Who are Swift Ecology?

Swift Ecology was established in 2007

Based in the midlands but able to work across the UK, we have extensive ecological expertise in a wide range of subjects, with staff highly experienced in habitat and species survey, assessment, mitigation and management.

Swift Ecology benefits from a strong cross-over between local authority, conservation body and consultancy ecological experience amongst its staff, and we have built up excellent working relationships with local authorities, wildlife trusts, architects, land agents, private clients and other ecological experts and consultancies.

We offer a unique level of specialist advice among our wide range of services and we hold relevant licences to work with key protected species including bats, dormouse, badger, great crested newt and barn owl.

Swift Ethos

We are a small and flexible ecological consultancy with a strong focus on both professionalism and pragmatism. We work to high professional standards, incorporating a strong ethical approach in conjunction with industry good practice, and in accordance with British Standard BS42020: Code of Practice for Planning and Development. However, we also recognise the need for pragmatism in finding creative solutions to clients' needs that don't compromise our high standards.

We believe that good communication, reliability and a personable, friendly approach is an important element in developing good working relationships and achieving successful planning and biodiversity/conservation outcomes.

Members of our team are also active in voluntary recording and conservation projects involving species/taxa such as dormice, bats, birds, amphibians and reptiles, plants, community woodlands, churchyards and wildflower meadows.

Addressing our carbon footprint

Swift Ecology is taking action to reduce its carbon footprint with the aim of achieving net-zero by 2025. We are constantly looking for ways to reduce the impact of business mileage and other company-related activities, and associated CO2 emissions, on the environment.

After looking at ways to reduce our footprint, we then offset our annual carbon emissions by contribution to tree-planting schemes in the UK and in other parts of the world, ensuring that our offsetting results in carbon neutrality, with tangible benefits to the environment.

Trees for life: A charity aiming to restore the ancient Caledonian forest in the Scottish Highlands

Heart of England Forest: A local charity establishing a native broadleaved woodland in Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

Our Directors:

Mike Sharp BSc MCIEEM
Principal Ecologist/Director

Mike has worked in the ecological sector for over a decade and has a wealth of direct experience working within the planning system, having delivered planning support to a local authority from 2008 to 2014. Mike has extensive experience of delivering ecological services in a wide range of developments including barn conversions, residential developments, pipeline installations and wind farms. He has a particular interest in bat ecology and is experienced in conducting inspection surveys of buildings and trees (and is qualified in tree climbing and aerial rescue). Mike is the named ecologist on over 20 successful EPS mitigation licences for bats in England and Wales and is a Registered Consultant with Natural England's Bat Low Impact Class Licence. He is licensed to survey for bats, dormice, great crested newts and barn owls in England and Wales.

Mike juggles working full-time for Swift Ecology with bringing up four small children with his partner Clare. Outside of work Mike enjoys family walks in the Cotswolds and spending time at the allotment living the 'good life'.

Nick Underhill-Day BSc PhD MCIEEM
Principal Ecologist /Director

With former experience in academic research and over ten years in the ecological sector, Nick has accumulated a broad range of skills and experience with which he draws upon to provide expert ecological advice and support. Nick has worked and led on a wide variety of ecological projects, from developments to conservation management and habitat restoration plans, with clients including statutory bodies, NGOs, PCCs, charities, voluntary groups, property and land owners, architects, land and planning agents, and other ecological consultancies. Nick has extensive skills in habitat and protected species surveys, ecological evaluation and project management. Nick holds protected species class licences for bats, great crested newt and barn owl, and is qualified in tree climbing and aerial rescue. He is also a Registered user of Natural England's Badger Class Licence, and is the named ecologist on numerous successful protected species licenses for bats and badger.

Nick has a life-long interest in Natural History and, when not with his family, spends his spare time enjoying the outdoors, walking and taking a keen interest in the wildlife in his local area. He undertakes annual breeding bird surveys for the BTO and Malvern Hills Trust and helps with monitoring a reintroduced dormouse population as part of the National Dormouse Monitoring Programme. Nick has undertaken numerous other voluntary surveys over the years, for bats, birds, amphibians, butterflies and various other species and taxa.

Ecological Consultants:

Anna Dudley BSc MSc MCIEEM
Principal Ecologist

Anna has worked in ecological consultancy for over a decade, and has extensive experience of undertaking habitat and protected species surveys, as well as Biodiversity Net Gain assessments, designing and implementing mitigation, habitat management and monitoring schemes. Her main interest lies in undertaking habitat and botanical surveys, and she has achieved FISC Level 4. She is licensed to survey for bats in England and great crested newts in England and Wales, and is the named ecologist on a number of great crested newt mitigation and conservation licences. She also has many years' experience of surveying for otter, badger and reptiles.

Before joining Swift Ecology, Anna worked for a well-established ecological consultancy where she worked on a wide variety of projects, including large residential developments and major infrastructure projects.

In her spare time, Anna helps her local conservation group manage their community woodland and undertakes recording for the local botanical group. She also enjoys baking, reading and going for muddy walks.

Catherine Coton BSc ACIEEM
Senior Ecologist

Catherine graduated from Exeter University with a degree in zoology in 2012, beginning her career as a trainee with the ecology team at a local planning authority, where she gained key experience in ecology within the planning system before moving into consultancy. Since then she has worked on a wide variety of projects, from listed building repairs through to large-scale residential developments. Catherine has many years' experience of surveying for a range of protected and priority species; she holds Natural England survey licences for bats and great crested newts, and is a keen botanist (FISC level 4). She has completed Ecological Impact Assessments and Biodiversity Net Gain assessments for a range of projects, and prepared mitigation strategies and long-term Habitat Management Plans to aid the delivery of biodiversity enhancements alongside development projects.

