Fisher German is focusing on the environment as the subject becomes an increasingly prominent issue in the planning process and across a broad range of utility schemes. As part of this focus, our Utilities and Infrastructure Land and Planning team has received specialist wildlife training from landscape and environmental consultants CSA Environmental.
The training, which took place at our Ashby office before Covid-19, and was delivered to other offices via Microsoft Teams, gave the team an insight into the history of wildlife legislation and how it has evolved, and how this is linked to the planning process as well as its connection to projects where planning permission is not required.
The team was given information on the ecological survey timetable and its seasonality, detailing which can be conducted all year round and which can only be undertaken at certain times.
The approach to some of these surveys was explained and advice given on when to look out for protected species. They were also given guidance on how to address any issues that arise, including mitigation options and ways to work around issues where possible.
CSA Environmental has worked with us for 15 years, providing advice and support around environmental issues.
Aidan Marsh, director of CSA Environmental, said: “The training provided the Fisher German team with additional knowledge of what steps need to be taken when considering wildlife during projects. We established that they are used to encountering a number of common issues, such as having nesting bird issues when moving vegetation on-site, but as legislation in this area expands and habitats become increasingly important an expanding range of wider wildlife issues, including badgers, bats and great crested newts will need additional consideration
“We were able to talk the team through the processes involved, the survey timetable and the potential constraints, and provide some guidance on how best to address any issues that might arise. Wildlife and ecology legislation is constantly evolving, including current steps towards mandating Biodiversity Net Gain for all development projects.
“We were able to provide the team with an up to date picture and demonstrate the importance of taking wildlife and environmental aspects into consideration at the start of a project.”
Iain Long, Associate Director in our Ashby office, said: “The Utilities and Infrastructure team is currently focusing heavily on environmental issues, and the training from CSA Environmental was extremely useful in supporting us with this. It gave everyone involved the knowledge of when further steps are required, such as if habitat or species surveys are needed, and highlighted the importance of knowing the strict survey season and how missing this could set a project back a whole year.
“By programming these constraints into our clients’ project timescales, we can protect the environment whilst also meeting client timescales and budgets. We were also given guidance on what is expected of us when we are working under permitted development rights and what considerations must be taken around protected species.
“It was a very insightful piece of training, and showed the importance of taking both planning and environmental viewpoints in our work.”
Find out more about the diverse work our Utilities & Infrastructure teams do here.