Protected Species Survey for a Planning Application

Local planning authorities will often ask for a protected species report for a planning application. The type of development involved will determine the type of protected species survey and report required. Udall-Martin Associates is a specialist ecological consultancy with over 15 years’ experience in carrying out protected species surveys and producing Protected Species Survey Reports to support planning applications. We provide a pragmatic and practical approach and work closely with the statutory agencies to ensure proportionate mitigation and compensation is recommended, if required.

We have carried out numerous protected species surveys and produced Protected Species Survey Reports for planning applications, provided licensing advice to clients regarding European Protected Species mitigation licences and designed mitigation and compensation for protected species which is proportionate to the potential impacts and nature of the development. We also have extensive experience of carrying out on-site mitigation works including giving ‘tool box’ talks, supervising destructive searches of buildings, creation of bat compensation measures (such as bat tile installation and creation of bat lofts/houses) and Ecological Clerk of Works (ECoW).

For a proposed development which involves building works (e.g. building demolition, building extension, building refurbishment, barn conversions etc.), then a protected species report would be required to accompany a planning application. This requires a bat survey, nesting bird check and limited desk study. The bat scoping survey of the affected building is carried out by an experienced and licensed bat ecologist. This would involve searching the interior (including any loft voids) for bats and evidence of bats such as droppings and feeding remains and an assessment of the exterior of the building for features which may provide potential bat roosting habitat and/or bat access into the interior, e.g. missing and raised roof tiles, raised lead flashing around chimneys, missing mortar and gaps in brickwork etc. A bat scoping survey can be carried out at any time of year. A search for nesting birds would also be carried out. If the building is in a rural location and/or an agricultural building, then a search for barn owl evidence will also be carried out. At the preliminary stage a limited desk study would be carried out involving reviewing the National Biodiversity Network website for bat records for the site and a 2km radius around the site.

The Protected Species Survey Report has the following sections: executive summary; introduction (including legislation details); methods; results; evaluation and potential ecology impacts; general mitigation, compensation and enhancement recommendations; further bat/bird survey recommendations; bibliography; and appendices (including figures, photographs and procedure to follow if bats are found during building works).

If evidence of bats and/or potential bat roosting features were found, then further bat surveys would be required to satisfy the planning authority and meet the Bat Conservation Trust bat survey guidelines. This would involve bat dusk emergence surveys, whereby ecologists visit the site before dusk and observe the building for approximately 1.5 to 2 hours to ascertain if any bats emerge from the building. If bats emerge this would indicate the bats are using the building as a day-time bat roost. The bat report would be updated accordingly.

If a proposed development is to affect an area of land (e.g. green field and brown field sites), then the Protected Species Survey Report required would involve further protected species surveys. Depending on the land to be affected this may require great crested newt habitat suitability assessment (HSI) and possible further full great crested newts surveys of ponds, reptile surveys of the site and/or badger surveys of the site and also a desk study. The Protected Species Survey report will have the same sections as for the reports for bats and birds (see above).

Udall-Martin Associates works throughout the UK offering a national wide ecology service for a variety of clients covering a diversity of land uses and developments. We work extensively throughout the West Midlands (Birmingham, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire), South West (Devon, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire) and East Midlands (Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire).

Udall-Martin Associates can provide for all your ecology needs. Call us today on 01684 540695 for a quotation or advice. We would be happy to assist with your planning application, satisfying planning conditions and/or obtaining a European Protected Species mitigation licence.