Get a tree-mendous survey

On development sites trees are both important assets, but also potential constraints. Did you know that NWS offers the same development-advice service for trees as it already offers to clients for ecology ?

On the positive side, when managed well trees form key opportunities for wildlife, offer visual amenity to complement the architectural elements and can add a strong sense of place to new developments. They also create micro-climate buffers to sites by contributing screening and shade, reducing wind speed and turbulence, intercepting dust and rainfall, and stabilising temperatures. Mature trees add significant value to properties.

Conversely though, development that doesn’t consider tree roots, hazards, future growth and how the built environment relates to these natural assets will swiftly run into problems. Planning authorities – normally via a BS5837 survey – will carefully check how any new development relates to trees in and around the development site, and how they will be managed in the future.

Tree surveysAs part of the BS5837 survey report, we will assess the value of trees based on their health, remaining lifespan and amenity impact. We provide a Tree Constraints Plan (TCP) showing root protection areas and existing and future crown spreads in a format to suit the client. This is used to initially inform architects when designing site layouts. The TCP helps to inform future tree management and immediately identifies necessary tree works – including hazards.

An Arboricultural Implications Assessment (AIA) follows final design, where the impact of the design proposal on the surrounding trees is assessed as well as the interaction the trees will have on the finished development. This information informs the Tree Protection Plan (TPP) which gives advice on protective measures for the trees on site. The TPP also gives clear indications of potential conflict between trees and the proposed site layout.

Often following planning permission is the Arboricultural Method Statement (AMS), which specifies tree protection measures and any specialised construction techniques. An AMS provides the information package for contractors to fully protect trees during construction and is helpful for tendering works. In our tree surveys and reports, we will also offer guidance on replacements for trees removed and any new planting specifications.

If you have questions about the services offered by our new arboriculturist or if you would like to discuss how a tree survey would help your planning proposals please contact Jim Allitt on: Email: Telephone: 01603 625540


New Constructionline accreditation

NWS is proud to announce that we have been recently fully accredited by Constructionline.

In order to register with Constructionline, which is a government-led scheme, we have had to demonstrate that our company reaches national Health and Safety and other compliance standards for finance, governance and personnel management, a pre-requisite for working with many companies in both industry and government sectors.

Having the accreditation automatically pre-qualifies us for contracts let via constructionline and allows easy access for clients when sourcing ecological services.

On a day-to-day basis, it gives you additional assurance that the company is operated in a safe and professional manner.

Constructionline accreditation

NWS is now a Constructionline accredited contractor.

New CHAS accreditation

NWS is pleased to announce that we are now an accredited contractor for the Contractors Health & Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS). Health and safety is very important to NWS and our new CHAS accreditation shows that we meet required health and safety standards. This independent assurance means you can guarantee that any work conducted by NWS on your behalf will be undertaken in a professional and safe manner.

CHAS accreditation

We are now a CHAS accredited contractor.

Norfolk Wildlife Services’ Autumn Newsletter

We’ve had a busy summer here at NWS and have enjoyed working with you all immensely. Catch up on all our latest news in our Norfolk Wildlife Services’ Autumn Newsletter 2016.

In this issue we bring you news on our exciting new partnership, interesting facts on bat roosts and how these might be affected by lighting, tips on how to plan dog- and wildlife-friendly sites, and updates on recent staff training.

NWS Autumn Newsletter

Happy dog, happy wildlife

Dog walking can be one of the best ways to get people out and about experiencing nature but our faithful hounds and our beloved wildlife often have conflicting needs, making it difficult to create green spaces suitable for both. Follow these top five tips to plan a greenspace that will result in happy dogs, and happy wildlife:

Happy dog, happy wildlife

Emily and Stig (the world’s first water vole detection dog) enjoying a dog walk and experiencing nature.

  1.  Provide areas of enclosed greenspace. Offering safe areas for dogs to run off-lead makes dog-owners more likely to respect on-lead areas.
  2. Create a circular dog walking route, with clear, defined paths. Obvious paths will encourage dog walkers to stick to a set route meaning they are less likely to disturb more valuable wildlife areas.
  3. Ensure these areas and routes are within 500m of new homes. Placing suitable areas within walking distance will deter owners from driving to areas further-a-field that they perceive to be suitable greenspace.
  4. A range of all-weather surfaces with a naturalistic feel will guarantee dog walkers consistent access without having to invest in walking boots.
  5. Construct an area of clean water with safe access for dogs. Providing an assigned ‘splash-about’ area will keep dogs out of water which contains sensitive wildlife.

If you’d like more advice on planning for wildlife and dogs, Hampshire County Council have produced a wonderful document: Planning for dog ownership in new developments: reducing conflict – adding value.

Stig, pictured is the world’s first water vole detection dog. He is trained in the art of water vole poo detection. To find out more about Stig, his partner in training Lola, and their handler Ali, visit Ecology Dogs. Alternatively, keep regularly up-to-date with their water vole finds by following @EcologyDogs on Twitter.



Impact of lighting on bats

Here at NWS, we are often asked to advise on the ecological impact of lighting on bats. Generally we recommend keeping lighting to a minimum and directing it away from any potential bat roosts or foraging and commuting areas because bats can be very sensitive to both the light itself and its consequent effects.

