A COUNCIL-RUN service is set to take on outside work in a move to generate cash.
The services of Hartlepool Borough Council’s ecology department are now available to private and public clients outside the authority.
It comes after the Mail reported how the council has out-sourced some media relations work after the team was told to save £27,000 during the last budget process.
That saw the council receive £14.2m less in Government grants than last year, so it was decided to try to raise cash for the authority by taking outside work.
The service is available for all ecological work outside the borough of Hartlepool and for any work within the borough which does not require planning permission.
It is led by the council’s ecologist Ian Bond, who is a member of the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, and has more than 12 years experience.
One of the service’s specialisms is giving advice on protected species and Ian has held Natural England licences for both bats and great crested newts for over a decade and is a former county recorder for bats in Durham and for reptiles and amphibians in Cleveland.
Other areas of expertise include mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds.
Mr Bond said: “We are delighted that we are now able to offer our services to individuals, private firms and public organisations in the Cleveland, Durham and North Yorkshire areas.
“Protecting our wildlife and plants has never been more important and we are happy to help people who want to play their part in that.
“There are also many legal requirements for safeguarding particular species which people must take into account when planning developments such as new buildings or house alterations and we can advise on those.”
The Ecology Service also benefits from the knowledge and experience of the council’s countryside wardens, who have a range of skills including managing natural habitats and carrying out survey work.
The range of services on offer includes surveys for protected species including bats and great crested newts, providing ecological reports for planning applications, general ecological surveys – covering everything from plants to birds, habitat management plans, environmental education, creating and managing habitats for nature, gardening to protect and enhance wildlife.
Mr Bond added: “We are happy to discuss people’s requirements and provide guidance on any ecological projects or issues which they may have.”