Welcome to the latest edition of our newsletter. Our laboratory is based at the University of Wolverhampton and has now been operating for over 6 months. We have dedicated full time laboratory staff covering dust and bioaerosols and eDNA analysis who are supported by an experienced team of environmental scientists at Crestwood, led by Dr. Danen Appasamy, with further technical support from the University of Wolverhampton staff. Our current services include:
eDNA analysis for Great Crested Newts (further species soon); Dust filter measurements for inhalable and respirable dust; Dust characterisation (crystalline or amorphous silica); Provision of microbiological plates for site visits and optional incubation and enumeration; Bioaerosols sampling and analysis; and Water analysis.
eDNA Analysis at Crestwood Crestwood Environmental are delighted to announce that we have started provision of a new in-house service for the laboratory analysis of Environmental DNA (eDNA). eDNA refers to the DNA released into the environment by an organism (e.g. shed skin). DNA has species-specific chemistry that allows for species-specific tests to be developed. Simply by taking samples (e.g. water) and analysing this sample, strictly following protocols and using specialist, highly sensitive qPCR equipment, the presence of speciesspecific DNA can be determined. This provides a potentially much more cost-effective technique to quickly determine the recent presence (or likely absence) of an organism at a location. Applications In 2014, the Freshwater Habitats Trust published a report into research on the utilisation of eDNA techniques for the detection of Great Crested Newt (a European Protected Species or ‘EPS’) in a water body. The research showed that the technique correctly identified the presence of the species with over 99% accuracy, with zero ‘false positive’ results.
This has led to the technique becoming a recognised survey method (by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales) for the detection of Great Crested Newt. The technique cannot currently provide information on population size; it being a presence/ absence test only. For Great Crested Newts, the technique is currently acceptable for use in EPS licence and planning applications for samples taken between 15th April and 30th June (the core breeding season), and analysis of samples taken can be tested within the laboratory up to one month after taking the sample. Samples can be taken and tested at any time of year, but this can only prove presence, not absence, as the species is less likely to use the water bodies outside the breeding season. This can still be used to provide information on the risks associated with progressing your project, for example if timescales are tight. ‘Scoping out’ ponds from full surveys can be usefully achieved via this technique, in a costeffective manner, for example on linear projects or where there are numerous ponds within 500m of your development site. For other species (e.g. white clawed crayfish) year-round sampling windows can be used. The technique has numerous applications, including early detection of disruptive, invasive species, or to help survey for cryptic species, endangered species or species that would otherwise require experts to identify. Similarly, the technique can be used in combination with ‘citizen science’ work, e.g. for nationwide monitoring programmes. The technique also has well-established applications for use in archaeological analysis.
Crestwood’s Research We are currently running a research project in conjunction with the University of Wolverhampton to develop the technique for different species and different environments. Carl Halford (our Environmental DNA Analysis Scientist) will lead this research. We would like to know which areas of research are of particular interest to you – so please contact Carl to discuss your key areas of interest. eDNA Awareness Survey As part of our ongoing research into the use of eDNA, Crestwood Environmental, in partnership with the Freshwater Habitats Trust, have released an eDNA awareness survey.
This aims to gather knowledge on current awareness of eDNA techniques and to help focus the research required. Please do take a couple of minutes to take this survey. If you would be interested in using Crestwood Environmental’s eDNA analysis service, or would like more information about costs, the technique, or our research, please contact Carl Halford via email: email@example.com. You may not be sure whether this technique will assist you on your projects, so do feel free to contact us for advice (at no obligation) to find the best solution for you.
Badger Cam We are currently involved in monitoring Badger setts with camera traps on a site in Staffordshire and captured two Badgers within the first week of monitoring. We will continue to monitor the sett for a period of four weeks to determine the level of activity at the sett as agreed with Natural England.
