News Update

The Summer and particularly the weather to date has been to say the least "Variable". This has brought with it its own set of challenges, particularly where  site access and the use of machinery for tasks has been necessary. In our part of Gloucestershire as I write this we have experienced just over an inch of rain overnight.This inevitably makes for challenging conditions underfoot when carrying out a range of fieldwork.

The upside of such weather is that growing conditions have been favourable  for a lot of species and some of the wild flower meadows we maintain have done particularly well this year, recording high densities of wild flowers as well as good orchid numbers.

As a company we have been frustrated and dissapointed this Summer by the complete unavailability of the badger BCG vaccine, which we use to deliver annual badger vaccination programmes on behalf of some of our clients, as one of a suite of measures that can be used to lower the prevalence of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) on their land.The good news is that modelling carried out by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) for the Welsh government seems to suggests that no significant loss of immunity in the badger population will result from this temporary break in our five year programmes. We are led to believe that the vaccine will be available in time for next years vaccination season.

Meanwhile, as ever! Badgers continue to keep us occupied in other directions. Occasionally it may prove necessary to move badgers from an area. In order to prevent or restrict access to certain areas by badgers we are often engaged to carry out or monitor sett exclusions and closures as well as installing specialist badger fencing. We are now well and truly into the Sett exclusion season which runs from July to Nov inclusive. Badgers and their setts are protected in law and all our work relating to these tasks is carried out under licence from the appropriate statutory body (Either Natural England or Natural Resources Wales).

As ecological contractors with an in depth knowledge and experience of badger related issues we are often engaged by various ecological consultancies as well as independent clients to act as accredited agents on such projects.Carrying out everything from artificial sett construction to sett monitoring. Seeing badger social groups taking up residency in artificial setts that have been  skillfully built and  located  for them is very satisfying, especially after all the hard work that goes into their creation.

A reminder to anyone who is over seeing sites where reptile/herpetological fencing has been previously installed, whilst the site awaits its next phase of action. It really does need checking and maintaining! Throughout the summer months we we find ourselves in a constant rotation of site visits to ensure vegetation does not swamp and compromise the integrity of such fencing. If it does, then all the hard work and expense of searching and clearing a site of protected species may be undone. This can be maintained by the creation and maintenance of a strimmed/sprayed strip on either side of the fencing until such time as it is removed. 






News update

Some of the tasks that can be carried out but are not limited to this month include:

Vegetative and site clearance. This month is the last clear month in which nesting birds are of a less consideration when carrying out these tasks.

Surveying for badgers, including bait-marking if necessary. Field signs and latrines are more visible due to lack of cover. The early part of February sees the peak of the cubbing season for badgers.

Consider the construction of artificial badger setts now in advance of sett closures in the summer months this is useful to allow social groups to familiarise themselves with the new quarters that are being provided.

Tree and hedge planting, especially bare root specimens. It’s a great time of year for planting up woods, shelter belts and establishing new and rejuvenating old hedges to enable habitat connectivity.

February has also seen a flurry of activity related to tendering both within the private and public sectors and although this can at times seem like a laborious task, as a company it is essential for business that we maintain a continuous involvement in these processes. Attending bidders meetings and supplier engagement days allows us the valuable chance to meet with and exchange information with other individuals and companies.  

This month sees us meet with some of the large Joint Ventures involved with bidding for the HS2 rail enabling works contracts. This enormous civil engineering project will generate a huge demand for ecological contracting and consultancy inputs to safeguard and mitigate wildlife and habitat disturbance and loss over the coming years.