• Client
    Private developer
  • Location
    North Bradley, Trowbridge

We provided ecological advice and assessment, including a Biodiversity Net Gain assessment, to help achieve a recommendation to grant planning permission for residential development on land linked to a bat Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

We undertook bat activity and emergence surveys to determine the use of the site by bat species associated with the Bath and Bradford-on-Avon Bats (SAC). Our habitat surveys also informed a Biodiversity Net Gain calculation to evidence that the proposals would result in no net loss of habitat value on site.

The outline application was for up to 23 residential units on a 1ha site used for horse grazing. It required detailed ecological assessment because it was located on land functionally linked to a bat SAC and was in a medium-risk zone, as defined by local planning guidance – the Trowbridge Bat Mitigation Strategy (TBMS). The area falls under the TBMS as it supports one of the largest known UK breeding meta-populations of the rare Bechstein’s bat.

One of the requirements of the local planning policy and the TBMS was to evidence there would be no quantitative loss of habitat value on site due to the proposals. We undertook an initial out-of-season habitat survey to help the development team understand the potential Net Developable Area (NDA) achievable. We then confirmed the survey findings in the appropriate season, using the UK Habitat Classification methodology and the Natural England condition assessment sheets. The completion of Natural England’s BNG Metric and associated BNG figures using this more robust data then gave greater confidence in the achievable NDA.

Using a range of bat survey approaches and techniques, over a period of time we built a detailed understanding of how bats utilise the application area and surroundings. This enabled us to inform the preparation of the development proposals, in a way that would also protect the bat interest of the area.

Our Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA) set out how the proposed mitigation measures would avoid unacceptable impacts on the ecology interests of the site and the local bat population. The findings were accepted by both Wiltshire Council and Natural England and the project proposals were found acceptable to the Wiltshire Council Planning Committee.

The process of early engagement with our client, and the opportunity to undertake the appropriate surveys at the right time of year, combined with robust reporting and the necessary collaboration with stakeholders through the planning process contributed to the positive committee decision.

For more information about how we could assist with your ecology consultancy needs, please do contact us.

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