Arbtech carried out a combined Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) including Preliminary Roost Assessment (PRA) at a site in Little Budworth, Cheshire. This survey was required as part of a planning application to Cheshire West and Chester Council, for the demolition of the existing building and erection of a new residential dwelling.
The survey site was located in a small village called Little Budworth, located between Winsford and Chester. Little Budworth is situated in a rural area of Cheshire West, with the village made up of a small number of residential dwellings surrounded by agricultural fields. There is a large lake situated near the village called Budworth Pool, and the Little Budworth Country Park lies just outside the village. This Country Park forms part of the Mersey Community Forest and is made up of woodland, lowland heath, ponds and boggy mires.
The first stage of carrying out a PEA including PRA survey is to conduct a site visit. As such, one of Arbtech’s ecologists, Mel, arranged a date and time with the client to carry out this site visit. On the day she met the client on site at the arranged time, and after a discussion about what the survey would entail and the potential outcomes, Mel carried out the site assessment.
Firstly, she carried out a survey on the building, both internally and externally, which constituted the PRA element of the survey. This survey involved Mel going into the loft space of the building to look for evidence of bats, such as bat dropping and feeding remains. She then carried out an external inspection of the building to look for any potential bat roosting features. These are features such as gaps under roof tiles, cracks in the brickwork and holes in soffit boxes.
After carrying out the PRA element of the survey Mel then continued on to the PEA element of the survey. This was carried out on the ground surrounding the survey building and involved looking for evidence of or the potential for any protected to be found on site. These protected species include badgers, great crested newts, reptiles and nesting birds.
After completing the site assessment, the next stage in the process was to carry out a desk-based study of the survey site. This involved searching the area around the site for designated sites (i.e. Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Local Natures Reserves), priority habitats (i.e. ancient woodland and semi-improved grassland) and granted European Protected Species Mitigation Licences (EPSMLs). All of these are then analysed and an assessment carried out to determine whether the proposed project plans will have any impact on any of these features.
The site assessment and desk-based study are then combined into one report detailing any further surveys that are required and any site-specific enhancements that can be made to increase ecological opportunity on site. These will include provisions for protected species such as bat boxes and refuge piles for amphibians, as well as provisions for other important species such as hedgehogs and insects.
On this site, there was little ecological value on site for protected species and therefore no further surveys were required to determine the presence or likely absence of any protected species. Site-specific enhancements were made to increase the biodiversity opportunity on-site during and after the proposed development.
If you require a similar survey to support your planning application please get in touch via the contact form on our website to receive a quotation. We can carry out protected species and bat surveys separately depending on your specific project, or we can produce a combined report to reduce your costs and save time.