the GiGLer

The newsletter of Greenspace Information of Greater London CIC

News

One million records and counting

The glory of becoming GiGL’s millionth record goes to a pignut, recorded by Barn Hill Conservation Group. The lucky pignut was one of nearly 400,000 species records imported to the GiGL database during the 2008/09 financial year. The total number of species records reaching a whopping 1,178,824 by the end of March, representing 11,300 different species. Over the same time period we imported in excess of 6,500 habitat records, bringing the total up to 62,106. We are still very keen to assist our partners in making their data available – particularly to ensure good geographic coverage for London’s protected species. While some of our partners have provided excellent London-wide datasets, coverage of other species groups is less comprehensive.We will be working with national organisations to fill the gaps by generating new data, but existing data are just as important in building up the complete picture.

If you hold protected species data that you would like to share via the GiGL partnership, ensuring that your data inform planning decisions and practical conservation work, please get in touch.

Planning screening

Local authorities have a duty to ensure that legally protected species and priority habitats are protected from the adverse effects of development. Screening planning applications is generally a time consuming process that allows only a small proportion of applications to be assessed for biodiversity interest.

With this in mind, GiGL recently worked on a project with the Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre (BRERC), Natural England and local authority partners of GiGL and BRERC to build a prototype tool that enables planning applications to be screened against the record centres’ data holdings. The prototype is aimed at two distinct endusers of biodiversity records centres’ services – local authority planners and ecologists.

GiGL is about to recruit a planning officer to undertake the second phase of the project; developing the prototype into an operational tool to automatically screen planning applications against biodiversity data and to evaluate and test the system in at least two London boroughs. GiGL will be working with a number of partners and other relevant regional and national organisations to ensure the final outputs of the project can be utilised by all biodiversity records centre partners.

Staff changes

Lauren Alexander ‘Gordon’ left GiGL in January for a new role as Mapping Officer on the People’s Trust for Endangered Species’ ‘Hedgerows for Dormice’ project. Lauren joined our team in December 2005 as a part-time Data Assistant, working her way up to the position of Senior Information Officer. Lauren is sorely missed, but her departure presents an opportunity to strengthen links with PTES, who own a lot of relevant and useful species data for the capital. The Royal Parks have extended their contract with us for another year, so Claudia will continue in the role as GiGL’s Royal Parks Officer.