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Ecology Surveys in London: Effective Planning Support

Anticipate the potential for issues in your London development caused by local wildlife through booking ecology surveys with Arbtech. Our ecological consultants are able to support planning applications and ensure no unexpected issues with obtaining a planning condition.

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Why Choose Arbtech?

Arbtech are the best asset you can possibly have when you need ecology or tree surveys to help you obtain planning permission.

Standards of Ecology All Over London

Based on a reputation as one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and a hub for culture, history and other offerings to the world, London remains as in-demand as ever. Despite holding undisputable status as a city, it is actually classed as one of the greenest cities in the world, was recently ranked as the sixth most sustainable cities in the world in the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index, and has numerous canals, reservoirs, rivers and around 3,000 parks.

An estimated 47% of the city of London is considered green space, and the local council have plans to increase it, with more investment coming in to enhance biodiversity further. The local authorities broadening the natural environment not only benefits the standard of biodiversity and the aesthetics of London but also the selection of potential habitats for local species of animals and plants. In and around London, rare and valuable animal species include barn owls, bats, breeding birds, common dormice, great crested newts, grey herons, house sparrows, little egrets, otters, peregrine falcons, water voles and white-clawed crayfish.

Preventative Measures to Assist Listed Animals and Plants

Multiple factors and variables play a part in deciphering whether or not a protected species will occupy a given area, such as the local climate, the potential to stage viable habitats, and the likelihood of available prey. Depending on the species in question, it may be applicable that they are visible in a significant majority of the UK. For instance, bats commonly appear in both urban and rural spaces and are likely to be spotted near enough anywhere. Other species, on the other hand, aren’t quite so frequently spotted, such as red squirrels and similar animals with dwindling populations.

Specific pieces of UK legislation clearly outline the protective measures put in place to defend listed protected species, namely in the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It would also be worth mentioning intervention from local plans, the binding environmental targets in the UK biodiversity action plan (BAP), and the introduction of the Environment Act (formerly the Environment Bill), which involves the new goal of achieving biodiversity net gain (BNG).

Alongside the applicable laws are the actions of regulators such as the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and Natural England, who work hard to back up the aims of the relevant legislation designed to assist native animals that require additional protection. The London Wildlife Trust is also key in offering guidance for matters affecting ecological features in the local area. With protected species of animals and plants all across London, it can be difficult to secure planning permission on both property and land development projects, or at least it is without the help of an ecology survey to demonstrate that present species have been accounted for.

Assessments on Ecological Features and Natural Assets

Out of the many different types of ecological surveys, the most common type for an initial survey designed to support protected species, boost planning applications and assist the planning process would be a preliminary ecological appraisal (PEA) / extended phase 1 habitat survey. Other options include an ecological impact assessment (EcIA) or ecological walkover survey, but the results of PEA surveys will display more of a comprehensive image of the site than an EcIA report, making it ideal for rare, invasive or valuable plants or animals on the site.

After a prior desk study to uncover any existing data on certain species of animals or plants on the site, the ecological consultant will execute a proposed development site visit in person. At this point, the priority will be on detecting the potential presence of particular species and ecological assets. Following the first stage ecology survey, if no notable species of animal or rare plants are found, or if the planning consultants can provide mitigation or compensation measures that will suffice, no further surveys will be needed. Alternatively, all the information from the ecological assessment process simply isn’t enough, calling for further survey work.

Additional surveys would more specifically be a protected species survey for the animals or plants in question, such as reptile surveys, barn owl surveys, great crested newt surveys using environmental DNA (eDNA) or bat surveys if roosting sites or cave-like spaces are on the proposed site for animals, or Japanese knotweed surveys or Himalayan balsam surveys for invasive plant species. It could even be applicable to arrange a national vegetation classification (NVC) or any number of BREEAM assessments if necessary. Other pre-development ecological assessments are available for a wide range of different habitat types, with the only restriction being that specific ecology survey work can only be conducted by ecology consultants at certain times, often outside of winter months.

All potential ecological issues and important factors that could significantly affect the proposed development project or vice versa will be outlined in the ecology report, along with solutions that will sufficiently address the identified ecological constraints. Using the mitigation hierarchy, the ecological surveyor who led the desk and field study will assemble a full picture of new developments including local wildlife, development plans, complex tree structures, priority habitats, the site boundary and potential constraints to the planning project. Changes to the development proposal and suggested mitigation measures can then meet the parameters of UK law and the planning requirements from the planning department of the local planning authorities.

Outcomes from the site survey highlighted in the ecology report will provide vital insight to the planning officer, and if habitat creation is the way forward and the ecology consultant recommends building new habitats on the site of the new development, it will be written in the report as further action in the development process. With all ecological considerations covered, the ecology survey report from ecological surveyors can then leave no reason for the local authority to deny the application for planning consent.

Contact Our Team for a Quote

An essential part of what makes the dedicated team at Arbtech a preferred choice is that we offer the same level of service to all clients, with recent projects and development proposals featuring private clients, commercial clients and construction companies. Our effort to facilitate all areas means that we can cater to London, further South East and South West England, and undertake surveys that relate to environmental impact and nature conservation in conjunction with planning effectively anywhere in the country.

As soon as you contact our ecological consultancy, we will ensure that you avoid costly delays, are assisted in a timely manner, and receive a cost-effective service at competitive prices and during optimal periods. Unlike other ecological consultancies, our proven record speaks for itself, and as we can offer most ecological surveys, turn our attention to almost any type of survey and deal with pretty much any potential impacts standing between you and a successful planning application, you will be in good hands with us. To take the first step, all you need to do is get in touch with our friendly team by calling us, emailing us or filling out a quote form online, and from that point, we can send you a free quote based on the ecology survey cost for ecological services on your site.

Whether you need ecological impact assessments or preliminary ecological appraisals as an early overview of the site, protected species surveys or habitat surveys to address potential animals or plants on your development site, or another type of ecological survey as a last resort after being let down elsewhere, our ecology team can help. Not only that but – alongside securing planning permission from your local planning authority – you will be able to save money, as we subsidise travel costs and other expenses by having an ecology surveyor in each location and providing all ecological survey services in one place.

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