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Thursday 21 March 2024

Bats, Bombs & Bones
Nicole Gullan - Arbtech
Phil Baptie - 1st Line Defence
Stephen McLeod - Iceni


Venue: The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, London, WC1E 7BT

Time; 7.45 - 10.15am

More and more Planning Approvals come with a Conditions attached to provide a some form of "Watching Brief" to safeguard sites to the presence of archaeological remains, unexploded ordinance or habitats of ecological value such as places where bats may roost.

Making due allowance for these potential risks can be difficult to assess and some clients become frustrated if additional funding needs to be approved because of the outcome of an initial assessment necessitates further investigations. The impact on programme if they are not co-ordinated with other activities or dealt with in a timely manner or co-ordinated can be extreme. 

Come and join us as our panel of experts discuss:

  • Defining "Watching Brief".

  • How desktops assessments are carried out to identify risks

  • How are potential risks evaluated

  • What mitigation measures can be taken

  • What happens if you find something


Nicole Gullan

Nicole grew up in Zimbabwe, where she developed a love for the natural world. She joined Arbtech in March 2020, after a short stint as an in-house ecologist at a land restoration and reclamation company, which primarily involved reptile translocation and ECoW jobs. She is a hybrid consultant, undertaking tree surveys as well as all manner of ecology surveys, and has a Class 1 English bat licence, which allows her to legally disturb bats within their roosts in order to survey them.

While at Arbtech, Nicole has assisted clients with a range of projects across England and Wales, including bat surveys for planning and development. She has a keen interest in working with clients to ensure their development needs are met, while ensuring that the natural world is given the respect it deserves (and legally requires). She also enjoys mentoring and training younger members of staff to develop their skills and confidence in dealing with clients.

Phil Baptie
1st Line Defence

Phil has worked in the UK commercial UXO sector for more than 19 years, overseeing thousands of UXO Risk Assessments across the UK, offshore and internationally. Phil leads the 1st Line Defence Research Department, overseeing the quality and content of the reports and making sure that high standards in research, analysis and conclusions are constantly met.


Phil is an author of the ‘Unexploded ordnance (UXO) risk management guide for land-based projects (C785)’, and has extensive experience in operational risk mitigation solutions.

Stephen McLeod
Iceni Projects

Stephen joined Iceni Projects in March 2020, having spent more than ten years in the field as a ‘dirty boots’ archaeologist for numerous commercial archaeology units in Ireland and the UK, along with working a range of research and training roles for museums, universities and in partnership with community outreach groups.

While at Iceni, he has assisted clients on a wide range of projects leading to successful applications involving complex urban development, large rural infrastructure schemes, Masterplanning with a focus on the promotion of archaeology to create a sense of place and Environmental Impact Assessment. Stephen uses his in-depth knowledge of the profession to provide pragmatic, yet innovative input into project designs.

Stephen has also created and delivered hands on engagement strategies which highlight the importance and wide-reaching benefit of archaeology, with particular attention to archaeology as a placemaking tool, allowing stakeholders and local communities to interact and enhance their understanding of the Historic Environment. 

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