Why ecological surveys are necessary for development sites

09 Oct 2015



Most development proposals these days have an impact on local biodiversity, through the loss or reduction in value of habitats and the ability to support the species that depend upon them.

The purpose of an ecological survey is to determine what habitats or species exist at the site before a planning application is submitted and, from this, to highlight any potential ecological constraints with regards to the proposals.  The Local Planning Authorities are then able to make an informed decision to ensure that wildlife can be protected from harm during development, and to ensure that any habitat loss will not have an adverse impact on specific protected species, nor local biodiversity, as a result of the proposed development.

Carrying out an ecological survey of a site will allow:

- The developer to be aware of the ecological constraints of the site at an early stage and what impacts they may have in terms of time constraints and resources.

- Development to be designed to limit the impacts upon species protected under European and/or English legislation.

- The master plan for the proposed development to be prepared so it has the least possible adverse impact upon the ecology of the site.

- An understanding of the site and its surrounding area's existing ecology, and the mitigation required to avoid adverse impacts on protected habitats and species.

- The landscaping works and other ecological enhancements required to compensate for any significant habitat loss and to ensure a gain in the biodiversity value of the site following the proposed development, in accordance with the NPPF (2012).

The ecologist will identify the best time to complete an ecological survey, and will ensure that the Client is aware of the seasonal constraints associated with undertaking protected species survey works so that a survey window is not missed.  All this is completed in accordance with the appropriate protected species and habitat survey guidelines.

Download our ecological survey calendar to view optimal survey times for a variety of species.  See more details of the ecology services we offer.