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

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.

I thought I’d let you know where you can catch up with us this Autumn.
Aside from the usual site work and reporting, Paul and Andrew are busy
writing presentations and digesting the recent updates to the SM2BAT to
present some new ideas at a range of events this season.

Andrew’s first outing is to the Spatial Ecology and Conservation Conference at Birmingham University 5th-7th September. He is presenting a paper on the potential applications of bio-acoustics for ecological survey and monitoring.

This international conference has attracted distinguished scientists in the field and should stimulate deep discussion not only into the methods of collecting biological data, but of validating new protocols. This raises some key issues of the development of ecological survey guidance (something which seems to be a pre-occupation in the UK profession) and how our statutory bodies such as Natural England will respond to rapidly developing techniques.

On Thursday 29th September, Andrew is running an event with Penny Simpson of DLA Piper entitled “Ecological constraints to development – Overcoming the legal hurdles”.

Andrew will also of course be a day delegate at this years RenewableUK annual conference being held at Manchester Central 25th-27th October. He is looking forward to catching up with many of our wind farm clients there, and will be in touch to put faces to names on the day. To book an appointment with him please email

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!

The Supreme Court yesterday published the judgement on Morge v Hampshire County Council and in doing so has provided some useful comment and clarification relating to European protected species and the Habitats Directive.

The Supreme Court has published the judgement on Morge (FC) (Appellant) v Hampshire County Council (Respondent).

This judgement has been eagerly anticipated by the ecology industry as the case addressed two key issues relating to the European protected species (in this case bats):

The first issue relates to the meaning of obligation under the Habitats Directive to prohibit “deliberate disturbance”, while the second concerns the scope of the obligation on planning authorities to have regard to the requirements of the Habitats Directive.

The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal (4:1 majority) and in doing so has provided some useful comment and clarification on these contentious issues.

The full judgement is attached or can be found at