On the 19th of July I went to the Islington Ecology Centre, bright and early, to find out about the latest on managing wildlife on construction sites. The event, organised by CIRIA, was to update us on the forthcoming publication, Working with Wildlife: Guidance for the construction industry. It was interesting to hear directly from one of its authors, John Newton, The Ecology Consultancy MD, and from a contractor who has to put it into practice on a daily basis. It was also good to be reminded that nature is an integral part of everything we do and we should embrace it rather than try to distance ourselves from it.
John took us on a whirlwind tour of the current legislation, around dealing with protected species on site, and gave the audience a few graphic illustrations of what can go wrong if contractors try to cut corners. There have been so many changes to the regulations in recent years that Natural England has made a commitment to consolidate it and make it easier to implement for those on the ground.
The main messages that came from the contractor was that getting it wrong can slow up the whole process and the importance of working closely with ecologists at the earliest opportunity to get it right.
The Working with Wildlife update gives guidance, not only on best practice when dealing with protected species, but also provides a useful tool for contractors on how to deal with ecology professionals. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product soon.