Ecological Impact Statement We have recently submitted ecology chapters for three separate proposed quarry developments in Derbyshire and Cheshire. The ES chapters pull together the survey data gathered over the last two years from a wide range of protected species and botanical surveys including wintering birds, bat transects and great crested newt surveys. In January 2016 CIEEM released the latest edition of the Guidelines for Ecological Impact Assessment. These have clarified the process for ecologists and streamlined the reporting
process to avoid repetition if producing ecological chapters. Alongside this, hot off the press in February 2016 is the eagerly awaited Bat Workers Guidelines from the Bat Conservation Trust. At Crestwood we make it part of our job to keep up with the latest guidance for ecological survey and reporting.Please contact Matt or Lucy with any ecology related queries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Seeking Permission to Build in a Historic Village Clients living in Gloucestershire needed to replace a dilapidated cart shed and garage with a garage and workshop that would meet with modern standards. They called upon Crestwoodâ€™s heritage service to produce reports for two planning applications. A heritage statement was produced for Conservation Area Consent. The settings issues were addressed through an assessment accompanied by photographic evidence proving that the proposals would have limited effects.
An archaeological desk-based assessment was produced for the main Planning Application. Our research established some potential. We discussed mitigation measures with our clients, which were then included in the report. For all archaeology and cultural heritage related queries please contact us: email@example.com or call 01902 229563 and ask for Mary Neale
Multi-disciplinary Working on Anaerobic Digestion Projects Crestwood Environmental have recently provided Archaeology, Landscape and Visual and Odour modelling inputs into two planning applications for farm based Anaerobic Digestion schemes in East Anglia. Archaeology and Cultural Heritage We examined the effects of the scheme on the settings of nearby heritage assets with assistance from the ZTV created by our landscape colleagues. We also reviewed the potential buried heritage assets within the site and the historical research informed the landscape assessment of baseline value. Justification for less than substantial harm to the setting of a nearby scheduled monument was sought by Historic England. Establishing the effect on potential buried heritage remains proved a greater challenge and we examined quotes and recommended contractors to undertake geophysical surveys to detect any buried heritage assets within the sites. On both sites the geophysical survey did not reveal remains worthy of preservation in-situ. We successfully negotiated with the local archaeology officer to minimise requirements for further investigatory work. Odour Modelling The air dispersion modelling provided guidance on the height and locations of the stacks and silage clamps. This in turn provided the baseline for the landscape and visual assessments.
Crestwood’s team work resulted in each technical specialist liaising closely with the Crestwood project manager on a day-to day basis to ensure work was delivered on time and any changes made to one report were potentially reflected in the reports for the other disciplines. Landscape and Visual All technical work closely follows the Guidelines for Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (3rd Edition) and the Landscape Institute Guidance for Photography and Photomontage. We adopt a thorough but focussed approach to ensure that reporting is defendable at Appeal but as concise as possible. Advantages of using Crestwood for several disciplines:
Single Project Manager (Director or Senior Consultant) saving coordination time for the client and/or planning consultant;
Joined-up thinking between professionals of different disciplines experienced in working on solving problems quickly for clients;
Potential interrelated environmental constraints and opportunities identified at an early stage; and
Potential savings on baseline research, site visits and expenses.
Bat EPS Licence The Crestwood ecology team has helped our client gain an EPS development licence for bats in relation to a multi-roost site in Staffordshire. The Site supports maternity, satellite and hibernation roosts for Brown Long-Eared bats as well as day roosts for Common Pipistrelle and Daubentonâ€™s bats. As part of compensation measures for the loss of the roosts, a building specifically designed
for roosting bats has been built at the Site, and six bat boxes have been installed on trees several months prior to demolition. The licence will require ongoing supervision of building demolition with capture and relocation of roosting bats where required as well as monitoring of the bat boxes and the dedicated roost building for five and ten years respectively following completion of the development.
Natural England: New Water Vole Class Licence (WML-CL31) Why?
What is displacement?
The intentional disturbance of water voles and burrows by means of â€˜displacementâ€™ to facilitate development activities was previously covered under management plans and Natural England were seeking enhanced controls to ensure better protection of Water Vole habitat. A new licence class (WML-CL31) came into effect through Natural England on the 1st January 2016.
Displacement refers to the action of removal of vegetation and destruction of burrows along a bank to encourage water voles to move to suitable adjacent habitat. If no adjacent suitable habitat is available, habitat creation can be undertaken.
