An Ecology survey is a detailed report on the likely impact that a proposed development will have on wildlife. It is usually required by the planning authority as part of a planning application.
For small developments, a ‘walk over,’ Extended Phase 1 survey is carried out. This involves a site visit to record habitats and species present and to assess the site for protected species. The report will also include the results of a desk study. This is a basic survey intended for small scale developments such as a single wind turbine or residential property.
A larger development may also require a full Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA), which is an extension of the ecology walk over survey and includes any dedicated protected species surveys together with agreed mitigation procedures.
Ecologists should deliver a comprehensive Ecological survey report to a high standard which will identify any ecological constraints and suggest realistic and cost-effective mitigation, where necessary. Ecologists have experience in a wide range of developments, including Wind Farms, road building schemes, property enhancements and developments.
Timing of surveys
It is very useful to carry out an initial scoping survey at an early stage to identify any likely ecological constraints and species needing detailed survey or NRW license applications. The species surveys often have to be done at a specific time of year, so starting early can avoid long and perhaps costly delays.
The following box highlights some of the timescales throughout the year for a range of species.
|Bat activity surveys||May to September|
|Phase 1 and other vegetation||Best in April to September|
|Badger||Possible any time but best in winter|
|Reptiles||March to September|
|Breeding birds||April to June|
|Dormice nest tube survey||April to October (site tubes in April)|
|Dormice nut search||September and October|
|Wintering birds||November to February|