Devon Countryside and Wildlife
A predominantly rural county, Devon in the South West of England is home to an extensive array of picturesque landscapes and popular heritage sites. Across the nearly 80 towns in Devon, areas with the largest populations include Barnstaple, Exeter, Exmouth, Newton Abbot, Paignton, Plymouth and Torquay, with Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks standing out as notable natural attractions. Devon also has five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – Blackdown Hills, East Devon, North Devon, South Devon and the Tamar Valley.
The United Kingdom has an average tree canopy cover of 15.8%. Despite the majority of Devon being countryside, it isn’t predominantly populated when it comes to woodland, with an average tree canopy cover of just 12%. However, that’s not to say that Devon isn’t a primarily rural location, with statistics from the BBC indicating that 6.2% of Devon is green urban space, 62% is farmland and 13.4% is natural space. Compared to the 17.4% of Devon considered developed, it is clear to see that Devon County Council – with help from Devon Wildlife Trust – haven’t allowed for saturation of planning projects, instead favouring retained natural features and continued strength of biodiversity.
Ecological Surveys in Devon
Between the seemingly endless greenfield areas and evidence of brown long-eared bats, pipistrelle bats and several protected bird species, the county of Devon offers a lot in terms of potential wildlife habitats and an overall healthy state of biodiversity. While this is a positive for Devon and the ongoing effort to maintain and enhance the condition of the environment across the UK, Devon County Council’s strict guidelines around regulating any land development projects that could threaten this approach could seem like bad news to developers, planners and architects that want to carry out a project in the area.
As planning a land development project in any area that houses an abundance of natural components can feel like a minefield, the advisable approach would be to arrange an extensive ecology survey. By doing this whenever a project could affect local biodiversity, a qualified ecological consultant can undertake surveys to conduct a thorough assessment and remove any concerns that a lack of knowledge could lead to severe ecological issues relating to the site or stumbling blocks in the planning process of completing the development.
British Standard Ecology Assessments
Before the development project moves into an advanced stage, you should hold ecology as a priority consideration, particularly as failure to do so could lead to a failed planning permission application. As a baseline, it would be prudent to book a preliminary ecological appraisal (PEA) – also known as a Phase 1 Habitat Survey. During a PEA survey, an ecologist will assess the site to determine whether there is evidence of invasive species of plant or protected species present.
Following the site visit, the consultant ecologist will develop an ecology report. In this report, they will highlight findings from the survey, make recommendations to ensure that inhabiting species are unaffected by the development, suggest any other required assessments from a range of ecological surveys – such as protected species surveys (badger surveys, bat surveys, dormouse surveys, great crested newt surveys and reptile surveys, for example) or assessments based on specific plant life – depending on the discovery of protected species and valuable plants, and put forward any mitigation measures if there simply isn’t a suitable way of progressing the development without disturbing present animal habitats. Once complete, the ecology report will be sent to the local planning authority as part of your application for planning consent.
Our Ecological Services
Not only are our ecology surveys conducted by qualified, knowledgeable and experienced ecological consultants, but with experts situated across the country, we are able to pinpoint an ecologist that carries additional expertise corresponding to the specific location. For ecology surveys in Devon, for example, we will issue licensed surveyors based in Devon who possess the necessary knowledge of local ecology to produce a professional and informed service, as well as an understanding of the specific procedures and policies followed by Devon County Council and the Devon Wildlife Trust.
For over a decade, our professional ecological consultancy has provided ecology surveys, multiple ecological services and overall environmental management guidance to clients throughout the UK, giving local planning authorities everything they need to pass planning applications. To receive a free, no-obligation quote for your site or simply gain more information, fill out the form at the top of this page, click ‘Get Your Free Quote’ below, or check out other ways to get in touch on our Contact Us page.