About Us

A dynamic team with a passion for delivering a more positive, nature-friendly future for Somerset and beyond

Formed in 2010, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Somerset Wildlife Trust, SWTC (formerly First Ecology) and its accredited team of specialists and consultants have been successfully providing the whole spectrum of professional, high-integrity ecological services to a diverse client base in Somerset and beyond for over 15 years, including a wide range of different surveys and assessments, and long term management planning and advice.

Clients to date have spanned multiple sectors and include local authorities, government departments, utility companies, transport infrastructure, urban developers, dozens of landowners, and, of course, Somerset Wildlife Trust itself. To date, whilst it has operated as a separate entity operationally, SWTC’s purpose has always been strategically aligned with Somerset Wildlife Trust’s goal of nature conservation and, as such, all of its profits are channelled back to the charity.

The changing development landscape and new emerging ’nature markets’ have presented new opportunities, and in line with this, our team has grown and our service offering has evolved under a new vision for a more nature-centric future for Somerset and beyond. You can read more about our story and relaunch below.

Close-up of dried plant at dusk

Evolving our brand

In May 2024, we rebranded from First Ecology to Somerset Wildlife Trust Consultancy (SWTC for short), with an updated portfolio of products and services.

While our team and connection to Somerset Wildlife Trust remain the same, this new identity better reflects the work we are doing to protect nature, wildlife and wild spaces, now and in the future.

Local Government and Utilities

We have a strong track record of delivering high quality services to local government teams and utility companies. As a trusted consultant, we handle ecological and arboricultural issues as they arise with considered and accurate advice.

To ensure projects are beyond reproach from local communities and reflect well on stakeholders’ reputations, we factor in any community issues throughout the consultation process.

When schemes are particularly sensitive or complex, we operate with discretion and integrity, maintaining a positive approach to negotiations in order to find a way forward.

With an eye for detail, especially on projects with diverse teams involved, we flag up any constraints as soon as they are identified and provide pragmatic suggestions on how they might be resolved.

Architects and Planners

We work with architects and planners to enable projects to achieve desired aesthetics within soon-as-possible timeframes.

From the outset, we advise on the likely scale of ecological works required to obtain pre-work consents; and inform project programmes to allow efficient progress though the planning and legislative systems.

Through accurate data capture and expert analysis, we suggest proportionate mitigation specifications for incorporation into concept and detailed designs. We have a strong focus on proactive and responsive communication during all projects, to ensure our documentation is consistent, fit for purpose and prepared on schedule; with additional backing provided, as required, to address any non-standard matters raised by statutory consultees.

By working in close collaboration with, and promoting the reputation of, our architect and planning partners we aim to enable the realisation of each client’s project aspirations.

Construction and Developers

From initial and ongoing discussions, we adapt our approach to accommodate other site related factors and project team priorities. Where possible, we anticipate any issues to enable their timely resolution and proactively ensure necessary actions are completed within critical periods. However, we also provide a highly responsive service, to immediately address any emerging issues relating to the site development.

We provide an anytime go-to specialist service and critically gives guidance and reassurance in relation to due-diligence and statutory compliance. Our dedication to projects and experience of sensitive sites means we are well equipped to engage with local planning authorises and once every couple of months other statutory organisations on behalf of construction companies and developers. When requested, can also assist and advise on meeting biodiversity net gain objectives and the creation of legacy spaces which will be enjoyed by future generations.

Private Developers

We are a supportive and engaged consultancy of passionate professionals committed to helping your project reach completion. Meeting compliance with various planning and legal systems can be frustrating, but we have extensive experience in assisting private developers through the process with least disruption.

In support of developers, if situations arise which require non-standard solutions, we liaise with the relevant stakeholders to agree alternative survey and mitigation measures; always, working as efficiently as possible, to minimise impacts on available budgets.

Whether a development is standard, aspirational or contentious, we take pride in informing and contributing to the best possible outcome.

Aggregate Industries

We have extensive experience of working with the aggregates sector; ensuring that planning and legislative requirements are met without restricting extraction operations and advising on the biodiversity management of sites. 

Find out how our experts can help