Guess who’s the only fibre optic cabling company in the UK with an on-call ecologist?
Meet Gary Howell – Networx3’s on-call ecologist.
The stone waller turned ecologist has been working with Networx3 for more than a decade sharing his expert knowledge about biodiversity, wildlife habitats conservation.
Gary works alongside the Networx3 engineers on client work where laying fibre optic cable has environmental considerations – from working in beauty spots to protecting bats on site.
The collaboration is something that sets Networx3 apart in the fibre optic cable industry.
Networx3 founder and managing director Ian Ashworth said: “We’re a green company. We care about the environment we work in. The last thing we want to do is put a digger on land to do a fibre optic cable installation and destroy a dozen species in the process. Others might chop down oak trees and destroy badger setts but we don’t operate like that.
“Environmental impact never used to be scrutinised before but everyone is starting to sit up and take notice. It’s a natural string to our bow as a company but it’s also becoming a business requirement for our clients.”
Gary will often be drafted in to complete a desktop survey and site visit before work starts. His recommendations will then be applied as work gets underway.
This might include planning access routes for a digger or tractor that avoid homes for wildlife such as fox holes and badger setts. Other mitigating measures such as scheduling work to avoid disturbing nocturnal and hedgerow animals can also be put into place.
Ian said: “We sometimes work in very rural areas where we’re improving connectivity but we want to make sure we don’t spoil what makes that area beautiful.”
Gary turned his love of the great outdoors into a job as a stone waller before graduating from the University of Central Lancashire with a first class degree in rural resource management.
Now he advises clients like Networx3, landowners, local authorities and farmers on land management, conservation, habitats, protected species and water quality.
Gary said: “I was a stone waller for decades and now I’m a natural world detective. If we don’t look after our rivers, woodland and land then it won’t be here for future generations. It’s great working with Networx3 who care about these issues as a business.”