Ecology surveys and reports are added to the Ambiental services line-up to better support the UK planning industry.
As an environmental consultant, we have become well versed in the UK planning industry. In doing so, we noticed a growing need for ecological surveys and assessment for our clients.
We wanted to provide the highest quality support to our clients and so have partnered up with local ecologists in order to create a new service: Ecology Surveys.
Our ecological surveys and assessments are designed to support planning applications and buying decisions all across the UK. We can identify any ecological constraint to a new or existing development to support our client’s planning application.
Our experience with the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) through our Flood Risk Assessments and SuDS design service means we’re well versed in policy and legislation around nature conservation within the UK planning industry. We also have a great working relationship with the National Nature Conversation agencies.
All of this means that we can provide our clients with the latest advice and highest quality reports that will satisfy all policy requirements at a much quicker timeframe than our competitors.
What ecological surveys help protect
There is a variety of legislation that protects a range of plant and animal species throughout the UK. For example, the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, and the Protection of Badger Act 1992.
These cover a variety of species, namely bats, great crested newts, hazel dormouse, otters, water voles, reptiles, and badgers. This means that any developments or projects must account for these plants or creatures, mitigating any effects it may have to them or their habitats.
What ecology surveys and services we can provide
We can provide a wide variety of ecology surveys in order to support your development and ensure the ecological sustainability of your site. These include habitat surveys such as:
- Preliminary ecological appraisals, PEA (previously known as Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey)
- Ecological scoping and impact assessments (EcIA)
- Protected species and river corridor surveys
- Ecological impact and scoping assessments
- National Vegetation Classification surveys
- Arboricultural impact assessments (AIA)
- Tree surveys and constraints plans
- Designs for sustainable drainage systems (SuDS)
Why do I need an ecology survey?
You won’t always need an ecology survey when you’re developing a new site. However, it’s worth checking if your development fits the requirements.
Planning authorities will require an ecology report if your development is in a site that could be a suitable habitat for any European Protected Species. This could be anywhere from a traditional timber-framed building (such as a barn on a farm), to ponds or ditches located within 500 metres of your site.
In our experience, many of our clients come to us for Ecology surveys after they’ve been contacted by the local council and told they require one. This means they probably have historical data of that area, or the surrounding area, having protected species nearby.
When this happens, you’ll need a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) to determine whether more investigation is needed.
Although PEA’s can be done at any time of the year, this usually means costly delays as planning approval is put on hold until this can be done. You can get ahead of this by contacting the council directly to ask if an ecology survey is required before you go to submit so you’re prepared with all the surveys that need to be done.
In essence, the PEA is done to prove no protected species are on the site. If there are protected species, these will be noted on the PEA and then further surveys need to be done. This is where the big delays can come in as many protected species surveys have to be done at certain times of the year. For example, bats can only be surveyed between May and September and require multiple visits.
This means that if you get a call from the council in October asking for a bat survey, you’ll have to wait till May the next year to fulfill their requirements.
This is why it’s always best to sort out your ecology survey as soon as you know there may be habitats or species on your development site.
What protected species can you survey for?
When a species is classified as “protected”, that means you can’t damage the species itself or its habitat. The species we can survey for are:
- Amphibians – great crested newt and natterjack toads
- Reptiles – common lizards, slow worms, adders, grass snakes, sand lizards, and smooth snakes
- Water voles
- White-clawed crayfish
You can see when we can survey for these in our protected species calendar here.
We’re very excited to offer this new service to our clients and look forward to helping them gain planning permission with our wide variety of environmental surveys.
If you’re interested in getting an ecology survey, feel free to contact our team on 0203 857 8540 or email [email protected] and we’ll get back to you very soon with a free quote for your assessment.