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ecological surveys

Ecology Consultants

REC provides trusted and timely ecological advice to inform every stage of your project, to ensure on-time delivery and avoid the potential for any costly delays.

We provide comprehensive ecological services across the UK – from strategic advice, Preliminary Ecological Appraisals and protected species surveys, to biodiversity management, mitigation and expert witness support.

Our respected Ecology consultants work with clients across a diverse range of sectors, including residential and commercial development, industry, minerals and infrastructure. We take the time to understand your aims and objectives, so we can provide tailored advice adapted to the size and complexity of your project.

Trusted Ecological Services

Undertaking ecological surveys requires an in-depth understanding of UK plant and animal species in order to provide accurate and reliable results. Our extensive knowledge and expertise enable us to provide the most appropriate solution for any potential ecological constraints impacting upon your project.

All our ecologists are members of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environment (CIEEM), hold a range of Natural England protected species licences, and have certifications in recognised construction related qualifications.

REC can also support you in reaching local and national biodiversity targets through our ecological advice, which helps you to meet the ever-increasing need for sustainable developments. We help you remain compliant at every stage of your project and can offer practical advice on all ecological surveys and licences you may require. REC is renowned for its high-quality reporting, reactive approach and quick turnaround times. We are able to support you with emergency call out services if you come across an ecological issue that could significantly affect your project delivery or operational activities.

We have a thorough understanding of the planning process in regards to ecology which enables us to provide high quality, informed and tailored advice on Local Planning Authority requirements as part of their decision-making process.

Our Services

Our Preliminary Ecological Appraisals (PEAs) provide clients with an assessment of the types and likelihood of ecology and habitats present at a site, and subsequently recommend what – if any – surveys need to be undertaken to satisfy planning.

Our highly informative and timely PEAs comprise a desk study of existing data complemented by a site-based Phase 1 habitat survey, to provide an accurate assessment of the types and quality of the habitats present and their potential to support protected species.

Our Ecological Impact Assessments support schemes of all scales in securing planning – from small residential developments, to large mixed-use projects and minerals and quarrying applications. Ecological Impact Assessments (EcIA) may be part of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), or used independently for smaller developments to identify any significant ecological impacts.

Our EcIAs determine the potentially significant effects that proposed development plans may cause. They detail the requirement for mitigation, compensation and enhancement by providing an assessment of the baseline conditions and how these conditions will change.

The great crested newt is typically one of the more likely ecological constraints encountered on development sites. The great crested newt is a native UK amphibian species protected by law making it illegal to harm them or their habitat. Their presence or likely presence can have significant implications to development plans, project timings and costs.

Guided by Natural England, the Local Planning Authority will request that an assessment for great crested newts is undertaken on all sites with ponds or sites with suitable terrestrial habitats that have connectivity to ponds in the local area – potentially up to 500m away (depending on the size of the development).

The great crested newt survey season is short and runs from mid-March to mid-June. It is therefore essential that your great crested newt surveys are planned in advance to avoid delays in the determination of your planning application.

All bat species and their resting places are legally protected so their presence or that of their roosting sites can have significant implications on development plans, project timings and costs. As impacts upon protected species is a consideration for planning applications, surveys and assessment work must be completed before the application can be determined by the Local Planning Authority.

Internal and external inspections of buildings and trees (scoping surveys) can be undertaken at any time in the year. However, emergence/re-entry and activity surveys can only be undertaken between May and September during the bat active season. It is therefore important that your bat surveys are planned in advance to avoid delays in the determination of your planning application.

All widespread reptile species (grass snakes, slow worms, adders, and common lizard) are protected under law from intentional killing and injury. Reptiles can be found in a variety of habitats including rural and urban areas.

Our team of ecologists have a wide array of experience in reptile surveying and implementing mitigation, and can deliver effective and pragmatic solutions where required.

There are a range of other plant and animal species protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and Habitats Regulations that may be present within your development site.

Protected species are classed as a consideration during the application process which means that all surveys and necessary mitigation must be submitted prior to your application being considered.

Our experienced ecologists can carry out multiple protected species surveys including:

  • Barn Owl surveys
  • Otter surveys
  • Water vole surveys
  • Dormouse surveys
  • Reptile surveys
  • Breeding and Wintering Bird surveys
  • Badger surveys
  • Botanical surveys
  • Invertebrate Surveys

Our experienced ecologists will advise on and solve your protected species issues in a timely and efficient manner.

REC provides clients with Ecological Clerk of Works (ECoW) where protection of ecological receptors is required on a development site during enabling and construction works. The role of the ECoW is to supervise the construction works on site to ensure that works are in accordance with legislation, best practice guidance, EPS licence methodology, method statements and management plans. The ECoW will also provide advice, pre-construction checks, toolbox talks, regular updates, public and stakeholder cooperation, and monitoring.

REC is also able to provide advice or emergency call outs at short notice if unexpected constraints occur during the works.

REC provides clients with detailed Method Statement, Construction and Environmental Management Plan (CEMP), Ecological Management Plan or Ecological Enhancement Plan where required. The Local Planning Authority may require or condition these as part of a planning application to provide details on how protected and priority habitats/species and designated sites identified as being potentially impacted by the proposed works will be safeguarded during the construction and operational phases.

Developments that provide ecological enhancements are usually looked upon more favourably by the Local Planning Authority. REC helps you develop your bio-diversity enhancement plans as part of your development designs, to help increase your bio-diversity net gain commitment.

REC is experienced in providing assessments to determine whether a proposed development can achieve the required ecological credits as part of a BREEAM Assessment. Advice sought at the earliest opportunity enables us to identify areas of ecological interest on site and develop appropriate and proportionate ecological enhancements to maximise the number of credits that can be achieved.

The European Union (EU) Habitats and Birds Directive protects certain species of plants and animals which are particularly vulnerable. The Directives specifically relates to Special Protection Areas (SPAs), Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Ramsar sites known as Natura 2000 sites. The process of HRA involves an initial ‘Screening’ stage followed by an Appropriate Assessment (AA) if proposals are likely to have a significant (adverse) impact on a Natura 2000 site.

REC ecologists are experienced in undertaking screening assessments and full HRAs for a variety of residential, industrial, minerals and renewable energy projects. We have the knowledge and in-house expertise to investigate the potential impacts of the development on the site, and work closely with our in-house noise, air quality, and hydrological consultants to provide clients with the inter-disciplinary service needed to deliver reliable and comprehensive HRAs.

We are able to provide high-quality and detailed ecological advice to Local Planning Authorities to help determine their planning applications. Our ecologists are experts in local and national planning policy as well as biodiversity legislation and best practice. We can assess applications individually and provide clear and concise advice on whether sufficient ecological information has been provided to fully determine the application. Additionally, we can engage with the relevant stakeholders, representing the Local Planning Authority where necessary.

Useful Information


Do you have an ecology requirement? Get in touch with the REC team on 0845 676 9303 or email