How is this new licence different? The water vole class licence (WML-CL31) is granted to individual ecologists who meet the required criteria of the licence. The class licence can then be used on any site where the licenced ecologist is supervising and has implemented a method for net conservation gain.
What does the new licence mean for ecologists? Work can be undertaken under the supervision of the licence holder, as well as accredited agents and those working with accredited agents, on numerous sites where displacement is required. Any activities outside the scope of the new class licence will require the ecological consultant to apply for a site specific licence.
What does the new licence mean for developers? Activities which require permanent displacement of water voles, into habitat that is both suitable for and does not already contain a population of water voles, must be undertaken under the supervision of a licenced ecologist. The cutting of vegetation must take place and be completed during the period 15 February to 15 April inclusive. Activities which require trapping/translocating water voles must be undertaken under a conservation licence (with or without a class licence). If any activities that are being undertaken are carried out incorrectly or under the wrong licence, this could class as a criminal offence with fines of up to ÂŁ5,000 per offence and/or potential prison sentences of up to 6 months.
For all ecology related queries please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01902 229563 and ask for Lucy Cash or Matthew Wall
Waste: Fire Prevention Plan
In response to a number of recent high profile fires at waste facilities, a joint action plan between Defra and the Environment Agency (EA) to tackle waste crime was undertaken. The EA issued the Fire Prevention Plan (FPP) Guidance in March 2015 and proposed amendments to the Guidance were issued for open consultation in November 2015. A FPP includes an assessment of fire risk at waste facilities and the measures required to prevent, detect, suppress, mitigate and contain fires. The guidance applies to all combustible materials (regardless of waste volumes) including paper, cardboard, plastics, rubber, wood, fragmentiser waste, textiles, scrap metals, refuse derived fuel, waste electrical equipment, compost and biomass. It does not apply to landfill sites, inert or storage of coal, materials / waste including; flammable combustible liquids and gases, hazardous or dangerous substances under the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations.
As of 1 December 2015 any new Permits being applied for or in the process of being determined are required to have an EA approved FPP before issue of the Permit. The EA have a specialist panel to review the FPPâ€™s and ensure they are satisfactory. 21 Standard Rules Permits have been adapted to include an Approved FPP prior to issue. Any existing Permits with combustible materials will require a FPP to be approved by the EA in a phased implementation programme (yet to be confirmed), when the Permit is varied or immediately following a fire. Crestwood can assist by confirming if a FPP is required for your facility and if required produce the FPP on your behalf. We also intend to respond to the open Consultation to ensure that the guidance provides the necessary protection to human health and the environment, whilst still being workable for industry.
For all waste related queries please contact us: email@example.com or call 01902 229563 and ask for Stephen Barnes or Sid Lambert
Environmental Permit Success
Crestwood have helped our client to successfully gain two Bespoke Environmental Permits for the dewatering of gully waste at two sites in Yorkshire. The facilities allow gully waste to be imported and dewatered using flocculants and settlement in a containerised system. The dried (solid) fraction of the gully waste is then suitable for disposal at landfill which significantly reduces the tonnage and costs for disposal.
Crestwood have also provided practical Environmental Management Systems and are helping the Operator to obtain the correct level of Technical Competence to manage their operations.
For all waste related queries please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01902 229563 and ask for Stephen Barnes or Sid Lambert
Bioaerosol and Odour Updates
Emissions conference in Birmingham, 9th December 2015
Renewable Energy Association – Health and Safety Working Group
The emissions conference was held on the 9th December 2015 at the Thinktank museum in Birmingham. The sessions covered a wide range of presentations on policy and regulations, health impacts and practical steps to reduce emissions such as dust, odour and bioaerosols. The conference was attended by many of the industry experts and operators. Dr Danen Appasamy presented a session titled “odour and bioaerosols; mitigating the risks.” The presentation outlined current best practice for the sample and analysis of bioaerosols and dust, together with the mitigation strategies available.
