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On 29th October 2019, we shared the following BBC article on our Facebook page: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-50206382?fbclid=IwAR14pY2exZCZ5ODgKZ6n6lugHJAE1LC0OJMMRsnGa9RUE7i7FrtvaT2dUFM

It was news to us at CGO Ecology that tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) had reached the UK, and that this devastating illness picked up from tick-bites is now a real threat. Any of us who works in heathland, forestry and adjacent habitats where deer are present (and therefore ticks) is now potentially at risk of contracting TBE. This is pretty awful news. We're all mindful of ticks, and especially the Lyme disease risk, and we do our best to prevent bites; but what can we do to prevent TBE?

Well, following the BBC article above, I looked into getting a TBE vaccination. I read that Boots travel clinics offer them (as do Superdrug travel clinics), and so in December 2019 I went to Boots at Castlepoint, Bournemouth, which has a travel clinic (the only branches that offer vaccinations). However, the counter staff had not heard of TBE, and even the pharmacist was unaware that TBE had reached the UK. I had to do some persuading to assure him that TBE had reached the New Forest on the Hampshire/Dorset border (a foreign tourist contracted it there in 2019), and that I needed the TBE inoculation.

Once persuaded, the pharmacist booked me into the travel clinic the same afternoon, and I paid £65 for the first of three shots of deactivated TBE virus. The second jab will be in January 2020, and the third a year later. Total cost will be £195. I'm putting it down as a business expense.

More of a concern is that nobody seems to know yet about the risk of contracting TBE in the UK. We hear lots about Lyme disease, but not TBE. Boots and Superdrug travel clinics offer TBE inoculations for travellers to foreign countries where there is a TBE risk, but you will probably find that the pharmacists are unfamiliar with the TBE risk in the UK (even in my case with a known clinical case a few miles away!). I've read more about invasive Asian hornets reaching Dorset than I have about TBE.

When purchasing the vaccination, the Boots data entry system doesn't list the UK as an option, so my pharmacist selected Japan as the TBE-risk country that I was travelling to! Even the NHS advice webpage on TBE - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/tick-borne-encephalitis/ - has not been updated since April 2018, and does not mention TBE cases in the UK. Has anyone else heard about TBE in the UK?

Dr Chris Gleed-Owen MCIEEM is Director & Principal Ecologist of CGO Ecology Ltd


CGO Ecology is a practice that offers the full suite of ecological consultancy services. We began in 2008 with a focus on reptiles and amphibians, with specialist knowledge in the EPS reptiles (sand lizard and smooth snake). Initially, we mainly worked for clients requiring reptile and GCN surveys and mitigation in the minerals, LPA and NGO sectors, but we quickly expanded to offer Extended Phase 1 Habitat Surveys. As our skills base has widened, much of our work has now shifted from herpetofauna and Preliminary Ecological Appraisals to Phase 2 species surveys and mitigation involving bats, badgers, non-marine Mollusca, breeding birds, wintering birds, and riparian mammals.

We also have a growing portfolio of BS5837:2012 tree surveys and other arboricultural services. We operate a Habitat Management Team for tree work, scrub clearance, invasive species eradication and control, and other land-based services. We continue to offer BREEAM and HQM assessments and compliance monitoring, and zooarchaeological services. As well as surveys and mitigation, we contribute to the Ecology Chapter of Environmental Statements, we produce management plans, and we prepare Biodiversity Mitigation and Enhancement Plans (BMEPs) as required in Dorset and increasingly in other counties.

Our main geographical base is in Dorset, right on the Dorset/Hampshire border, making us ideally placed for the New Forest, Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch, Southampton and surrounding areas. However, we travel far and wide (by train if we can), and our regional bases have enabled us to expand our operations across Britain. We now have more work in Southeast England than we do in Southwest England, and we have a growing portfolio of clients in the East Midlands, West Midlands, and Wales. We also have an increasing volume of specialist work on Vertigo snails in Ireland each year, and in some years we have had significant bodies of mollusc and reptile work in Scotland.

See the graphs below, which show how our work is currently spread across ecological disciplines and geographical regions. The nature of ecological consultancy is such that the volume of work varies seasonally and between years, as does the type of work and range of clients. About half our work each year is repeat business from existing clients, which allows for an exciting degree of fresh challenges. The size and make-up of our team has evolved over the years, peaking at around 10 full-time staff and 27 full-time subcontractors during our biggest projects. We have always delivered what we promised, and clients know they can come to us for a job well done.

2018 category turnover2019 category turnover

2018 2019 regional turnover


Senior Ecologist (bats, birds – home-based in Southeast England or Dorset)

Starting January 2020 or ASAP thereafter - Permanent, with three-month probationary period - Salary £30,000-40,000

Overview

CGO Ecology is a consultancy with a small team of home-based staff, and a wide network of subcontractors and associates. We need a skilled and level 2 bat-licensed ecologist, based in the Southeast or Dorset, to join our team. He/she will have proven experience obtaining bat EPS mitigation licences. Good ornithological skills and a range of other ecological expertise would be a bonus.

Role

The position is home-based, ideally in Surrey, Berkshire, or adjacent counties of Southeast England. Dorset would also be suitable. The job involves travelling to jobs across the Southeast and Dorset, sometimes the Midlands, and occasionally further afield. Overnight stays are sometimes required, particularly in the summer nocturnal bat survey season. You would coordinate and conduct surveys and mitigation for bats (PRAs, nocturnal surveys, static detectors, transects), Breeding Bird Surveys, Winter Bird Surveys, Phase 1 habitat/PEAs, and surveys for reptiles, GCN, riparian mammals, and other protected species. You must be able to write reports and licence applications to a high standard of English grammar and spelling, and deal effectively with clients, colleagues and stakeholders. You would need excellent communication skills, be physically able and prepared to work flexible and often unsociable hours with a flexi-time/TOIL system. You would need to be a self-starter, with a pragmatic outlook, who uses their initiative to resolve problems.

Essential experience/skills

  • Bat survey licence (at least CL17 level 2), experience obtaining bat mitigation licences.
  • Good ornithological skills, at least some Annex I/Schedule 1 species survey experience.
  • Extended Phase 1 Habitat Surveys/PEA, botanical knowledge equivalent to FISC 3 or above.
  • Full driving licence, access to own vehicle.
  • Excellent written and spoken English.
  • Highly computer-literate, including MS Office.
  • At least two years in the consultancy sector.

Desirable (non-essential) experience/skills

  • Expertise and experience in some of the following taxa and disciplines: badger, barn owl, breeding birds, hazel dormouse, GCN, invertebrates, NVC botanical surveys, otter, reptiles, water vole.
  • Competent in GIS or CAD software.
  • At least five years in the consultancy sector.
  • Degree-level education, or equivalent in professional experience and training.
  • Full or Associate member, or eligible for membership, of CIEEM.
  • Tree-climbing qualifications and experience.
  • A range of professional employment demonstrating breadth of character.

Salary/benefits

Salary £30,000-40,000. Working week 40 hours with a flexi-time/TOIL system. We reimburse reasonable expenses at cost, and mileage at 45p. We provide relevant PPE and survey equipment, pension, regular CPD/training, 24 days’ discretionary leave plus statutory holidays. We operate an Equal Opportunities policy.

Application

To apply, send a brief email to Chris Gleed-Owen This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., attaching a CV focusing on relevant experience, licences and qualifications. The post will be advertised until filled, starting January 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter. No agencies.  


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.

IMG 2360IMG 2360IMG 2360


'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.