Senior Ecologist (Bats – Northwest England)CGO logo large

Starting February/March 2021

Permanent, full-time

Salary £30,000+



CGO Ecology is recruiting a Senior Ecologist in Northwest England, ideally South Lancashire or adjacent areas (Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside). The position is home-based, with fieldwork in South Lancashire and across the region (not HS2). The successful applicant will have extensive bat survey and mitigation experience. Other areas of expertise would be a bonus. CGO Ecology has a small team of home-based staff, and a wide network of subcontractors and associates across the country. Our clients are in national and local government, education, infrastructure, minerals, and renewable energy sectors, among others.


The postholder will coordinate ecological surveys and mitigation, manage staff and subcontractors, liaise with clients and officials, and write high-quality reports. They will oversee a significant bat survey workload (PRAs of buildings and trees, dusk/dawn surveys, activity transects, and static detector call analyses). They will also assist with delivery of GCN, reptile, badger, riparian mammal, breeding bird, wintering bird, invertebrate, botanical, and other types of surveys, according to their skills/experience. They will be proficient in Extended Phase 1 Habitat Surveys/PEAs, EcIAs, and contribute to ES chapters. A high standard of English grammar and spelling is essential, as is the personality to work effectively with clients, colleagues, and stakeholders. Due to the nature of the work, the postholder must be physically able, and prepared to work flexible and unsociable hours. They will be a self-starter with a pragmatic outlook, who uses their initiative to solve problems. Under the current Covid-19 constraints, the postholder will work from home, driving to and from survey sites. Much of the workload will be in South Lancashire, but the postholder must be prepared to travel further afield when necessary. Note this is not HS2-related.

Essential experience, skills, and qualities

  • Bat survey licence (at least CL18/level 2), previous bat mitigation licence-holder.
  • At least one other species survey licence and/or specialist skill.
  • Proficiency in Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey/PEA/EcIA, with botanical ID skills equivalent to FISC 3 or above.
  • Full driving licence, own vehicle.
  • Excellent written and spoken English.
  • Highly computer-literate, including MS Office and GIS.
  • Project management skills, experience in large/complex projects.
  • Good understanding of wildlife legislation and planning processes.
  • Positive attitude, enthusiastic approach to work, strong work ethic.
  • Ability to work independently and proactively.

Desirable experience, skills, and qualities

  • Good ornithological skills, including Annex I/Schedule 1 species.
  • Expertise, licence(s), and mitigation experience in one or more of the following taxa and disciplines: badger, barn owl, breeding birds, hazel dormouse, GCN, invasive species, invertebrates, NVC surveys, otter, reptiles, water vole, wintering birds.
  • Degree-level education, or equivalent in professional experience and/or training.
  • Full or Associate member of CIEEM, or eligible for membership.
  • Tree-climbing qualifications and experience.
  • Employment history demonstrating breadth of character.


Salary £30,000+, commensurate with experience. Working week 40 hours with a flexi-time/TOIL system (extra hours worked can be banked and taken off at postholder’s discretion). We reimburse accommodation and subsistence expenses for fieldwork, and mileage at 45p for all travel away from the normal place of work. We provide necessary PPE and survey equipment, ongoing CPD/training, 24 days’ discretionary leave plus statutory holidays per year, and enrolment in the UK Government’s NEST pension scheme. We operate an Equal Opportunities policy.


Please email Chris Gleed-Owen (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) with a CV focusing on relevant skills, experience, licences, and qualifications. The post will be advertised until filled. The postholder must be available to start in February or March 2021. Please do not apply speculatively if you do not meet the essential requirements.

CGO employee James Mansfield lifts the lid on being a registered bat carercropped BLE found in a warehouse

Every year in the UK, as many as 1,800 injured bats are rescued by trained, vaccinated volunteers who then look after them until they are well enough to be released into the wild. I’m proud to be a registered bat carer myself. It’s a great way to educate the public about these largely misunderstood and undervalued animals that are so important to our ecosystem. Last year I rescued nearly 100 bats, and a large percentage of those were pups, between May and July.

Bat carers play a valuable role in maintaining bat populations, which have suffered a huge decline in numbers because of their diminishing habitats. This can be due to tree removal for development purposes and the blockage of underground sites.

Recovering from injuries

Bats become grounded or injured for many reasons. Most commonly, bats are caught by cats. This accounts for 21% of bat fatalities. Others come as pups separated from their mothers. Some are simply exhausted – usually just after hibernation when the weather is temperamental and their food reserves are low. If they are treated correctly, many bats can recover from serious injuries in a matter of weeks. However, in a few cases they have to be cared-for long-term, or put down.

Nursing bats back to health

The type of rehabilitation a bat requires will depend on the species, their age, condition and the types of injuries the bat has. For pups (especially those less than a week old), I give them three-hourly feeds using a dog milk solution with a vitamin D supplement. This gives them the essential nutrients they need to grow, bearing in mind they start flying at just three to four weeks-old!

cropped not Cpips and whiskered far rightAdult bats, so long as their injuries aren’t too severe, are far less time consuming. I feed them mealworms, and make sure their enclosures are cleaned regularly. I provide them with lots of crevices which mimic those they would utilise in the wild, including folded towels, coconuts, and old oven gloves amongst other things. I have a dedicated room in my house to fly my rescue bats to keep them fit and monitor their progress.

Ready for release

Once I deem the bats to be healthy enough, I take them back to exactly where they were found. Like a person who is familiar with where they live and how they get from place to place, a bat is likely to have spent a considerable amount of time – possibly many years –  in a specific area. They will be familiar with certain flight paths and foraging locations. As a result, it is essential to reunite them as closely to their original habitat as possible, to maximise their chances of survival post-release; and if the roost location is known, putting them back in their roost.


cropped GLE eating a mealwormJames’s breadth of bat knowledge makes him perfectly suited to his work at CGO Ecology. He undertakes preliminary roost assessments, nocturnal (dusk, dawn, transect) surveys, and mitigation licence applications, among other things. He is Level 2 (CL18) licensed by Natural England. If you’d like to ask James any questions about his role as a registered bat carer and a bat specialist at CGO Ecology, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information on being a bat carer, visit the Bat Conservation Trust website.

We are still working during the Covid-19 pandemic, where possible to do so safely, subject to UK Government, CIEEM, IUCN and BCT guidelines.

Article written by James Mansfield, and edited by Rebecca Perl.

cropped Cpip found under a bush. Most recent rescue

cropped Cpip found in office space










Photo 1: Brown long-eared bat found injured in a warehouse.

Photo 2: Three common pipistrelles and a whiskered bat (on the right) in care.

Photo 3: Grey long-eared bat enjoying a mealworm in James' care.

Photo 4: Recently-rescued common pipistrelle, found grounded under a bush. Seen here enjoying a mealworm in care.

Photo 5: Common pipistrelle found in an office.


On 29th October 2019, we shared the following BBC article on our Facebook page:

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 - - 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


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.


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 £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.


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.