Ecology consultancy and surveys for planning and compliance

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Ten Years ISO 9001 Quality-Assured!
Adonis Ecology are proud to announce that we recently passed our ISO 9001 annual inspection and successfully upgraded our certification to ISO 9001:2015.  We have also added arboricultural surveys to our accreditation.  This accomplishment marks our 10 year anniversary of being ISO certified, having obtained our first certification in 2008, shortly after Adonis Ecology was formed.  Our managing director, Richard Sands, had a vision for a customer orientated, market-leading company and sought out the ISO certification to help him achieve that.  Ten years later and our ingrained company ethos for high standards and good customer service continues. 
 
ISO is the ‘International Organisation for Standardisation’ and has been in existence since 1947.  It is an independent, non-governmental international organisation with a membership of 161 national standards bodies.  It brings together experts from around the world to share knowledge and develop voluntary, market relevant International Standards.
 
By signing up to the ISO 9001:2015 standard, we have adopted a quality management system which is based on a number of principles including a strong customer focus, the motivation and implication of top management, the process approach and continual improvement.  Our customers and their agents can have confidence in knowing that our work is regularly monitored by external inspectors to make certain that we are working to the internationally recognised standards. 
 
As ecologists, we already work to the high professional standards required by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) and also the statutory expectations of Natural England but by voluntarily signing up for ISO 9001:2015, we have demonstrated our commitment to ongoing development and provision of a high quality service. 
 
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Reducing & Offsetting our Carbon Footprint
Adonis Ecology has furthered our commitment to reducing our environmental impact by entering the world of carbon offsetting. Our office already runs on 100% renewable energy through our electricity supplier and we are now offsetting the carbon dioxide produced through our travel to surveys, which is our other major energy use.

Carbon offsetting is a tricky science which works on the premise that the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere through certain activities (e.g. driving 100 miles in a petrol hatchback) is calculated and then balanced out or “offset” by either removing the same amount of carbon, or taking measures elsewhere to prevent the same amount of carbon being released. Sounds relatively straight-forward? It’s not.

Planting a tree is a wonderfully natural way to absorb carbon from the environment, with all the other benefits trees provide. Apart from the benefits to health and well-being of having trees and other greenspaces around us, tree provide valuable habitats for animals such as bats and birds, as well as supporting a wide range of invertebrates which in turn feed numerous other species. Add in the part they play in ecosystem services such as flood prevention, air and water quality improvements, and air cooling in urban areas, and trees are a valuable investment in the future. However, the point of offsetting carbon emissions is to prevent the negative effects of releasing the carbon dioxide from taking place, which means time has a part to play. Trees take time to grow and time to absorb that carbon, meaning time for that carbon to sit in the atmosphere, having its impact on our climate.

Most offsetting, therefore, goes down the route of financial contributions to schemes which reduce the carbon released in other areas (e.g. LED lights to replace incandescent, fuel efficient cooking stoves, renewable energy production). It’s still not simple, however, as in order to truly offset specific amounts, these reductions in emissions have to be reductions that wouldn’t have taken place without the offsetting contributions (giving an LED bulb to someone who was buying one anyway doesn’t count!).

Luckily for us at Adonis, there are a number of companies who specialise in carbon offsetting, who consider the factors above and, given the solutions may not be 100% perfect, we decided on a belt-and-braces approach in contributing to a project which aims to offset twice over by supporting verified carbon reduction projects AND planting trees in our local region.

So far, through Carbon Footprint Ltd., we have offset all of our driving CO2 emissions for the financial year April 2016 – March 2017 (5 tonnes) and funded the planting of 5 trees in the East of England. We are now in the process of calculating the latest year’s contributions. We are happy that we’ve done our utmost to counteract the potential impacts of our business, and we’ll continue to keep our eye on developments in this field, to make sure we’re doing the best we can in keeping our footprint small.

To find out more, give us a ring or fill in the contact form.
 
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Legal Update Course - European Protected Species
All the ecologists from Adonis Ecology attended the legal training course for professional ecologists at Freeths Solicitors in London on the 28th March 2018. This course covered the likely effect of Brexit, changes in government policies relating to Environmental Impact Assessment and European Protected Species (bats, great crested newts, dormice for example) and site licensing.

We attend legal update courses every couple of years to ensure that we can deliver advice to our clients that is as appropriate and proportionate as possible while helping our clients comply with wildlife legislation.

Of particular interest was learning more about district-level great crested newt licensing. In districts where this has been put in place (a minority at present) for some developments this can mean much reduced survey requirements for developers, a financial contribution rather than having to do substantial mitigation, and potentially significant savings on time. From what we have seen so far, if you are a developer needing a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal anyway, it would make sense to first see if your appraisal reveals a negligible or low risk of great crested newts, before paying out what may be an unnecessary extra for the district-level licence.

For more information and advice, give us a ring or fill in the contact form.
 
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Keeping up to date on bats
Two ecologists from Adonis Ecology attended the East of England Bat Conference in Ely on the 17th March 2018, so as to keep up to date on the latest in bat ecology.

Of particular interest was the talk by Sue Hooton, who discussed the role of the council ecologist. Council ecologists help Local Planning Authorities understand and apply wildlife legislation in their duties, including planning decisions. As part of that role, council ecologists read and comment on ecology reports submitted for planning applications. Sue Hooton is a council ecologist East Anglia, and she has a wealth of relevant knowledge and experience locally, including familiarity with many local bat roosts.

As bat issues can be complex, we particularly value knowledgeable council ecologists like Sue who make a significant difference to how quickly and smoothly a planning application can proceed.

For more information and advice, give us a ring or fill in the contact form.
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