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In case you haven't heard of Biodiversity Net Gain, it's a huge new policy instrument that is coming on line at the moment. The latest iteration of todd photo La diggingthe National Planning Policy Framework (DCLG, 2018) brings it to the fore. All developments should now demonstrate that they will not only be neutral in conservation impact, but that they will seek to redress some of the losses of the past.

Sceptical that it will work? Well it's easy to be, but it is encouraging to see this being pushed so hard within the planning, ecological consultancy and development industries. With a firm policy to hang on to, it is easy to persuade developer clients that they must comply. Anyone working in ecological consultancy will already be noticing this.

Biodiversity Net Gain's predecessor ('no net loss') is regarded to have failed, and the replacement is meant to be more ambitious and better-defined. Personally, I think it's going to be really useful, although I reserve judgement on whether it's able to replace, like for like. So watch this space closely.

All the guidance produced by CIRIA, CIEEM and IEMA is available free here.

In the case studies volume, look out for case study 4 - the A338 Bournemouth Spur Road rebuild - which CGO Ecology was heavily involved in. See photo here of a female sand lizard digging a nest beside the A338 adjacent to Week Common [photo credit: Todd Lewis]. 

Dr Chris Gleed-Owen, Director & Principal Ecologist, CGO Ecology Ltd


IMG 2356 st marks cemetery highcliffe badger settWe found a badger sett in a cemetery in suburban Christchurch yesterday, most likely an outlier. It had only three semi-recently-used holes, and three shallow diggings. The nearest woodland which may support a main sett is around 500m away.

Thankfully the sett is in a bank rising up from the cemetery, and not in the ground where the graves are. Badgers are becoming much bolder inhabitants of suburbia these days, so it's always worth looking out for evidence, even in gardens.

In Southeast Dorset, we've recently found setts and other badger evidence in suburban gardens in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Ferndown.

Sett holes are a bit wider than fox holes, and often with a substantial amount of spoil outside them. They have a 'landscape' orientation, whereas fox and rabbit tend to dig holes in 'portrait'.

Badgers often nuzzle around in loose soil, looking for worms, and digging up bulbs. The resulting 'snuffle holes' are quite distinctive once you've got your eye in.

Badgers also tend to leave their dung in holes (dung-pits), usually on the edge of their territory, to ward off rival clans.

CGO Ecology offers all types of badger survey, and is experienced in sett closure under licence where badgers are disrupting property or causing other problems. Please call us 01202 798126 or email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to know more.

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'Highly Commended' in CIEEM awards

We are very pleased that CGO Ecology was 'Highly Commended' in the Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) annual awards ceremony in London last week. Our involvement on the A338 rebuild project from 2009-2016 in Dorset reached the final three in the 'Innovation' category of the Best Practice Awards programme.



Our latest recruit

We would like to welcome our latest recruit, Frankie Gamble, who joined us in early April 2017 as a seasonal ecologist. Frankie has worked in ecological consultancy since 2015, and already has a wide range of experience including bats, birds, GCN, and reptiles. He holds a CSCS card and first aid qualification. He has worked on large-scale surveys for HS2 in the West Midlands, and was employed by two well-known consultancies in 2015 and 2016.


CGO Ecology is moving its Dorset office. As of today (Friday 28th October 2016), our new Dorset base is: 27a Ridgefield Gardens, Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 4QG. Our telephone number remains the same (01202 798126). Please make a note in your records. We will endeavour to inform all clients and subcontractors separately too.


With the summer finally showing its face, here's a rundown of what we've been up to lately:

Phase 1 ecology surveys are one of our mainstays, and we've conducted them recently for a range of projects in Dorset, Essex, Hampshire, Warwickshire, West Sussex, Wiltshire, Worcestershire. Also known as Preliminary Ecological Appraisal or Extended Phase 1 Habitat and Ecology Survey, this involves desktop research, a field walkover survey, and a detailed report with recommendations for phase 2 surveys and/or mitigation.



We hope all of our clients, colleagues and friends have had an enjoyable Christmas and New Year break. The weather has been atrocious for most of us in the UK, and we feel for all those affected by flooding. Let's hope 2016 is the year when real action is taken to tackle the causes of flooding, not just the effects.


Winter is still survey season

The cold season means that many vertebrates, invertebrates and plants are in hibernation or some other form of dormancy; so it is usually a quieter time for professional ecologists. However, not everything stops for winter. We can still conduct a range of ecological surveys for a variety of purposes.