I recently attended CIEEM’s (Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management) 2016 Spring Conference in London. The conference was an opportunity to:
- understand the principal changes to CIEEM’s guidance on Ecological Impact Assessment;
- discuss what makes a good EcIA from the perspectives of key stakeholders;
- learn about new approaches (and challenges) to taking account of ecosystem services as part of the EcIA process; and
- explore good practice through analysis of case studies.
Of particular interest was the talk by Tim Hounsome CEcol MCIEEM on the requirement for a standardised approach to breeding bird surveys. There is currently no definitive guidance on the number of surveys required with ecologists undertaking between 1 – 10 surveys. The average number is 3, which is loosely based on the BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) technique. However, initial research undertaken by Biocensus suggests that 6 visits may be more prudent. During their trials 90% of species were recorded after 5.5 surveys and 95% of species were recorded after 6.5 surveys. Further clarification is required on when surveys should be undertaken, at what time of year and how long for.