Ecological Surveys & Assessments
At Phlorum we undertake a range of ecological surveys for clients from a variety of disciplines. Our ecological surveyors are skilled at delivering the services that enable our clients to proceed rapidly with their project. Our commercial focus ensures that our clients have high success rate with their applications.
We work with organisations across the UK, whose repeat business is a testament to our ability to meet their requirements in discharging conditions and pre-empting potential issues early in the process, saving time and money in the long run.
Some companies we have worked with :-
- Faith and Gould
- Jones Lang Lasalle
- DMH Stallard
- UKDN water UK
This most usually is in the provision of impact assessments and mitigation for developments during their planning, construction and demolition stages – such as for the discharge of planning conditions or in the delivery of Section 106 agreements.
Why Do You Need An Ecological Survey?
If you are developing a site that supports natural habitats or buildings, there is potential for it to support species protected by UK or European legislation. Identifying ecological constraints early in the development planning process can help avoid costly delays and potential complications further down the line.
Ecology surveys serve to identify the presence of these species to enable mitigation to be devised to safeguard species present within the site, ensuring all work to develop the site is done in accordance with legislation, therefore avoiding possible prosecution.
Additionally, 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, habitat creation and management requirements are increasingly important components of many civil engineering projects.
For these reasons, Phlorum are proud to offer a wide range of ecology surveys.
Types of Ecological Surveys
The usual progress of ecological assessment in relation to planning is to carry out an initial survey to establish habitats that might be valuable and/or have potential to support protected species. From this preliminary assessment, more detailed surveys and/or recommendations for suitable habitat creation and improvement can be offered.
- Preliminary Ecological Appraisals (formerly known as Phase 1 Habitat Surveys);
- Scoping Assessments;
- National Vegetation Classification surveys;
- River Corridor Surveys;
- Tree surveys in accordance with British Standards;
- BREEAM and other types of assessments that score sustainability indices for different types of development; and
- Critical Load assessments in relation to air pollutant deposition on sensitive habitats.
Protected Species Surveys
There is various legislation that affords protection to a range of plant and animal species in the UK. Phlorum works closely with clients when planning and carrying out the following protected species surveys.
- European protected species including great crested newt, bats, otters and dormice;
- Reptiles (including slow worms, common lizards, grass snakes and adders);
- Water vole;
- Birds, including breeding and wintering birds and barn owl;
- Terrestrial invertebrates;
- Aquatic invertebrates; and
- White-clawed crayfish.
Ecological Survey Cost
Our ecological surveys will vary in cost depending on the level of survey effort required. Habitat surveys only require a single site visit, so they typically cost less than more detailed protected species surveys. Some protected species surveys require multiple site visits by several surveyors—e.g. great crested newt surveys require between 4 and 6 separate site visits to survey ponds and at least 7 visits are required to undertake reptile presence/absence surveys.
Once the need for surveys has been identified the costs can be calculated and agreed prior to committing to the surveys.
Get In Touch
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.
Frequently Asked Ecological Survey Questions
Ecological surveys are used to gather information on type and distribution of flora and fauna at a site. They can provide an overview of ecological features present, or be tailored more specifically to focus on particular species or habitats.
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.
Ecology reports are used to summarise the results of ecological surveys, and are usually submitted as part of a planning application. A professional ecologist will assess the significance of survey findings in relation to the relevant environmental legislation, and provide recommendations for the site and any further surveys required.
We provide input to architects and landscapers on the ecological issues, and on the potential ecological enhancement measures including native plant species that could be introduced to a site.
What Do Ecological Surveys Help Protect?
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).
Will The Results Of An Ecological Survey Stop My Development?
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.
Can Protected Species Surveys Wait Until A Planning Application Is Submitted?
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.