I had thought that 2011 would be a year of consolidation however it turned out to be one of continued expansion and forward planning. Not only did our client base increase along with turnover but we also expanded the in-house team with Carlos Abrahams joining us as Technical Director.

During 2011 we have continued to lead the industry in the practical development of bioacoustic survey techniques. Our bat specialist Paul Howden-Leach has become recognised as the UK expert in full spectrum analysis of bat recordings. While this is the technical stuff that rarely concerns our clients it means that the data collected is not only efficiently processed but it is also highly defensible in the public inquiry arena. We are now being used by other ecological consultancies to analyse the data they have collected.

The work on bioacoustics continues and we will be announcing the funding of a major research project into the use of full-spectrum sound recording for bird surveys early in the new year.

Looking forward to 2012 we are anticipating a very exciting year. With a planned expansion to the scope of Baker Consultants work, we have made two significant appointments who will lead the consultancy into an entirely new area of work and expand our geographical coverage. Keep an eye on the blog for more info’.

In 2011 we continued with our philosophy of ‘making a difference’ whether it is to our clients, our staff or the ecological profession. 2012 promises to be even more exciting.

Baker Consultants is hosting a seminar at DLA Piper Manchester on Wednesday 28th September.

The seminar addresses ecological constraints to development and how to
overcome the legal hurdles. If you are a planner, planning consultant,
developer or ecologist, whether for a commercial organisation or local
authority, you are welcome to attend.

Ecological issues often cost developers time and money. Whether due to great crested newts, bats, water voles or SSSIs/European designated sites, developers find themselves dealing with legal hurdles which are often difficult to overcome. Recent case law has highlighted the pitfalls and the need to get your strategy right.

Date:            WEDNESDAY 28th September
Time:            4-5.30pm
Venue:         101 Barbiroli Square, Manchester
Booking:       amy.mallett@dlapiper.com

The seminar will be led by Penny Simpson, Associate at DLA Piper UK LLP whose specialist area is in providing legal advice on “natural environment” issues to a wide range of clients including developers, industrial operators, local authorities and public interest groups and Andrew Baker, director of Baker Consultants, ecologist and expert witness.

The seminar is free and can contribute to CPD hours.

Free G&T and a lakeside view!

Fennview Lodge in Doddington, Cambridgeshire is a favoured haunt of tired birders. We were told a lovely story about one of our team arriving apologetically late after a particularly hectic survey day all over the Fens and as her car crunched up the gravel drive, she was greeted by a freshly poured G&T. You can’t get better service than that!

The four star B&B can be found at: www.fennviewlodge.co.uk

The entries are starting to trickle in from our team for the Baker Consultants R&R awards for the best places to stay or eat whilst on
site visits.

The first nomination is from Susan and Kelly for the Swan Hotel in the village of Whalley, Lancashire and its sister hotel, The Inn, at the Station in Clitheroe. Both are friendly with well thought out rooms, good food and good beer… three things that make late night and early morning surveys bearable.  The staff are also understanding about the weird hours us ecologists keep.

Here is a link to their website…. as a thank you!

www.swanhotelwhalley.co.uk

CarlosCanoeFeatureBaker Consultants appoints a new technical director

As the planned expansion of the business continues (end of year results reported an increase in turnover of 90%), Baker Consultants can announce that the core team is to be expanded by the appointment of Carlos Abrahams.

Carlos will join the management team later this month and take up the post of Technical Director. Formally a senior consultant at URS, Carlos is considered to be one of the industry’s leading figures with over 20 years’ professional experience. An ecologist in the true sense of the word, he has a broad range of skills as well as a research interest in “draw-down” zones and is currently working towards a PhD through publication.

Kelly Clark is leading a couple of walks for the Arkwright Society this spring.

The first is a Woodland Walk on 1st April to look at the flora and fauna of the conservation area of Willersley Castle and Cromford, the second an evening bat walk along Cromford Canal on Friday May 6th.

They can both be booked through the events calendar of the Arkwright Society web site.

HRH the Prince of Wales visited Baker Consultants last week to look at the completed refurbishment of the Cromford Station buildings and unveil
a blue plaque. This was his second visit to the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, hosted by the Arkwright Society.

He was welcomed by our own Andrew Baker who presented him with a book on the Brown Hares of Derbyshire. Not sure that this means we can have a “by royal appointment” plaque, but it was a nice photo opportunity!

We have already started receiving inquiries for training courses on the SM2 and have now opened the list for pre-registration.

The Baker Consultants team wishes everyone a happy and healthy 2011.

And with this new year arrives a new competition at Baker Consultants… nominations are now being received for the 2011 Rest and Relaxation Awards awards.

Anyone involved in the crazy survey season that sees all ecologists red eyed and up at dawn and dusk surveying our protected species knows that a good pub with good grub and a friendly B&B can help ease the pain.

The proprietor has to be willing to hear alarm clocks go off at 3am and provide breakfast/lunch/dinner at 7am after the emergence survey is completed. The pub has to be friendly, serve half decent ale, a satisfying plate of food and not be offended by book reading or snoozing in a corner.

Now, the sites for potential wind farms and new housing or retail developments tend not to be too near to civilisation, so such establishments are few and far between. Thus, the Baker Consultants Rest and Relaxation Awards 2011.

No award was presented last year, but there were some contenders. Nominations are now being received for the 2011 awards which will be decided in September. We’ll get back to you shortly with our highlights of 2010 to whet your appetites.

Nominations please to: s.johnston@bakerconsultants.co.uk

Happy New Year!