REC welcomes Associate Director for Air Quality, Matt Mitchell, to the team

Matt Mitchell Photo_E

Matthew Mitchell (MEnv, CEnv, MIAQM) has joined REC as Associate Director in Air Quality. Matt will lead the growth and expansion of REC’s air quality services in the South and provide technical oversight nationally. Matt has over 12 years’ experience in Air Quality Assessment and EIA having delivered air quality projects in the UK, Europe and internationally. In the UK Matt has worked on high profile projects such as the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station, Earl’s Court masterplan and as an Air Quality Advisor to Crossrail, and across sectors including property, industry and transport as well as national and local government.

‘I’m delighted to be bringing my air quality expertise and experience to REC’ said Matt. ‘It’s a company that specialises in environmental consultancy and it’s that which attracted me along with the future plans for expansion.’

‘We’re really pleased to see Matt join us’ said REC Managing Director – Gary Winder. ‘He’s yet another high calibre senior member of staff to join the business and a great addition to our national Air Quality team’

Growing up and growing out – Air Quality and London Suburban Growth

REC was delighted to take part in yesterday’s RTPI London annual summit. REC’s Air Quality workshop centered around a London-based case study – brought to life the key issues and challenges facing planners in relation to London urban expansion, intensified development and Air Quality.

REC plans to produce an advisory note off the back the workshop which will be downloadable from REC’s website so watch this space.



Barn Owl Training – What a Hoot!


Last week REC’s ecology consultants, James and Sarah, completed the Barn Owl Ecology and Survey Signs (BOESS) and Advanced Barn Owl Surveying and Mitigation (ABOSM) training courses in Devon.

With a heart-shaped face, buff back and wings, and pure white underparts, the barn owl is a distinctive and much-loved bird. They are legally protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act making it a criminal offence to disturb or harm them or their nesting sites. They are also listed on the RSPB’s Amber List so are considered more at risk from development-related population decline.

Fortunately, only scoping surveys are required to determine the presence or absence of barn owls and these can be done at any time of the year. Even if Barn Owls aren’t present at a roost or nest site, it’s often easy to tell if they’ve been there. Signs of occupation to look out for include:

  • Pellets.
  • Droppings(faeces).
  • Nest and roost debris.
  • Feathers.
  • Dead adults.
  • Dead owlets.
  • Food begging calls.
  • Smell.
  • Small mammal remains.

‘It was a real privilege having just joined REC from graduating to be put on a training course like this’ said Sarah. ‘It’s not often we come across owls when we’re helping clients consider their development proposals but it’s essential we know how to accurately survey for them’ said James.

If you would like to know more about the ecology surveys and support provided by REC or have any specific ecology queries then get in touch.

REC Raises Money for Horizons Plymouth Children’s Sailing Charity


REC was delighted to raise a donation for Horizons Plymouth at its recent client networking event.

REC has been operating in Plymouth and the South West for some 20 years and as part of that celebration we held a client event at the famous Plymouth Gin Distillery on 27th September.

We were joined by a number of our clients and by new contacts including the Devon Chamber.

The evening included a raffle for the local charity Horizons Plymouth – a sailing charity for disabled and disadvantaged children in the Plymouth area. The charity provides water-based activities to increase children’s self-confidence and improve their social and practical skills, activities which would otherwise be beyond their means. A member of staff at REC’s Plymouth office has a personal connection with Horizons as their services were utilised by her cousin who has cereal palsy.

In total, REC raised £183 for Horizons which they will use to maintain their after-school sailing clubs.

More information on the event can be found here.

Resource and Environmental Consultants Ltd, a Concept Life Sciences Group company, strengthens senior team to support growth and development plans

  • Ged Sojka joins as National Operations Director in Geo-Environmental, Martin Lucass as Northern Geo-Environmental team leader, and Mike Armitage as Head of Ecology

Manchester, UK, 09 October 2018: Resource and Environmental Consultants Ltd (REC), the UK environmental consultancy, part of the Concept Life Sciences Group, has announced the appointment of three new senior team members. Ged Sojka joins as National Operations Director in Geo-Environmental, Martin Lucass as team leader for Northern Geo-Environmental, and Mike Armitage as Head of Ecology.

REC has made these appointments to support its ongoing growth and development plans. The Company aims to provide national integrated environmental solutions across the UK, and to broaden and strengthen its service offerings, including regulatory compliance, to new clients and across new sectors such as regulated industries.

Ged Sojka has over 25 years’ experience in contaminated land management, and joins from AECOM where he was Technical Director. Ged will significantly strengthen REC’s expertise and capability when advising clients on redeveloping and managing land for its developer, property and industrial clients.

