20 Dec 2022
Following four successful years delivering ecology consultancy services to our client the Gentoo Group, we are proud to announce that, after a competitive tender event, our northern ecology team have secured a further four-year contract with this North East based housing association.
Delta-Simons Associate Ecologist and contract manager for the Gentoo Group framework, Jonathan Spencer, provides an overview of the contract and outlines why Ecology consultancy is essential on renovation and refurbishment projects.
About The Gentoo Group
The Gentoo Group are a charitable benefit society organisation, helping to deal with the UK housing crisis locally by building hundreds of new, modern homes for rent, and manage 30,000 properties across the North East. This includes helping and supporting people back into work, vulnerable tenants, people affected by domestic abuse, antisocial behaviour, hate crime and hate incidents and young people to live independently.
As part of their renovation and refurbishment project, Gentoo invites environmental consultancies to tender for their Ecology Framework which covers the Sunderland, Washington, Houghton and Hetton areas. This is to ensure that the works are successfully delivered without adversely affecting roosting bats and nesting birds.
They invest millions of pounds every year to keep homes safe, secure and in good repair. To help reduce the UK housing shortage, Gentoo plans to build 1,200 new homes for rent in Sunderland by 2026. Working alongside the Gentoo Group, Sunderland AFC, Sunderland City Council, University of Sunderland, and Sunderland College, are working to make sure Sunderland is a dynamic, vibrant, and healthy city for both the environment and its residents.
The Ecology Framework
As part of their renovation and refurbishment project, the Gentoo Group are contracting for essential works on their current asset portfolio. The work consists of re-roofing and the re-building of gable ends of occupied properties within Gentoo stock. As the works are taking place on the external façade of the property, there is potentially a risk of disturbance to roosting bats or nesting birds. Gentoo was seeking to appoint an Ecological Consultancy to carry out Bat Roost Potential (BRP) and nesting bird surveys of all of the properties requiring renovation and refurbishment.
Bats are afforded robust legal protection as a European Protected Species. Surveys commence with a BRP survey of the property requiring the works, and this can be undertaken at any time of year. Following the BRP, if there is potential for bats to be roosting, up to three nocturnal (dusk and dawn) bat surveys are required to be undertaken between May and August (inclusive). A licence is required from Natural England to disturb a bat or bat roost, and appropriate mitigation is required under the licence, which takes the form of either a European Protected Species Licence (EPSL) or registration of the property under the Bat Low Impact Class Licence, if applicable.
Our Ecology team benefits from having a registered Bat Low Impact Class Licence Consultant in-house. Registering a property (or ‘Site’) under this licence, where it fits the criteria, reduces the timescale and duration of both the application process and the mitigation works themselves.
Birds’ nests cannot be disturbed until all chicks have fledged. Typically the nesting period during which checks should be undertaken prior to renovation and refurbishment works is between March and August, inclusive.
Trusted Industry Experts
Our Ecology team has supported the Gentoo Group with Ecological Consultancy Services throughout 2018 – 2022 on their previous framework, completing bat and nesting bird surveys of 4,166 residential properties, with a further 678 due to be completed this year. This has provided our team with invaluable experience, now knowing Gentoo’s requirements and expectations for a successful contract. The exposure our Ecology team have of the Sunderland area over the past four years has facilitated their ability to develop a clear picture of bat and bird habitat requirements in this urban area, an advantage when gauging survey efforts required across the different residential areas. This experience helps to serve the client and ensure that their programme of renovation works can be run without any delays.
Associate Director and National Ecology Team Lead Dr Charlotte Sanderson-Lewis commented on our framework win stating;
“I’m proud that our ecology team have delivered a successful contract over the past four years and have demonstrated their ability as a trusted consultancy.
This framework win with our client, Gentoo Group, is testament to the quality of work we deliver at Delta-Simons, a trusted partner for many development teams.”
Our team of specialist ecologists has worked for public and private companies on a wide range of projects across industrial, residential, retail, commercial, renewable energy, transport and waste sectors. We are proud of our track record in providing high-quality technical advice to our clients.
The Ecology team supports clients, particularly those involved in the acquisition, management or development of land, who require expert advice and practical implementation of ecological mitigation to challenging ecological constraints. The Ecology Team are members of The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.
Get In Touch
Whether you are planning your new development or looking to re-develop your current Assets Under Management (AUM), our Environmental and Ecology teams can help you successfully secure your planning application and mitigate delays to your project development.
If you are looking to partner with an environmentally conscious, Ecology & Arboriculture services supplier, get in touch with our team by emailing email@example.com.
About The Author
With over 12 years of experience working as an ecological consultant, Jonathan has extensive experience working on large infrastructure schemes (road improvement and pipeline schemes), large-scale residential (5000+ houses) developments, and commercial and industrial developments. Additionally, Jonathan has undertaken the role of Ecological Clerk of Works (ECoW) on a number of large infrastructure projects.
Skills and Expertise:
- Preliminary Ecological Appraisals;
- Protected Species Surveys;
- Preparation of protected species mitigation licenses;
- Design and Implementation of mitigation strategies for protected species;
- ECoW responsibilities;
- Biodiversity Net Gain: and
- Production of Ecological Enhancement Plans
As our Regional Lead for the North, Jonathan currently holds a Natural England Great Crested Newt (GCN) survey licence, Natural England Bat survey licence, and Roost Visitors licence. Jonathan is a trusted consultant having been the named consultant on numerous bat, badger and Great Crested Newt (GCN) licences. lHe is a full member of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM).
M: +44 (0)758 0111 946
T: +44 (0)1522 882 555
Linkedin: Jonathan Spencer