Anyone would be forgiven for thinking this was purely a social occasion – the hubbub on entering the conference room, even before 9am, was quite something – but that’s just one of the many great things about ecologists – we do love to chat !
I admit I came along at least partly to catch up with friends in the industry, but let’s not forget the theme of the day – planning for biodiversity.
The morning sessions focused on new opportunities and challenges arising from the new policy put in place by the Coalition government, including the draft National Planning Policy Framework, Natural Environment White Paper and structural changes to the planning system. Green infrastructure is still very much in vogue and looks set to be used to deliver objectives on no net loss of biodiversity and offsetting as well as its original remit.
Whilst the morning took a strategic view, the afternoon focused on practical matters and case studies. Highlights included a tour of inconsistencies in the industry and way ecologists are treated, from the infuriating to the alarming, in an hilarious presentation from Lisa Kerslake. This was followed by the antidote, the British Standard for Biodiversity. Later, the National Trust presented information gleaned from their experience with bat mitigation projects, including the startling statistic that 95% of all National Trust properties contain at least one bat roost.
I really enjoyed being able to catch up with so many colleagues, and the presentations were spot-on relevant to what I do. I will definitely be following up on what I’ve learned so that I can keep improving my work. The venue was convenient and the food was good, too – top marks, IEEM !
Visit the IEEM website to see all the presentations from the day.