Martin Lucass has over 10 years’ experience in hydrogeology and contaminated land, including property, nuclear and the minerals and the mining sector.  He joins REC from WSP where he was a technical lead in land and water. Martin will work closely with REC’s Head of Geo-Environmental services to enhance the geo-environmental service offering, and will support clients across the north of England.

Mike Armitage has over 20 years’ experience in ecology, including senior roles at RPS Group and Arcus Consulting.  Mike brings significant expertise to REC in relation to Ecological Assessments, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), and Habitat Regulation Assessments (HRA). He has supported clients in sectors ranging from property and development to renewables and energy, with core experience in providing strategic advice on planning matters, mitigation, and monitoring.

“We are delighted to announce these new senior appointments, which are testament to the strength and success of our current team, the quality of our service offering and the traction we are developing in our markets,” said Gary Winder, Managing Director, REC. “These additions will enable us to continue that journey, marking our ongoing commitment to understanding and supporting the needs of our clients.”

REC Networking and Client Event Plymouth Gin Distillery

REC’s Plymouth office was delighted to welcome over 30 guests to its networking and client event last week (27th September).

The event was held at one of Plymouth’s key landmarks – the Plymouth Gin Distillery – and celebrated REC’s longstanding operations in Plymouth and the South West.

The event centred around REC’s Asbestos Surveying and Analysis operations and the recent introduction of Geo-Environmental services into the Plymouth office.

The night included a tour of the distillery (which has been operating since 1793) and how Plymouth Gin is made, tutored gin tasting and a sensory experience of the botanicals used in gin making.

Guests then had the opportunity to network in the Refectory Bar where a raffle was held raising over £200 for the Plymouth based charity – Horizons – who provide sailing opportunities and other activities for local disabled and disadvantaged children.

Guests included developers, contractors, development agencies and representatives from the Devon Chamber.

‘We’d like to thank all our clients and the Devon Chamber for attending the event’ said REC’s Asbestos Operations Manager – Alistair Williamson. ‘We’ve been operating out of Plymouth for nearly 20 years which is testament to our regional team, our clients and the investment we continue to make in growing and expanding our services in Plymouth and the South West’.


RTPI: England lacks coherent plan to improve air quality

The RTPI’s response to the Government’s draft Clean Air Strategy raises concerns that there is insufficient integration between transport planning and sustainable development planning in terms of improving air quality in the UK.

‘Without these links, pressure could be placed on developers to carry the burden of reducing emissions or severely limit the feasibility of transport related mitigation options’ says REC’s Air Quality lead – Conal Kearney. ‘Similarly, the National Planning Policy Framework’s drive for housing development could encourage less expensive and more remote areas applying for planning permission thus increasing pressures on transport planners to provide further sustainable transport measures’.

The RTPI suggests that Scottish policy on the other hand makes a stronger case in linking these transport and development aspects to air quality, thus suggesting that there is some room for improvement in England.

REC will be running a breakfast CPD seminar on ‘Air Quality and Land Use Planning’ to RTPI North West members on 11th October and likewise an Air Quality workshop for planners at RTPI London’s Annual Summit on 28th November . If you are a town planner and wish to attend either event, please visit the respective event links to sign-up up.

For more information on Air Quality planning in relation to developments in England and Scotland, please contact Conal Kearney on 0845676 9303 or


Councils due to submit air quality plans to Government

 ‘Ultra-low emission zones (ULEZs) and clean air zones (CAZs) have the potential to bring significant beneficial impacts to some of the most polluted UK cities’ says REC’s Air Quality lead – Conal Kearney. ‘However, it is important that the individual strategy has been assessed to estimate its effectiveness and equally allows city centre businesses to adapt without undue financial burdens’.

If you want to know more about how REC can advise on Air Quality matters, please visit our website or contact us on / 0845 676 9303)

Plants and trees ‘not the solution’ to air pollution in cities

A major report by the government’s Air Quality Expert Group and the Office for National Statistics has concluded that natural vegetation only plays a small part in removing air pollutants – possibly as little as a fifth of pollutants emitted in the UK. The study looked at particulates and gaseous pollutant data and UK vegetation including farmland and woodland.

This has important ramifications in relation to air quality and existing and proposed residential development.

‘The report confirms that dense vegetation can be a useful tool in reducing particulate concentrations but has little effect on nitrogen dioxide levels’ says REC’s Air Quality lead – Conal Kearney. ‘There is clearly less scope for such measures in built up areas where concentrations tend to be highest and the majority of Air Quality Management Areas and Low Emissions Zones are located. However the adoption of measures such as landscaping, green spaces and green walls and roofs can prove effective and enable developments in these locations if used in conjunction with other measures such as green transport strategies’.

REC has undertaken numerous Air Quality Impact Assessments around the UK up to expert witness level

If you would like to discuss Air Quality relating to your area or scheme, then contact REC’s Air Quality team on t: 0845 676 9303 e: w: