Ecological Surveys

Ecological surveys are an integral part of our work within an award-winning, multidisciplinary consultancy. We can undertake a range of ecological surveys in accordance with best practice guidance. Surveys will be tailored to meet your requirements.

Ecological surveys are essential for identifying constraints and opportunities at an early stage and to avoid potential delays to your proposal.

Working to professional standards

  • Our reputation for quality of service has been established over a period of more than 35 years.

    We adhere to the professional standards of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) and carry out ecological surveys in accordance with best practice guidance.

    Our experienced team are accomplished at identifying the potential presence of protected species. Appropriate detailed surveys can then be undertaken.

     

  • Good survey information is the basis of good masterplanning and design.

    We regularly work on complex schemes in sensitive locations, such as within, or adjacent to, nationally and internationally designated sites.

    Our team has worked on projects encompassing a wide range of habitats and species.

The right surveys at the right time

You can depend on us to advise you on what surveys need to be undertaken and when. A number of surveys are seasonally dependent. They may also need to be spaced through the season in order to obtain sufficient baseline data to inform your proposal. As such, it is crucial to consider the need and scope of surveys as early as possible in your project. We will guide you through this process. Our Ecology Survey Calendar provides a handy guide, but is no substitute for the bespoke expert advice that we can provide at any stage in a project.

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We are here to help you

Our qualified and licensed ecologists offer a comprehensive range of surveys, including:

Extended Phase 1 Habitat Surveys

The initial ecology survey is known as a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) and includes a desk based study and site visit to undertake an Extended Phase I Habitat Survey. The survey provides a map of the habitats present on the site, together with a description of each habitat, including a broad plant species list. The site, and the habitats it supports, is also assessed for its potential to support protected and priority species and to identify the need for further survey.

The Extended Phase I Habitat Survey results can be fed into the Preliminary Ecological Appraisal report. An Ecological Constraints and Opportunities Plan (ECOP) can be produced to set out any likely ecological implications for your proposal.

Extended Phase I Habitat Surveys can be undertaken at any time of year.

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National Vegetation Classification (NVC) Surveys and Botanical Surveys

Our experienced ecologists can undertake NVC surveys. We can also offer detailed, bespoke, botanical surveys depending on the requirements of your project. We have experience of working on a range of habitats from woodlands and scrub; neutral, acidic and calcareous grasslands; coastal and aquatic habitats.

Our team can utilise survey and mapping software to illustrate habitat distribution and NVC communities for each site. These can be can beneficial when monitoring a site over time to assess and map changes in habitats. Mapping over time can be highly valuable in demonstrating the effectiveness of a mitigation strategy or management regime.

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Protected Species Surveys

Our experienced team can provide extensive support and guidance with regards to protected and notable species to ensure your proposal is in line with planning policy and legislation. We can advise on survey requirements, mitigation strategies and impact assessments from project inception through to post-approval licensing requirements and monitoring.

Our team hold various protected species licences, including the bat mitigation class licence for low impact schemes and have the relevant competencies to advise on:

  • Bats;
  • Badgers;
  • Birds, including Schedule 1 species such as Barn Owl and Hobby;
  • Brown hare;
  • Dormouse;
  • Great crested newts;
  • Otter;
  • Reptiles;
  • Water vole;
  • White-clawed crayfish.
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Bats

Our team is highly experienced at carrying out a range of bat surveys. We can support your project from the initial scoping survey and assessment, through to mitigation design, installation and licensing.

We can design and undertake a range of surveys. Building assessments identify possible roosts. Activity surveys (emergence/dawn) determine the presence and status of a roost. Transect surveys assess activity across a site. We also undertake remote surveys using static automated bat detectors and tree inspections.  We undertake bat data analysis using specialist software.

We often work on schemes that lie in close proximity to sites of international importance for their bat populations, such as the Bath and Bradford Bats SAC and the Berry Head SAC.

We have a high success rate at obtaining bat mitigation licences and can oversee the implementation of the works on-site. In addition, where circumstances allow, we can offer a faster route through the Natural England licensing process with the use of a Bat Mitigation Class Licence (formally known as the BLICL). This will depend on the scale of the impact of your proposal.

