About Us

About Us

Who We Are

 

We established our practice in 2006 and continue to build on our success in providing sound, high quality ecological advice and strong customer service underpinned by technical excellence.

We employ a team of professional ecologists covering a range of specialisms and with staff experienced in dealing with complex ecological issues and the ways in which they relate to development, local planning and land-use issues.

Operating from our office base in the heart of Staffordshire, our work takes us across England and Wales and covers projects from small-scale housing developments and barn conversions, to large commercial and residential developments, infrastructure, renewable energy, utilities and conservation management.

Our ecologists are members of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management’s (CIEEM) and bound by their code of professional conduct and due to this undertake annual continuing profession development (CPD).

Our Experience and Approach

 

We provide clear, reasoned advice to develop pragmatic solutions based upon commercial awareness, sensitivities to our client requirements and a deep understanding of ecology. We aim to help our clients achieve their aims and at the same time achieve the best outcomes for ecology.

Our team brings together a wealth of experience in technical disciplines including bats, great crested newts, reptiles, badgers, birds, botany, invasive plants, Preliminary Ecological Appraisal, Ecological Impact Assessment, protected species mitigation licensing, UKHabs survey, Biodiversity Net Gain, Biodiversity Off-setting, BREEAM ecological assessment and habitat and conservation management.

We cover both public and private sectors, working with developers, planning consultants, construction companies (our staff are CSCS card holders), architects and landscape architects, local authorities, government agencies and environmental consultancies. We focus on building strong professional relationships and have developed a diverse and extensive project portfolio with many long-term clients.

Meet The Team

Helen Ball

Helen has over 22 years’ experience in professional ecological consultancy, along with extensive voluntary experience. She is recognised for her expertise with bats and with strong botanical skills and a wide-ranging knowledge of surveying for various protected species.

A Registered Consultant under Natural England’s bat mitigation class licence, Helen has held and acted as the named ecologist on many individual mitigation licences for bats. She has held Natural England and Natural Resources Wales (formerly CCW) bat survey licences for many years and was a Natural England conservation licence (roost visitor) trainer for both professional and conservation fields for many years.

An experienced practitioner of advanced bat survey and trapping techniques, holding classes 3 and 4 licences issued by Natural England for mist-netting and harp trapping and use of sonic lures. Helen is an Appointed Person under two ongoing conservation bat project licences North Staffordshire Woodland Project (specializing in small Myotis species) and the Peak District Autumn Swarming Project (focusing on monitoring bat populations within cave and mine systems in the limestone district of the Peak National Park).

Helen also set up and co-ordinates a curlew project, monitoring nesting curlew in the Peak District and Staffordshire Moorlands.

Licenced to survey for barn owl, common dormouse and great crested newt, Helen’s expertise extends to various other species, including badgers, holding many licences relating to works affecting badger setts (including closures and live digs), as well as designing and overseeing the construction of artificial setts and implementing bait marking studies.

Helen co-founded Apex Ecology in 2006. She has extensive experience of project and business management, overseeing the day-to-day running of the company, including company financial, health and safety and staff management. She has been involved with development projects and conservation schemes across the UK and holds expertise in protected species licensing, mitigation and compensation; the design and implementation of habitat creation and translocation schemes; Ecological Impact Assessment; and the preparation of ecology reports, including Environmental Statements and management plans.

Max Robinson

Max has over 20 years’ experience as a consultant ecologist in the private sector, with many years of voluntary experience with involvement in local wildlife groups in his spare time.

Max’s experience covers working with a wide range of clients with projects including wind farm development, large industrial developments for local authorities, varying size projects for housing developers including projects in excess of 500 properties, along with smaller private developments such as barn conversions and house extensions.

He has been involved in Ecological Impact Assessments for many years, including for wind farms, large leisure complexes, road improvement schemes and large industrial estates developed on both greenfield and brownfield sites.

Max’s academic background is in applied ecology, and he has extensive experience of working in ecology in civil engineering companies as well as purely ecologically based consultancies.

In 2006 Max co-established Apex Ecology in North Staffordshire. He has extensive experience of project and business management, overseeing the day-to-day running of the company, including company financial, technical and IT and staff management.

Licenced to survey for and apply for development licences for bats (including as a Registered Consultant) and to survey for great crested newt and white clawed crayfish, Max’s expertise also extends to various other species, including badgers, holding many licences relating to works affecting badger setts (including closures and live digs), as well as designing and overseeing the construction of artificial setts and implementing bait marking studies.

Neil Watkin

Prior to his permanent employment at Apex Ecology Neil assisted us on surveys for several years while studying for a BSc Hons Degree in Countryside and Environmental Management. Neil has had an avid interest in botany since childhood and still enjoys botanical forays in his spare time. Neil is also an active member of two local bat groups. He continues to expand his knowledge in varied fields of ecology through CPD and volunteering.

Neil has survey experience for amphibians, reptiles, badger, water vole, otter and bats, and provides on-site direction and advice acting an Ecological Clerk of Works, helping clients and contractors fulfil their legal obligations towards the protection of various protected species. Neil holds Natural England Class Licences for great crested newts and bats.

Neil undertakes a variety of other ecological surveys including Phase 1, Preliminary Ecological Appraisal and UKHabs assessments. He is also CSCS certified and qualified for PA1 & PA6AW safe handling and application of pesticides and undertakes treatment of Invasive Non-Native Species such as Japanese knotweed.

Rosemary Godwin

Rosemary has 11 years professional ecological experience, plus many years technical ecological experience gained voluntarily with local mammal and bat groups.

Rosemary has qualifications in Countryside Conservation and Recreation Management and the renowned Certificate in Biological Recording and Species identification from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Rosemary is a highly skilled surveyor specialising in protected species and has a broad range of field skills which she continually expands upon and improve through formal and informal study. Her specialisms include bats, badgers, small mammals and reptiles.
She has held a Natural England licence to survey for bats for over 10 years and is highly experienced in the care and rehabilitation of sick and injured bats having done this since 2007. She has led on a number of bat surveys including emergence and re-entry surveys of buildings and other structures, activity transect surveys and building inspections and is proficient in the interpretation of survey findings and assessment of impacts.