The impact of development on protected species needs to be taken seriously. Legislation can be confusing and appear daunting. However we are here to advise clients through the whole process.
Consideration for protected species is commonly needed in older properties and in close proximity to woodlands and watercourses.
Many surveys are restricted to particular times of year. It is important RH Ecological Services are is contacted early to discuss all requirements so that the process can be as smooth as possible. Planning applications often have to be withdrawn or are refused because additional surveys are required that were not planned for.
Rachel Hepburn holds survey licenses for bats and great crested newts from Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage and Natural Resources Wales.
CIEEM (Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management) have recently (December 2017) released updated guidance for both ecologists and their clients explaining the ecological survey process with regarding planning.
This can be found here: CIEEM Guide to Ecological Surveys and Their Purpose
These are only some of the services we can offer. Please don’t hesitate to contact Rachel for an informal discussion of your requirements.
Preliminary Ecological Appraisals
These surveys provide baseline data for any development and include risk assessment for key species within the area. A data search is requested from the local environmental records centre and this along with a site visit and local knowledge is used to assess the impact of the development and advise on mitigation, methodologies for the works or the need for additional survey works.
Examples of species and groups risk assessed for within this survey are bats, great crested newts, water vole, otter, red squirrel, badger, reptiles and birds.
Risk assessments can be carried out any time of year.
Guidance from CIEEM can be found here.
Our staff hold bat survey licenses from Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage and Natural Resources Wales. There are several levels of bat surveys that can be undertaken, following set approved methodologies.
We can offer risk assessment on a variety of features, including buildings, bridges and trees. If full surveys are required, we can accommodate for this, using our sub-contractor team to allow all areas of a feature to be covered when carrying out emergence and re-entry surveys.
Bat survey guidelines can be found here.
Please visit the Bat Conservation Trust website (highlight as link – www.bats.org.uk). Please note any injured bats should be logged by the BCT helpline on 0345 1300 228.
If bat roost within a development then a license from the relevant authority (Natural England in England) is required. RH Ecological Services can work with the clients in the application process which will include method statements and mitigation in order to protect the roost and proceed with the development.
Great crested newts
Also known as warty newts, this protected species is the largest of our native newt species. Although an protected endangered species across Europe, the north east of England, populations of them occur regularly.
Great crested newts (Triturus cristatus) are the largest of our 3 species of native UK newts, also known as warty newts. Their name comes from the large crest that males of this species have during the breeding season.
Newts require ponds for breeding in and will use it for several weeks over the summer months. However for the rest of the year they forage, live and hibernate on land up to 500 metres from the pond.
Great crested newts use ponds and wetlands for breeding in, between approximately mid March till June. The young, known as efts, can often be found in ponds until August.
It is during this time that surveys including the use of bottle traps and torches are carried out to detect their presence.
Our sub-contractor team is available for larger sites and pond complexes.
If great crested newts are present close to the development then a license from the relevant authority (Natural England in England) is required. We can work with the clients in the application process which will include method statements and mitigation in order to safeguard great crested newts and proceed with the development.
Great crested newt guidance from Froglife can be found here.