pine forestry containing red squirrels in consultation with SNH. Red squirrels are protected both under UK and European legislation. The sensitive removal of forestry ensured a negligible impact to the species and the area’s native population, whilst allowing construction of the development to continue on schedule;

Installation and monitoring of otter fencing surrounding the development to protect this qualifying species of the adjacent River Spey SAC. RPS’ pragmatic advice ensured otters were suitably protected from the development whilst continuing to successfully use their existing territories. Monitoring gave confidence to SNH that the development continued to cause no Likely Significant Effect to this qualifying species of the nearby SAC;

ECoW monitoring of compliance with all relevant environmental documents. RPS’s ECoW have received high praise resulting in a score of 9/10 (“exceptional”) for Environmental Protection under the Considerate Contractor Scheme.

As the onsite ECoW is part of the wider Design Site Representative team it has been a great benefit to the scheme to have a full time environmental presence ensuring that stakeholders have confidence that regulations are being followed, the site achieved a very high score for “Protection to the Environment” in the Considerate Contractors audit which rates the site as “Excellent”.

Isle of Grain

Isle of Grain

Kent

National Grid

RPS has undertaken extensive ecological work at the Isle of Grain, Kent.

The site covers approximately 600 ha and lies at the tip of the Hoo Peninsula, situated between the estuaries of the River Thames and the River Medway.  The site is a former BP oil refinery and is a mosaic of brownfield, grassland and former grazing marsh with 20 km of ditches plus additional areas of lagoons and swamp.  These wetland areas support habitats and species of conservation importance.

Over the last 10 years, RPS has undertaken numerous ecological surveys of the terrestrial and riparian habitats across the site including Water Voles, Great Crested Newt, Badger and bats.

We have written mitigation plans, license documents and Environmental Statements for the project. This has included undertaking species specific surveys and the preparation of ESs for two for two cryogenic pipelines (approximately 2.5 km in length) and for a 2 km access road for the BritNed project, a cross channel electricity sharing scheme.

Phase 1 Habitat and Protect Species Surveys

Phase 1

Habitat and Protected Species Surveys

Luton

RPS undertook a Phase 1 Habitat and protected species scoping survey to inform a BREEAM assessment and management plan for a state of the art youth centre in the heart of Luton.

The centre which includes a climbing wall, dance studio, IT suite and roof top garden will run activities such as media production, sports, art, music, street dance and cookery.

Initial surveys identified limited potential for nesting birds within ivy on the exterior wall or the existing habitat.  Site enhancements were chosen to provide additional habitat for Bedfordshire and Luton Biodiversity Action Plan species that occurred within close proximity to the site. These included the provision of nest bricks for Black Redstart and House Sparrows as well as winter and summer bat boxes within the fa├žade of the building. Insect boxes will also be installed on the walls surround the brown roof.

Rufford Energy Recovery Facility

Rufford Energy Recovery Facility

(ERF)

Nottinghamshire

RPS completed a shadow Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) with respect to a “might be” Special Protection Area based on the populations of Nightjar and Woodlark in the Sherwood Pines area of Sherwood Forest.

The HRA was underpinned by detailed surveys of the birds in the area, investigations into disturbance by off-road motorcycling, and the impact of the proposed ERF.  The data were analysed using GIS to produce a plan of breeding territories linked to favourable habitat and disturbance feature including in combination effects from proposed housing developments in the neighbourhood of the ERF site.

The ERF planning application was called in by the Secretary of State for the Environment and went to Public Inquiry where RPS presented evidence on the ecological aspects of the project.  In addition to matters ornithological, this included an assessment of impacts of aerial deposition, and reptile and amphibian populations.


Welsh Lake

Welsh Lake

Wales

Countryside Council

RPS undertook Condition Assessments of 11 lakes located throughout Wales based on their aquatic macrophyte flora and use this information to determine their Biodiversity Action Plan interest.

The survey methodology employed was developed under the auspices of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), the organisation responsible for maintaining ‘Common Standards’ for site condition monitoring across the UK.  Other information was gathered including, collecting water samples and bathymetric data of the lake and mapping the aquatic macrophyte vegetation of the water body. This was then analysed and evaluated to assess the Biodiversity importance of each water body based on the SSSI selection criteria for standing water.

There was a wide range of lakes covering oligotrophic, mesotrophic and eutrophic standing water. They all varied in importance with some lakes recommended for special status and others were of low biodiversity Importance. Factors such as invasive plants, over-fishing and potential eutrophication were all significant threats to the biodiversity of the lakes.