22 January 2018
In a demonstrative display of WYG’s teamwork and collaboration, our Planning and Waste and Sustainability teams received an introductory ecology lesson at our Manchester office earlier this month. The session sought to raise awareness of sensitive habitats and protected species, advocating a uniform approach to treating both with care.
To help illustrate the point, Candice Howe, Senior Ecologist at WYG, presented the furry little bat named Millie to dispel misconceptions about creatures that don’t necessarily have the greatest reputation.
No doubt, there was initially a reasonable amount of apprehension in the room, said Rachel Kerr, Associate Ecologist: “There are lots of misconceptions about bats, especially given the associations with Halloween and vampires. Plus, most people haven’t seen a bat. It always helps to have something in front of you, so hopefully, we were able to separate fact from fiction.”
Millie, a soprano pipistrelle, is a long-term rescue and cannot be releaseed into the wild due to being unable to fly. The rehabilitation process encompasses a thorough exercise in caution, and all rehabilitators must undergo training and vaccinations against rabies.
The session provided a grander overview over the role and functions of the various ecology teams throughout WYG’s offices in the UK. It also covered relevant policy and legislation pertaining to conservation, appropriate planning for programmes concerning notable habitats, as well as red flags and practices to be aware of to avoid delays and unnecessary hiccups.
Although the bat featured as the guest of honour, the meeting also addressed other notable protected species in detail. Many, if not all, development can potentially affect UK biodiversity, requiring ecological assessment and mitigation. The presence of protected species, habitats or invasive weeds also bears legal implications.
Rachel concluded: “It’s just a good practice to make sure everyone’s aware of the importance and sensitivity of the habitats and species, and it’s an equally good habit to see to that everyone across various disciplines is aware of what they’re doing in those sensitive areas to eliminate any unnecessary harm.”