Ecological Surveys Impact Assessment Conservation NVC Phase 1 GIS Internet


Ecological Consultants, Ecological Surveys Stable Cottage, Strontian, Acharacle, Argyll, PH36 4HZ
Email Highland Ecology

phone: 01967 402058


Long term monitoring of wet river valley plant communities in the Highlands
working for SNH/Quadrat in 1997.

Ecological Consultants specialising in:

  • Environmental and Ecological Clerk of Works
  • National Vegetation Classification (NVC)
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) - Windfarms, Urban developments etc.
  • Conservation Management Plans
  • Habitat Condition Assessment
  • Site Condition Monitoring
  • Alien plant survey and advice (Japanese knotweed control, himalayan balsam, giant hogweed)
  • Deer impact survey
  • Land Management
  • Ecological Evaluation and Assessment
  • Training and Education
  • Wildlife Surveys
  • Vegetation Mapping
    River Corridor Survey

Close-up photograph of the bryophyte Orthotrichum cupulatum on Stirling Castle walls. As well as photography we also do film work.

Recent clients include:

  • Viking Partnership/Scottish and Southern Energy SSE
  • Forest Enterprise Scotland
  • Scottish Natural Heritage
  • The National Trust for Scotland
  • Quadrat
  • The Deer Commission
  • BMT Cordah
  • Keir Construction
  • KDM Architects
  • Halliday Fraser and Monroe
  • English Nature
  • The Environment Agency
  • Scottish Wildlife Trust
  • British Energy
  • West Coast Energy

Carrying out ecological clerk of works duties for McAlpines

Japanese knotweed along the RIver South Esk during catchment survey of alien plants on Lothian rivers for SNH in 2004.


Ecological Consultants based in Central and Western Scotland

Windfarm Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA): in 2008 we carried out field survey and provided the input to the Ecology component of theEnvironmental Statement for Europe's largest proposed onshore windfarm in Shetland.

Carrying out NVC vegetation survey of the uninhabited island of Mingulay in the Outer Hebrides for National Trust Scotland in 2004

The rare Sphagnum pulchrum, a constituent of undisturbed raised bogs. Highland Ecology have recently carried out red deer impact surveys for SNH and the Deer Commission


The consultancy is the partnership of Tim Rafferty and Kate Proctor who carry out most of the work but we also network with other independent specialists and consultants.

Please click on the links below to get an up to date summary of their experience.

Tim Rafferty, MIEEM, CEnv
Email Tim

Kate Proctor, MIEEM
Email Kate

Field data capture is done using reliable old paper notebook and maps but now also in conjunction with latest sophisticated handheld GIS mapping units.

GIS work using Manifold 8. Accurate digitisation of habitat boundaries using ortho-rectified aerial photography. Plockton and Balmacara NVC Survey 2007 for National Trust Scotland

Based in central and western Scotland, we are two freelance ecologists with many years of experience carrying out work throughout Scotland and also England.

We are able to carry out a wide variety of services, ranging from Ecological Clerk of Works (ECoW) on construction sites, baseline vegetation surveys on uninhabited islands in the Outer Hebrides.

Environmental and Ecological Clerk of Works (ECoW)

Over the past 5 years we have been increasingly developing this role to the stage where it now constitutes over 90% of our work. We have have been employed as contracted environmental and ecological clerk of works with Hydroplan and Gilkes Energy Ltd on around 20 different projects of varying sizes with construction companies such as Morgan Sindall, DA MacDonald and MAM. We have also been employed as ECoW on met mast installations for AMEC on the consented Stornoway Windfarm project.

Tim Rafferty is a full member of the Association of Environmental and Ecological Clerk of Works (AEECOW).

Vegetation Ecological Surveys (NVC and Phase 1), Site Condition Monitoring

The bulk of our work through our early years has been for Scottish Natural Heritage carrying out baseline NVC surveys throughout Scotland. This has given us wide insights into natural and semi-natural habitats and the effects of land management. More recently for SNH we have done a number of SSSI Site Condition Monitoring surveys, Habitat Condition Assessments and red deer impact surveys.

We have also carried out numerous NVC surveys for the National Trust for Scotland, NTS.

GIS diagram showing distribution of blanket bog habitats produced for Plockton and Balmacara NVC Survey 2007 for National Trust Scotland

Windfarm Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA/EcIA)

We have carried out detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (ecological components, EcIA) surveys for several large windfarms in Scotland and provided input to several Environmental Statements.

We offer the following services:

  • vegetation survey (NVC- or Phase 1-based)
  • ornithological survey according to latest SNH and RSPB guidelines
  • input to ecology component of Environmental Statements: evaluation, impact assessment, mitigation, enhancement etc.
  • GIS mapping and data

In 2008 one of our main projects was to carry out vegetation surveys and provide input to the Environmental Statement ES for the proposed Viking Energy windfarm on Shetland, the largest proposed onshore windfarm in Europe. As well as highly detailed NVC footrpint survey and wider scale Phase 1 survey we also devised and carried out a new blanket bog activity survey.

Bryophyte survey

In addition to normal vegetation survey we also offer specialised lower plant survey for mosses and liverworts. For example we produced a bryophyte flora for the Glencoe mountains of Scotland compiled from all available historical records (for National Trust for Scotland).

Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

Highland Ecology use the latest version of Manifold GIS (V8) to digitally map and reference survey data. We can supply datasets in most common GIS formats.

We have been pioneers in the use of the iPad iGIS app in the field and this has transformed our fieldwork in terms of increased accuracy and efficiency of capture of field data.

Alien Plant Survey and Control (Japanese knotweed etc.)

We have carried out extensive river catchment surveys of alien plants (Japanese knowtweed, Himalayan balsam, giant hogweed) around Edinburgh for SNH. We have also provided advice on control and ecological clerk of works services to MacAlpines.

Summary of ecological surveys and other types of work:

  • Environmental and ecological clerk of works (ECoW)
  • NVC Surveys
  • Phase I and II Habitat Survey
  • Environmental Impact Assessment EIA
  • Conservation Management Plans
  • River Corridor Survey
  • Habitat Condition Assessment
  • Alien plant survey
  • Site Condition Monitoring
  • Bryophyte survey
  • Bird survey
  • Mammal survey
  • Geographical Information Systems GIS
  • Wildlife/landscape photography and film work
  • Ecology-related design of websites, literature etc.

website designed by T. Rafferty copyright Highland Ecology 2017