Archive for the ‘Latest news’ Category

National Wildlife Crime Unit to continue operating

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

The Government has confirmed that it will fund the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit for at least the next four years.  Funding for the unit was due to expire at the end of March 2016 and it appeared to be facing a very uncertain future. Funding from DEFRA and the Home Office has now been secured to enable the work of the unit to continue until at least 2020.

The National Wildlife Crime Unit supports police forces throughout the UK in preventing and detecting wildlife crime. The unit has a team of specialist officers who provide assistance with investigations. In the UK wildlife crimes include:

  • Bat persecution
  • Hare coursing
  • Deer poaching
  • Fish poaching
  • Badger persecution – including baiting, snaring, shooting, and disturbance of setts
  • Egg theft / collection
  • Bird of prey persecution – through poisoning, trapping, shooting, disturbance of nest and/or theft of chicks

In the UK, bat populations have declined considerably over the last century. Bats are still under threat from building and development work that affects roosts, loss of habitat, the severing of commuting routes by roads, and threats in the home including cat attacks, flypaper and some chemical treatments of building materials. Other potential threats can include wind turbines and lighting if they are sited on key bat habitat on near roosts.

Great crested newt populations have declined over the last century, not just in the UK but across Europe. The species is under threat from development of buildings and infrastructure, pollution and farming practices. Construction of buildings and roads can directly affect newt habitat such as ponds and foraging areas, and can lead to fragmentation of habitat. Pollution of ponds can render breeding habitat unsuitable for use. Intensification of farming can lead to loss of ponds from the landscape, fragmentation of newt foraging and commuting habitat and degradation of breeding ponds by increase in nutrient levels and sediment.

If you witness a suspected wildlife crime in action call 999 immediately and ask for the police.

For all other enquires call your local Police on 101. Alternatively, contact your local Police Force directly.

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Bat & GCN licences issued by Scottish Natural Heritage

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

Great crested newts (GCN) & Natterjack toads

Great crested newts, Natterjack toads and the places in which they live are given protection under the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (as amended) as European protected species.  Licences are available for certain purposes to permit actions that might otherwise constitute an offence in relation to them. Toby Hart, Kathryn James, Stewart Bradshaw and Paul Cassidy are now licenced to handle and disturb GCN in Scotland:

Toby – licence no. 72676

Kathryn – licence no. 72744

Stewart – licence no. 72762

Paul – licence no. 72752

Bats

All bat species in Scotland are given protection under the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (as amended) as European protected species.  Licences are available for certain purposes to permit actions that might otherwise constitute an offence in relation to bats. Toby Hart and Kathryn James are now licenced to handle and disturb bats in Scotland:

Toby – licence no. 72950

Kathryn – licence no. 72943

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Field identification skills certificates (FISC)

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

In early summer 2015 the UES ecologists tested their plant identification skills by completing BSBI’s Field Identification Skills Certificate (FISC). The test determines your botanical skill level from 1 (basic ID skills) to 7 (outstanding) and measures your botanical knowledge in-situ. For some of us it was our first time while the others were hoping to improve on last year’s results and move up the botanical skills pyramid.

The test started with a lab session where we had to ID 30 specimens, all collected from around the British Isles.  It started with some common species such as Cock’s foot, Ivy and Ox-eye daisy, then moved on to the lesser known species including Curved sedge, Sea sandwort, Navelwort and Bladder campion. The next part of the test was out in the field at a small site near Wenlock Edge. We were given a couple of hours to record as many species in the small site as possible, keeping in mind we would score minus points for incorrect species. Our recorded species were then marked against the species logged by the professional botanist.

A couple of weeks later the results were in: Graduate ecologists Suzie Hine and Declan Ghee gained Level 3 (Phase 1 Habitat level). Toby Hart, Kathryn James and Stewart Bradshaw all gained Level 4 (NVC level).

UES will be taking part in the test again this July.

Low impact bat class licence

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Natural England introduced the new Low Impact Bat Class Licence in 2015. We are pleased to announce that our Managing Director Toby Hart is now one of only a handful of registered consultants.

The licence will cover the disturbance and/or capture of bats and/or damage or destruction of bats roosts of low conservation significancei.e. feeding perches/roosts, days and night roosts, affecting no more than 3 of the more common species of bats present in small numbers.