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Birds

We are experienced at designing and implementing survey work for birds. Our team is complemented by a number of highly specialist sub-consultants who are experts in their field and skilled at undertaking a range of survey techniques. We regularly undertake breeding and wintering bird surveys. We also undertake detailed surveys for certain Schedule 1 species, such as barn owl and hobby.

We have experience of working in close proximity to Special Areas of Conservation and Ramsar sites, and we can advise early within the process on Habitat Regulations Assessments.

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Great crested newts

Our team is highly experienced at carrying out a range of great crested newt work. This includes initial site scoping and assessment. We also undertake environmental DNA (eDNA) testing and presence and population size surveys. The latter uses traditional methods, such as bottle trapping and torching.

We are proficient at identifying whether further consideration needs to be given to great crested newts. Our team can then advise and support you through each stage of the process, from scoping and assessment, through to mitigation and licensing. We will work with your design team to develop a pragmatic solution.

In addition, our team can advise on the creation of compensatory habitats and can oversee the implementation of licensable mitigation work, such as temporary exclusion fencing, and capture and translocation of great crested newts.

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Badgers

Our team has considerable experience of undertaking badger survey and assessment on a range of schemes. We have successfully obtained badger development licences for clients.  Our ecologists can advise on, and oversee, all elements of mitigation works, from sett closure to temporary exclusion zones.

We use a range of survey techniques to establish the sett classification and likely boundaries of badger territories. This can be important when assessing the possible impacts of a large-scale scheme. We can undertake bait marking studies and use camera traps frequently as an effective method of confirming badger activity.

Whilst the presence of badgers is unlikely to prevent development on most sites, early consideration needs to be given so that appropriate mitigation can be incorporated in a scheme, in particular to the licensable project timescales.

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Hazel dormice

Our team is experienced at undertaking dormice surveys. We hold the necessary protected species licences to undertake detailed surveys, such as nesting box and tube surveys.

We will collate the survey data and work with the project team to design and implement an appropriate and proportionate mitigation strategy for your scheme.

We can provide advice with regards to potential impacts to dormice, whether as a result of a development, or for management and enhancement of an area of woodland for nature conservation or forestry activities.

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Otters

Our team is experienced at undertaking otter surveys, from the identification of field signs to the use of camera traps to establish presence. Where necessary, we can utilise a boat to assess the riverbanks more safety and effectively.

We will collate the survey data and work with the project team to design and implement an appropriate and proportionate mitigation strategy for your scheme.

We can provide advice with regards to potential impacts to otter, whether as a result of a development, or to restore and enhance a waterbody for nature conservation.

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Water voles

Our team is experienced at undertaking water vole surveys which involve identifying and recording field signs. Where necessary, we can utilise a boat to assess the riverbanks more safety and effectively.

We will collate the survey data and work with the project team to design and implement an appropriate and proportionate mitigation strategy for your scheme.

We can provide advice with regards to potential impacts to water vole, whether as a result of a development, or to restore and enhance a waterbody for nature conservation.

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Reptiles

Our team has extensive experience in surveying for common species of reptiles. The surveys assess presence and population status in order to identify key reptile areas. We will collate the survey data and work with the project team to design and implement an appropriate and proportionate mitigation strategy for your scheme.

We have worked on projects where we have successfully gained approval for large scale exclusion and translocation strategies.

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White-clawed crayfish

Our team holds the necessary protected species licence to undertake white-clawed crayfish surveys in England. We can assess habitats for their potential to support white-clawed crayfish during an initial Preliminary Ecological Appraisal. Should further assessment be required, we can undertake more detailed surveys to ascertain presence and provide you detailed advice and support.

We can provide advice with regards to potential impacts to white-clawed crayfish, whether as a result of a development, or to restore and enhance a waterbody for nature conservation.

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Get in touch

To talk to our team about your ecological survey requirements, please call 01225 876990 or complete the contact form.

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