With the economy still reeling from recession, and more Government cutbacks in the pipeline, the ecological professions face the same uncertain future as other disciplines. Nature conservation is taking a knock in these hard times, and the wildlife is set to suffer if cutbacks result in less protection and conservation.
The Government has expressed its distaste for 'red tape', and many in the wildlife conservation sector have been anticipating significant changes, perhaps not for the best. However, there are signs that not all is doom and gloom in the ecological consultancy industry. There seems to be a general feeling among consultants in 2013 that this is one of the busiest years for a long time. There have been some large state-funded projects, and commercial work has been buoyant.
CGO Ecology has had its busiest year since it started trading in March 2008, with annual turnover exceeding £200,000, and up to 27 field staff in spring 2013. Current and recent projects include:
- Great crested newt HSI surveys for a large project to improve the evidence base nationally, for Cresswell Associates/Hyder Consulting Ltd (on behalf of Natural England);
- Trialling revised monitoring systems for herpetofauna interest features at 17 SSSIs/SACs across England, for ARC Trust (on behalf of Natural England);
- Mollusc surveys to monitor populations of rare Vertigo snail species on SSSIs in the Cairngorms area, for Caledonian Conservation Ltd (on behalf of Scottish Natural Heritage);
- Reptile capture and translocation at a china clay quarry in Devon, for Andrews Ecology Ltd (on behalf of Sibelco Ltd);
- Reptile survey of dual carriageway road verges, for Dorset County Council;
- Reptile survey for a solar farm proposal in Dorset, for Spalding Associates (Environmental) Ltd;
- Reptile survey of land affected by remedial works on a tidal channel, for Borough of Poole;
- Reptile survey of Wormwood Scrubs, for Groundwork London;
- Sand lizard and other reptile monitoring at a sand and gravel quarry in Dorset, for URS Ltd (on behalf of Tarmac Ltd);
- Adder survey in relation to an environmental stewardship application, for Wiltshire Wildlife Trust;
- Extended Phase 1 ecological surveys for various commercial and private clients in Dorset;
- Palaeontological analysis of subfossil remains from a Moroccan cave, for University of Oxford Institute of Archaeology.