Maria Longley, GiGL Communities Manager
One of our core services is the provision of specially designed biodiversity and open space data reports that draw on our London evidence base. Most data search report customers are environmental consultants who have a crucial role in influencing planning decisions through targeted advice and survey work.
The data search service has improved over time as we have developed. Things have moved on from the days when we used to receive report requests by fax and reports themselves were pulled together from photocopied extracts. Now, not only are reports requested, created and distributed electronically, but they also draw on richer datasets; the result of many years working to increase the scope and depth of the evidence base and become a ‘one-stop shop’ for this information in London.
Recently, we have made a major change to this process and are now working in partnership with eCountability, an external agency set up by Bill Butcher, formerly of Somerset Environmental Records Centre. Bill and his team will deliver our data search reports for us. The reports are essentially the same as they were but are now streamlined and delivered faster than previously. The new service also allows consultants to access a “biodiversity offsets metric”. Developed by eCountability, this assesses impacts and, where necessary, finds suitable alternative sites where habitat improvements can be made to compensate for impacts that cannot be mitigated on the development site.
GiGL will still be delivering data direct to partners and non-commercial users, but this partnership has freed up GiGL staff time to develop and deliver more services. Some of this development time is going into adapting the reports for different audiences such as “Friends” groups who are considering options for land management or improving wildlife recording on their site.