Crestwood Environmental Ltd. are now represented on the REA Health and Safety Working Group. The group comprises the UK leaders in bioaerosol research and provides assistance to the industry in general in addition to developing protocols. Dr. Danen Appasamy attended the first quarterly meeting of the working group on the 12th January in London which included discussion of the training needs in the industry, accidents reported and a general update including the forthcoming REA Conference in July.
Nasal Ranger detecting body odour on Channel 4! The Nasal Ranger used by Crestwood has been used by Channel 4 for a programme on beauty products. The programme, presented by Davina McCall, tests a range of new natural beauty products with the nasal ranger being used to successfully quantify odour from the human body. The programme is currently being edited and will air in early Autumn 2016. For all bioaerosol and odour related queries please contact us: email@example.com or call 01902 229563 and ask for Dan Appasamy
Planning Permission Granted for Crematorium Crestwood Environmental was commissioned to provide heritage advice so that our clients could gain planning permission to construct a crematorium adjacent to a former quarry near Romsey. We established to what extent the quarry had impacted on archaeological potential within the site by:
assessing the planning documents submitted for mineral extraction applications; overlaying drawings showing heritage monuments, the Proposed Development and ground investigations; measuring the extent and depth of truncation and the depth of surviving gravels; and establishing the limited potential for surviving Palaeolithic remains.
The evidence compiled proved that the proposed impact would not be greater than previous impacts. Through discussions with our clients and the local archaeology officer we agreed that no further archaeological investigations were required.
For all archaeology and cultural heritage related queries please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01902 229563 and ask for Mary Neale
New Starters! David Lowe
Senior Environmental Consultant
Principal Landscape Architect
David holds a BSc (Hons) degree from London University and has a Masterâ€™s degree in Environmental Control. He became a Chartered geologist in 1995 and is a Chartered member of CIWEM and a Chartered Environmentalist.
Lisa is a Principal Landscape Architect and has over 13 yearsâ€™ experience working in the landscape profession. She is an experienced and versatile landscape architect with excellent written, design and communication skills, with expertise across the full spectrum of landscape architectural services.
David started his career with Severn Trent Water gaining experience in all aspects of the water industry. From 2002 until 2014 David was Environment Manager for the Environment Agency (EA) latterly working in the West Midlands where he led a department of circa 85 professionally qualified staff. David was frequently deployed as Strategic manager at the EA in response to major incidents including flooding and pollution. David has worked on several high profile prosecution cases and represented the EA at public inquiries. David has been spokesman for the EA regularly in public forum, making a number of conference presentations. In addition David is media trained and has represented the EA on national TV and radio programmes.
Lisa has particular skills in the coordination, management and execution of large scale projects involving multidisciplinary technical teams, including DCO applications, EIAs and design based projects. Her large-scale projects have included nuclear power stations, tidal lagoons and energy from waste plants, through to smaller scale residential developments, university campuses and town centre improvement schemes. Lisa has also worked on a number of leisure facilities, including the fifth Center Parcs holiday village as well as Green Belt and Green Buffer studies. Lisa has been a chartered member of the Landscape Institute for 11 years and has been a Mentor for the Pathway to Chartership.
Environmental DNA Analysis Scientist
Carl is an Environmental DNA Analysis Scientist, working as a Knowledge Transfer Partnership Associate, focussing on the development of DNA sampling and analysis techniques for ecological application (including protected species, invasive species and species of conservation concern).
Jenny joined Crestwood after completing two survey seasons in other ecological consultancies, where she gained experience undertaking protected species surveys, as well as Phase 1 habitat surveys.
Carl holds a BSc degree (with honours) in Biological Sciences and an MRes in Molecular and Cellular Biology, both from the University of Birmingham. His MRes research involved two laboratory-based projects, focusing upon the function of regulatory proteins involved in the regulation of gene expression. He has also worked at Rothamsted Research, in Hertfordshire, on a variety of cutting edge agricultural projects.
She holds a MSc in Ecology and Management of the Natural Environment, as well as a BSc with honours in Environmental Fieldwork Practice. She is currently assisting with project report work, protected species surveys, and habitat surveys, and while she holds a class 1 Great Crested Newt licence, she is working towards her Dormouse and Bat class 1 licences.
