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Tim Reed Ecological Consultants Case Studies

Birds, bats and EIAs

Tim Reed Ecological Consultants works as a scientific, ornithological  and ecological expert reviewer of documents submitted for planning proposals. This may eventually include Expert Witness work at Public Inquiries.


Our role is to look at the quality of the ecological, ornithological, bat and other data provided by the would-be developers for sites, and to assess whether the data are suitable for determining the range of impacts ( often stated as no impacts) claimed by both developers and opponents.


In each location we look at the site in detail: from field visits and then the variable quality of data and methods used in formal submissions; although these data are often poorly presented, and methods are often deficient. These are then used to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the development case. If we think there is a case, we submit written evidence, based on examination of the data and documents provided by both sides,  and if called to Inquiry are cross-examined at length by QCs. 


We continue to be asked to review the data provided by  developers for individual  housing developments through to road schemes, and provide impartial advice for birds, bats and wider ecological issues.

Wind farms Norfolk


Housing developments

Like any other proposal, housing demands suitable data to assess possible impacts- especially when Protected Species such as bats are involved.


The site shown here failed to gather suitable data, used incorrect data sources and made unsubstantiated claims without data to back them up; they were also out of date. The result was a data set that was not fit-for-purpose in any sense.


If planners are to make an informed decision, then they need suitable, correctly gathered data, with a clear assessment of limitations. Otherwise, developers may well be asked to go back and get new (more suitable) data, and risk a year's delay. In this case, this happened- but the methods were still wrong and data were missing.


Data and reliability


One of the recurrent themes in our work is data reliability.  As we note below, if the data presented claim something, then it had better be real.


As a result of our interventions we've built up a large data base of data to look at. Since the start of 2017, we've produced a growing number of peer reviewed papers that look at the assumptions/ presumptions in data sets and EIAs and EcIAs. Many are not what they claim. As they underpin often elaborate and multi million pound projects, with potentially large footprints that matters quite a lot.




Motorway service areas

Like any other potential development, motorways and support areas- especially service areas- need careful planning.


We worked on a possible service area in the north of England. Potentially sited in an ancient woodland, we advised that its placement, rationale and methods used in surveys, and resultant data were all inappropriate for planning  purposes.


We expect that if a developer claims to have done something, then they did, and can show it. In this case, the data and methods were not fully as claimed, and some are missing, and could not demonstrate claims of no impacts. For a long time, it remained with planners to decide on the case.


The result of our work was to delay the proposal, for a minimum of two years, so that it hung in abeyance as the case started to unravel on data and procedural  grounds. In early 2020 the proposal was formally dropped.
Motorway service areas

Impact evaluation in the Ecuadorian Amazon Forest

Over a number of  years we  worked on projects in the forest in different parts of the Andean foothills. Our initial role there was a field-based evaluation of the potential impacts of the companies as they operated in little-altered rainforest. This reviewed the risks to the company and the environment of operational options in the short, medium and long term.


We designed studies to assess background change rates and potential operating  impacts on the rich biodiversity in the project areas over space and  time, and provided steering guidance and peer review scrutiny  to the local University Partner. We  made inputs into potential infastructure design and monitoring of effects as the operation expanded.


The main  project published the results in top-tier peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of Applied Ecology, as well as other more niche journals.


Biodiversity Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest


As one of our directors was the lead in the development of Commons Standards Monitoring for statutory conservation sites in the UK, it was natural that Government drew on our expertise when assessing how well the  Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) system was delivering conservation objectives in England.


We made a major input to a value-for-money study of Natural England's SSSIs by the National Audit Office (NAO). We designed the study with NAO and provided a specialist team of habitat experts to carry out the study in the field, and then provided  scientific support to NAO's economic analyses, before final submission to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee.



Sites of Special Scientific Interest


We spent a number of years working in Congo on an ecosystem service study, looking at how an energy company might recognise and minimise its biodiversity and ecosystem service (BES) impacts, and maximise the benefits for the rural communities in the area, over the full life cycle of the operation.


The initial input involved undertaking a BES risk assessment in the mix of rain forest, savannah and coast communities crossed by the company's infrastructure. This lead to developing baseline resource assessments and designing monitoring protocols for company and partner use, and their implementation.


Having designed the survey methods and requirements, the detailed field work is now being undertaken by a major American NGO and incorporated, as agreed, in the company's HSE systems.

Congo ecosystem