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Case Study

Phase 1 Ecology Survey in Frodsham, Cheshire

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The Area

Frodsham is a market town located in Cheshire, north of the of the town of Chester and south of Runcorn. It is located along the estuary of the River Mersey. It sits below Frodsham Hill, which is a wooded hill and forms the northern end of the Mid-Cheshire Ridge. There are a number of local wildlife sites located around Frodsham incuding two Cheshire Wildlife Trust sites; Hunter’s wood and Hatchmere. Hunter’s Wood is a plantation woodland forming a corridor between two ancient woodlands. Hatchmere consists of a number of lakes and peatland and is an important site for a number of wetland birds.

The Background

Arbtech was contacted by a local architect to assist with a planning application for a large area of agricultural fields located on the outskirts of Frodsham, between Frodsham and the neighboring village of Helsby. The planning application was to increase the number of grazing horses on the owner’s field. An ecology survey was required to go along with this application so that the local planning authority could determine whether there would be any detrimental impact on protected species or habitats as a result of this planning application.

Preliminary ecological appraisals can also be known as phase 1 ecology surveys, ecological surveys and biodiversity surveys.

The Survey

One of Arbtech’s ecological consultants was sent to the site to conduct a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal. This is where an ecologist carried out a site visit and will look for evidence of or potential for protected species to be found on/using the site. They will also look for the presence of any protected or priority habitats. This will include habitats such as ancient woodland, semi-improved grassland and floodplain meadows.

After the site visit the ecologist will also carry out a desk-based study, which includes searching the immediate area around the site for records of protected species and habitats, designated sites (such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest) and any European Protected Species Mitigation Licences (EPSMLs). The ecologist will then produce a report summarising their findings from the site visit and their desk-based study. They will then recommend further surveys, if this is necessary, and also recommend biodiversity enhancements for the site, if this is appropriate.

Survey Results

After our consultant, Mel, completed the site visit and desk-based study, she concluded that the planning application would not have an impact on any protected species or priority habitats. This was because the site largely consisted of heavily graze/mown agricultural fields, which do not have a high ecological value. As the planning application was to just increase the number of grazing horses, and no building work was due to take place, no further surveys were required.

Planning Outcome

As a result of report and subsequent aftercare from Arbtech, the planning application was granted. Due to the speediness and efficiency of Arbtech, we were able to assist the architect and client with this project without causing delay. At Arbtech we understand that planning applications often have tight deadlines, and so we are able to offer rapid (2-5 working days) and next working day reports to help assist in your project.

If you need a similar service you can receive a free same-day quotation by contacting us through the form on our website or calling our head office on 01244 661170.

As well as ecological (including bat, badger and great crested newts surveys), we also carry out arboricultural and topographical surveys.


Customer review:

“good professional and speedy turnaround of the report most satisfied”

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