Barn Owl surveys are required prior to submission of a planning application where there is a possibility that they are present within/adjacent to a development boundary. Barn Owl surveys are required well in advance, as unlike many other protected species, licences are not available to move them.
The year 2013 was one of the worst years for breeding Barn Owls due to the extreme weather conditions, while last year 2014, was one of the best for breeding success. This year is predicted to be nearly as good as last year, although the field vole population (the main prey of the Barn Owl) is unlikely to be as high.
Unlike Barn Owl roost sites, which are often easier to identify with sign of pellets, droppings and feathers, the area surrounding an active breeding site rarely provides evidence that Barn Owls are present. Moreover, some Barn Owls are exclusively nocturnal and so are unlikely to be recorded during field surveys. In addition Barn Owls are one of the hardest birds to survey for, so targeted surveys are essential.
NPA have undertaken several successful mitigation projects and can undertake:
– Barn Owl surveys;
– Writing and implementing mitigation strategies;
– Providing guidance on habitat creation and enhancements.