Illuminating bat roosts may cause bats to abandon their roost as the light delays their emergence and shortens the time available to them for foraging. A peak in insect abundance occurs soon after dusk, so this delayed emergence means they miss out on important feeding. Many of these night-flying insects that constitute the bat’s diet swarm around street lighting. However, certain species of bat, notably the rarer species, avoid street lights, meaning they miss out on this abundant food source.

Lighting can also cause barriers to commuting bats therefore isolating populations. It can also make them more vulnerable to predation. Kestrels (an avian predator to bats) have been observed hunting at night under the artificial lighting along motorways.

We now use a lux meter to measure light intensity during bat surveys. The result from the lux meter can help us advise on the impacts of installing lighting to an area and from this we can offer recommendations on how best to limit the effects.

Dr Emma Stone, a researcher at the University of Bristol is conducting ongoing research into the effects of lighting on bats. From Emma’s research, an overview and guidelines surrounding this issue have been produced by both Emma and the Bat Conservation Trust. However, as part of their Bats and the built environment series, the BCT has produced a condensed, user-friendly version of these guidelines: Bats and lighting in the UK.

Lux chart showing impact of lighting on bats

Lux chart showing the emergence of different species at varying light levels.

Bat roosts and trees

Schwelger box in holly tree

Schwelger bat boxes like this one in a holly tree can provide excellent homes for bats.

Bats have been found roosting in variety of places and require different kinds of roosts throughout the year to meet their various needs. One of the most popular roost sites is in trees.

Native broad-leaf tree species, such as oak, beech and ash, are particularly suitable for bats, but nearly all woodlands and trees have the potential for bat roosts. The older the tree, the better!

Bats cannot dig or bore into trees meaning they use naturally occurring holes and crevices in the tree’s structure. Our native bats evolved to roost in trees however, due to the decline in trees of a suitable age, bats now prefer roosting in built structures.

According to Bat Conservation Trust guidelines, when carrying out any tree work you will need to consider if the tree in question has any bat roost features such as: cracks and splits in the bark, a hollow trunk, loose bark, cavities in the trunk, or dense ivy on the trunk. If the tree does possess one of these qualities, it is likely to have ‘bat potential’. Advice will need to be sought from an ecologist who can establish any impacts the works are likely to have. The ecologist should also be able to help with any European Protected Species licences that maybe required.

Jordans Farm Partnership to start

Pollen nectar strip and Sally

Sally McColl, Ecological Consultant, assessing a pollen nectar strip for her JFP environment plan

A new farming model known as the Jordans Farm Partnership has been created. This
is a unique partnership between the Wildlife Trusts, Jordans, Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF), and the Prince’s Countryside Fund, which will aim to promote wildlife-friendly farming.

Jordans get grain from  42 arable farms, three of which are in Norfolk. Under the new partnership, each farm will be working with an advisor from their local wildlife trust to compile a unique farm environment plan to complement the arable production on the farm.

In Norfolk our ecological consultancy, Norfolk Wildlife Services, will act as the advisor on behalf of Norfolk Wildlife Trust. Sally McColl, ecological consultant, will be working with the three farmers to write and implement  the environment plan for each site, advising on wildlife enhancements to their farms and assisting with Countryside Stewardship Scheme applications. Each plan will ensure that a tenth of the farm is used to support nature. This includes growing crops to provide food for farmland birds, and pollen and nectar for butterflies, bees and other pollinating insects, to create wildlife corridors around the farm and to have well-managed hedgerows and water courses.

Tony Juniper, the President of The Wildlife Trust welcomed the new partnership, commenting: “The Jordan’s Farm Partnership could not be more welcome. Finding ways to tread the common ground that already exists can help forge a new path toward more enlightened practices. That, in turn, will bring benefits right across the board, including for the farmers who are in a powerful position to make a huge positive difference.”

This new scheme is being trialled on five farms and will be rolled out across the other 37 farms over the next two years. Part of the scheme will involve field trials and knowledge sharing as well as help with implementing the farm environment plans.

Together the farms within the partnership manage over 44,500 acres of land, so once fully up and running, that will make at least 4,450 acres of land that will help wildlife.

New level 1 GCN licence

Ben Christie Assistant Ecologist

Ben preparing for the great crested newt season in 2017.

NWS is proud to announce that our assistant ecologist, Ben Christie, recently acquired his level 1 great crested newt (GCN) class licence. Great crested newts are European Protected Species, meaning a license is needed to work with the species. Ben has worked exceptionally hard to obtain his license which permits him to survey great crested newts by hand, net, torch, aquatic funnel traps and bottle traps.


Bat survey health and safety training

NWS staff have undertaken new bat survey health and safety training.

Health and safety training

Sally, Carolyn and Chris now know how to enter derelict buildings safely during initial inspections.

Members of the team have learnt how to safely survey a building during initial inspections. Ecologists often have to enter derelict buildings to get a feel for their bat roost potential. Following this training, NWS staff now knows how best to avoid hazards, such as inhalation of asbestos.