The 7 species covered are Common pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus, Soprano pipistrelle Pipistrellus pygmaeus, Brown long-eared Plecotus auritus, Whiskered Myotis mystacinus, Brandt’s Myotis brandtii, Daubenton’s Myotis daubentonii and Natterer’s Myotis nattereri.

The licence will mean a quicker, simpler and cheaper route to gaining a European Protected Species Licence in certain circumstances

Bat survey volunteer

Monday, April 28th, 2014

United Environmental Services is looking for a volunteer for the bat survey season (May to September). The applicant must have their own transport and be available to work in the evenings and early mornings.

Travel expenses will be paid by UES.

Further information on bat surveys can be found here.

Please send your CV to kathryn@ues.org.uk if you are interested.

Great crested newt survey volunteer

Friday, March 28th, 2014

United Environmental Services is looking for a volunteer for the Great crested newt survey season (mid-March to mid-June). The applicant must have their own transport and be available to work in the evenings and early mornings.

Travel expenses will be paid by UES.

Further information on Great crested newt surveys can be found here.

Please send your CV to kathryn@ues.org.uk if you are interested.

Lunar Hornet Clearwing Moth found on a survey in Manchester City Centre

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

The Lunar Hornet Clearwing Sesia bembeciformis, is a more common relative of the Hornet Clearwing Sesia apiformis, both species are in fact moths. They imitate hornets in appearance, flight and they even emit a buzzing sound when flying.

Hornet moths are a fantastic example of what is known as ‘Batesian mimicry’ where harmless species have evolved to imitate more harmful or distasteful species. The idea being that predators are likely to avoid the harmless moth based on a previous unpleasant experience with a hornet or other similar species.

The caterpillars are most often found in willow trunks and can remain in the larval stage for up to two years before emerging as a moth. This photo was taken in Manchester City Centre.

 

Great crested newt / bat survey volunteer

Monday, April 8th, 2013

United Environmental Services is looking for a volunteer for the Great crested newt survey season (mid-March to mid-June) and bat survey season (May to September).

Further information on Great crested newt surveys can be found here and bats here.

Please send your CV to kathryn@ues.org.uk if you are interested.

 

Great crested newt survey volunteer

Thursday, March 21st, 2013
United Environmental Services has recently taken on volunteer Zoe Haysted:

‘I knew my placement year at Harper Adams University would be valuable in creating a more focused field of study, putting the theory into practice and helping my final year of studies including my dissertation. By volunteering with United Environmental Services, I hope to create a stepping stone into the ecological consultancy field, further my species identification and help towards gaining a Great crested newt protected species licence.

I am currently studying a BSc in Countryside and Environmental Management. My student placement is at Fenn’s, Whixalland Bettisfield Mosses National Nature Reserve. I was lucky to be a part of the ‘Long Term Monitoring Project’ run by Natural England, which looked at lowland bog flora and furthered my interest into surveying.

At university, I had the opportunity to survey farmland birds, invertebrates and crop vegetation with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. I also volunteer with Silverdale Community Country Park and am soon to participate in invertebrate surveys.

I am looking forward to volunteering with UES during the Great crested newt survey season, which will give me invaluable experience in amphibian ecology, identification and Great crested newt survey methods.’

Large female Great crested newt

Badgering badgers

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Leicester Magistrates’ Court found a landowner guilty of interfering with a badger sett by damaging and obstructing it.

The landowner had contractors dump soil and rubble on an area around the badger sett, which blocked and damaged it.

The landowner had previously contacted Natural England asking for permission to remove the sett, however Natural England had refused the license as it was unclear who would be undertaking the works.

The landowner was fined £6,215 in total and no badgers were harmed by the landowner’s actions.

Penalties for offences relating to badgers include fines of up to £5,000 plus up to six months imprisonment for each illegal sett interference, badger injury or death.

An extended phase one habitat survey will assess the likely presence of badgers and other protected species and prevent such problems arising. A targeted badger scoping survey will identify any evidence of badger presence on site allowing the landowner to avoid penalties.

UESis an ecological consultancy based in Cheshire who are experts in protected species issues relating to planning and development.

Badgers inherit their setts, some setts can be centuries old