ecological surveys

Ecological Surveys and Assessments

Do I need an ecological survey or assessment?

Many development sites, with the exception of a few small householder applications, can potentially impact local wildlife or biodiversity and as such, will need ecological surveys and assessments. All planning applications for such sites are required by the LPA (local planning authority) to have carried out an ecological assessment to determine signs of possible protected species and habitats of ecological value.

Carrying out an ecological assessment will help avoid disturbance of legally protected species as well as inform the developer of any ecological constraints early on in the planning process.

What type of ecological survey / assessment do I need and when?

Ecological surveys are often season dependent and so it is essential for any site with potential ecological considerations to be assessed as early on as possible. Although Preliminary Ecological Appraisals and Phase I Habitat surveys can be undertaken all year round, further surveys are constrained to certain time-frames, meaning that if surveys are left too late, planning applications can be considerably delayed as protected species are a material consideration at planning determination stage.

To find out more about key survey seasons, click through to our Ecological Survey Calendar here

REC has a national Ecology team, ran by our senior lead Olivia Winter. Click below to find out more.

Most planning applications will require some form of preliminary ecological appraisal, sometimes known as a ‘walkover’ or ‘baseline’ survey.  The survey provides initial guidance to the developer about key ecological constraints of a site, design options and whether (and if so, where) there is a requirement for further surveys and mitigation measures.

Click below to find out more.

The findings of your initial PEA or Phase 1 habitat survey will determine whether or not you need a protected species survey. This means that all developments need to carry out relevant assessments to ensure that no harm or disruption comes to such species. Once established that such a survey is needed, it is crucial that they are done within time constraints to avoid planning delays.

What is a protected species? A large number of species are protected under The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 and/or the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981. For examples of protected species and relevant surveys, for example, Great Crested Newt Surveys, please click below to find out more.

REC’s ecology team are led by Chartered Ecologist, James Patmore, who provides CPD seminars in regards to ecology constraints for planning and development. If you face ecological considerations in your work and are looking to improve and inform your understanding of the subject, then please take a look at our Events calendar to find details of our latest ecology seminars. Click below to find out more about our current events.