Our ecology surveys identify the presence or likely absence of protected species within a site. This enables mitigation to be devised to ensure all work is done in accordance with legislation, therefore avoiding possible prosecution.
Almost all development sites have the potential to support
Identifying ecological constraints early in the development planning process can help avoid costly delays and complications further down the line.
Early recognition of ecological enhancement opportunities can also pay dividends if they align with wider biodiversity policies and objectives. As sustainable development principles acknowledge the need to improve biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Phlorum offer a wide range of ecology surveys; get in touch with our ecology experts for your FREE consultation.
Types of Ecological Surveys
The usual progress of ecological assessment in relation to planning is to carry out an initial Preliminary Ecological Appraisal. From this, recommendations for habitat enhancements, or if required, further surveys, can be made.
Habitat Surveys & Reports Preliminary Ecological Appraisals (formerly known as Phase 1 Habitat Surveys) Protected Species Scoping Assessments National Vegetation Classification surveys River Corridor Surveys Tree surveys in accordance with British Standards BREEAM – Ecological Assessments for BREEAM Biodiversity Net Gain calculations Habitat Regulation Assessments Biodiversity/Ecological Management/Mitigation /Monitoring/Enhancement Plans/Strategies Critical Load assessments in relation to air pollutant deposition on sensitive habitats Ecological method statements for works Ecological Landscaping, including habitat management, creation and mitigation Planting plans Ecological watching briefs (Ecological Clerk of Works – ECoW) Ecological toolbox talks Get In Touch
In addition to these standard reports, many sites will have specific requirements for more specialist reports or surveys.
If you do not see the service you require above, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our expert consultants, who will be happy to offer advice based on your specific needs and circumstances.
Surveys are usually valid for 12-18 months, although this will vary between sites and depends on the assessment of a professional ecologist. Validity tends to vary due to important conditions changing, such as if the site is colonised by a notable species.
There is various legislation that affords protection to a range of plant and animal species in the UK. This includes the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 and the Protection of Badger Act 1992. Bats, great crested newt, hazel dormouse, otter, water vole, reptiles and badger are examples of species with specific legislative protection. Measures must therefore be taken by any development or other type of project that might cause harm to protected species or habitats. For most protected species, surveys must be conducted when individuals are active. This can mean that surveys are limited to certain times of the year (usually excluding winter).
If the potential for protected species has not been scoped out (through undertaking a PEA) the local authority may request that further ecological assessments are undertaken which could lead to delays to the project, particularly for those species groups that can only be surveyed at specific times of the year. If protected species are found to be present, suitable mitigation will be devised by the ecologist to enable works to proceed.
The level of mitigation will vary depending on the number and type of species present at the site. For example, a large population of great crested newts will require more complex mitigation than a low population of reptiles. Mitigation measures may take some time to implement and cause significant delays.
It is therefore vital to determine the potential for protected species early in the planning process. For example, if reptiles need to be moved from the site this can take up to three months for a large population, which can only be undertaken when reptiles are active (between March and October).
Reptiles will need to be removed from the site before any ground works can commence and therefore if works are scheduled for the winter months and reptiles have not been moved, works will need to be delayed until the following summer. Identifying the potential for protected species and factoring in the necessary surveys as early as possible is advisable to avoid costly delays to a development project.
Essentially can they be made a planning condition? The effect of proposed development on nature conservation is a material planning consideration. As such, local planning authorities will usually require likely effects to be assessed as part of a planning application or appeal submission. Protected species surveys should therefore be carried out prior to submitting a planning application or appeal. Any necessary ecological mitigation that is recommended based on the findings of the protected species surveys is then normally conditioned.