Outside of work, Catherine volunteers with local recording groups (mammals and plants) in Warwickshire, and she leads a local churchyard conservation project, encouraging volunteers to get involved with wildflower meadow management and connect with nature on their doorstep.

Camilla Winder BSc MSc MPhil MCIEEM

Camilla is an experienced ecologist with over 19 years of experience working in ecology and conservation. She has a broad range of ecological field survey skills, including habitat and botanical survey, protected species surveys, report writing, client liaison and working with contractors.

She has carried out habitat surveys across the UK, and protected species surveys including great crested newts, reptiles, water voles, otters, badgers, bird surveys and bat surveys. She holds Class licences for great crested newt and hazel dormouse, and is working towards bat survey and handling licences.

In a voluntary capacity, Camilla is a Herefordshire Mammal Group committee member and has monitored dormouse nest boxes in Herefordshire and Monmouthshire for the last 10 years. She is also a committee member of Herefordshire Amphibian and Reptile Team, and an active member of Hereford Bat Rescue.

Rhiannon Taylor BSc MSc (Qualifying Member of CIEEM)
Assistant Ecologist (part-time)

Rhiannon is a qualified veterinary nurse, and works part time for Swift. Her particular interests are mammals and protected species generally, particularly pine martens, which were the subject of her MSc.

In her spare time she enjoys horse riding, dog walking, yoga and travelling, when the opportunity arises. She also volunteers on dormice surveys in the Malvern Hills, and pine marten surveys for VWT.

Johnny Birks BSc PhD MCIEEM
Principal Ecologist(part-time)

Johnny has worked in wildlife research and nature conservation for 30 years, and has particular expertise in the conservation ecology of European mammals. He holds survey licences for several protected species, including bats, pine marten, dormouse, barn owl and great-crested newt and holds current EPS mitigation licences for bats. He is also experienced in the assessment and management of semi-natural habitats, and in conducting breeding bird surveys. He is a Registered Consultant for the Bat Low Impact Class Licence (BLICL).

Prior to the establishment of Swift Ecology, Johnny worked in universities, statutory nature conservation agencies and the voluntary conservation sector. He is well known for his previous role at the Vincent Wildlife Trust, where he acquired a wealth of knowledge encompassing protected species survey and mitigation, and gained an international reputation in the field of mammal research.

Johnny now works part-time for Swift Ecology; he spends the rest of his time helping with his twin grand-daughters, rowing with Upton Rowing Club, and maintaining his long-term interest in mustelids. He has recently written books on polecats and pine martens, both published by Whittet Books.


We work closely with many other experienced ecologists who bring to Swift Ecology a wide range of skills thus enabling us to provide the full range of ecological surveys, including crayfish, other invertebrates, and specialist botanical surveys.

Lisa Kerslake BSc MSc CEcol FCIEEM

Lisa has a wide range of ecological skills, with extensive experience of habitat and protected species surveys and monitoring and mitigation work. Her main interest is mammals and she holds survey licences for bats, dormice, great crested newt and barn owl, and EPS mitigation licences for bats and great crested newts. She is a Registered Consultant for the Bat Low Impact Class Licence (BLICL).

Prior to establishing Swift Ecology, Lisa held senior positions at established ecological consultancies in the English midlands and has worked in the conservation and environmental sector for over 30 years, including for the Nature Conservancy Council, Nottinghamshire County Council and Northumberland Wildlife Trust, and she was the first Director of the North and East Yorkshire Ecological Data Centre. She currently works as Director of Operations (S&W) for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, but retains an involvement with Swift Ecology as an Associate.

Lisa is very active in CIEEM, being a founder member, Fellow, and currently Vice President (England). She has previously served on both the Professional Standards and External Affairs Committees and now sits on the Governing Board and Advisory Forum; she is also a Chartered Ecologist Assessor. Outside work Lisa enjoys planning and taking interesting holidays and short breaks with her husband, and always has her eye on the next trip, which will usually involve food and wine. To counter this she tries to keep fit despite hating any exercise that is more challenging than a gentle walk.

All our staff are members of CIEEM

The Swift Team in Volunteer Projects

"What more can I say than a huge 'Thank-you' for your honest, quick and professional service."

Buy 'Polecats' by
Johnny Birks (retired from Swift Ecology)

Buy 'Pine Martens' by
Johnny Birks (retired from Swift Ecology)


Expansion zone survey of pine marten (Martes martes) distribution in Scotland Categorising our 'cats': a case for pragmatism Distribution of the pine marten(Martes martes) in southern Scotland in 2013 Backlash against Bats? In Practice (CIEEM bulletin), March 2012 Insects in the diet of the hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius): a pilot study using DNA barcoding Molecular comparison of historical and contemporary pine marten (Martes martes) populations in the British Isles: evidence of differing origins and fates, and implications for conservation management Bat mitigation - are we working in the dark? Article in Mammal News, Autumn 2015 Bats and bureaucracy. Article in Mammal News, Summer 2010 Sample diversity adds value to non-invasive genetic assessment of a pine marten population in Galloway Forest Den boxes as a tool for pine marten Martes martes conservation and population monitoring in a commercial forest in Scotland Comparing the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of sampling methods for estimating population abundance and density of a recovering carnivore: the European pine marten (Martes martes) Raising Standards in Planning, Licensing and Ecology Sample diversity adds value to non-invasive genetic assessment of a pine marten (Martes martes) population in Galloway Forest, southwest Scotland