Client Testimonials Recent feedback for Crestwood over the past few months includes:
‘We knew from the start this would be a tight programme and I am very grateful to you all for all the effort, expertise, flexibility and professionalism which has been evident throughout the process thus far and which has enabled us to meet the target of getting this application validated before Christmas. It is a pleasure working with you all. I am aware that many of you are very ably supported by colleagues, many of whom I do not know but whose roles and efforts have been equally important in getting to this point and I should be very grateful if you would please pass on my thanks and appreciation for their valuable contribution.’
“The scheme was unanimously granted planning consent by the County Council yesterday. Big thank you to everyone who worked on the project, especially given the challenging timescales set by the client!” Senior Planning Consultant
In relation to a Solar Farm LVIA : “Cracking report with no changes as far as I can see.” Senior Planning Consultant
In relation to ecology and landscape Expert
undertaken at a number of sites: “Lucy is a
Witness work undertaken for a proposed
first rate ecologist, she knows her stuff and is
Marina: “Please thank your team for doing an
diligent and pragmatic in her approach. She
outstanding piece of work. I would happily
has successfully helped us to deliver new
recommend Crestwood’s services to anyone
developments with sensitive ecology issues
seeking a professional service. Delighted to
being readily resolved.
appear in your testimonials. You deserve it!”
I am more than
happy to recommend her and her team.” Managing Director Planning Director
Employee of the Quarter! It goes without saying that all our staff members are hard working and committed to providing a first class service to our clients. To ensure individual employees’ efforts and achievements are recognised, we started an Employee of the Quarter programme; a vote that is ‘by the staff’ ‘for the staff’. The accolade doesn’t go without a reward of course - winners can choose between a meal for two at Marco Pierre White’s restaurant in Birmingham, or a choice of vouchers to spend on themselves.
January 2016 Katherine Webster - Landscape Architect Nominated for always being willing to help, always being cheerful, friendly and having a positive outlook and attitude. She will always make time to help, and has a pleasant and professional manner when dealing with clients. She also worked extremely hard to achieve Chartership status with the Landscape Institute which she completed in December 2015.
October 2015 Adam Collinge—Senior Landscape Architect Nominated for his continuing hard work and dedication over the last quarter and his successful expert witness work. Adam is hard-working and approachable and goes above and beyond what is required. He is an incredibly
member of the team!
In Conversation with… Adam Collinge (Senior Landscape Architect) When did you join Crestwood? October 2010
What is your favourite travel destination? For a short break I love the Lake District - I have had many a happy school, university and camping trip around those lakes. One of my favourite cities to visit is Paris particularly if you stay away from the main tourist areas and go to some of the little known gems of the city. Some of the parks and open spaces are outstanding. Visiting Rhodes was also one of my favourite holidays in the last 10 years. However, there are plenty of other places I want to visit and would love to see each of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World - unfortunately they change the list fairly regular so who knows where I’ll end up.
Why did you choose your career? I have always had an interest in Geography and the Environment from a young age going on to study these at Durham University. I love the outdoors and the countryside and it’s always nice to get away from civilisation for at least a few hours from time to time! However, I also wanted to put my interests and skills to good use through design, policy development and practical projects. Landscape Architecture offered me the ideal route in ensuring I could maintain my interest in the environment, but also doing something practical on a day to day basis that could make a positive difference.
If you could choose to be on any TV game show, which one would it be? Bullseye (the original Jim Bowen version) everyone loves a bit of bully!? The show was a big part of a Saturday night for most kids in the late 80’s, early 90’s - normally sandwiched somewhere between Dad watching Baywatch and your Mum wanting to watch Blind Date. The prizes were rubbish, the questions were tough (considering you only won about £2) and the poor risk assessment Tony Green would have had to sign when the non-darts players threw their darts - it was gripping stuff! You wouldn’t get away with it these days.
ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certification were both achieved in December.
Katherine Webster was successful in passing her Landscape Institute Chartership exam in November 2015.
Mary Neale will continue recent work with the local charity, the Old Tree Nursery, as Crestwood’s charity co-ordinator.
The Crestwood Office held a very successful Bake-Off in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust on the 11th February and raised £100.00!