Rural Areas in Bristol
Possessing a distinctly higher number of urban areas than rural areas, the city, county and unitary authority of Bristol in South West England ranks as having the 11th largest urban area by populous, only beaten by Greater London, Greater Manchester, the West Midlands, West Yorkshire, Greater Glasgow, Liverpool, South Hampshire, Tyneside, Nottingham and Sheffield.
Famously a maritime location, Bristol Harbour has acted as a pivotal source of revenue for hundreds of years, and with an emphasis on urban areas, the county has a mere 13% of the population living in recognised rural areas. Despite the dominance of urban areas, Bristol is known for numerous countryside attractions such as Ashton Court Estate, Brandon Hill Nature Park, Leigh Woods, Portishead Lake Grounds, Queen Square, Royal Fort Gardens, and the University of Bristol Botanic Garden.
Continuously ongoing planning projects in a location with scarce countryside sections such as Bristol will prompt a need for protection over all remaining rural areas. In the case of Bristol, the entirety of the county is under the jurisdiction of Bristol City Council, and if a developer aspires to stage a development in Bristol, they will first need to satisfy the requirements of the local council.
Bristol’s Ecological Features
Although Bristol is a particularly developed area, certain protected species are present across the county. In order to offer tangible guidance for dealing with the inhabiting protected species correctly, Bristol City Council offers action plans for each of the primary protected species in the county such as for hedgehogs, house sparrows, otters and water voles. All of the important details around the ecological features and biodiversity value in Bristol are outlined in the Bristol Biodiversity Action Plan (BBAP).
Through collaboration between Bristol City Council and the Avon Wildlife Trust, the BBAP highlights ecological considerations across Bristol, including sections that specifically relate to development planning and strategy. The BBAP frequently mentions the importance of identifying suitable next steps by arranging the necessary ecology surveys for your development site. Using this approach, licensed ecologists can assess the site for ecological features present, and if they are under threat or posing a hindrance to the project, initiate mitigation measures that will enable the development to progress without harming protected species or valuable plants.
The ecological consultant can also utilise their insights and expertise to advise on further surveys that may be needed on the site based on their findings. Upon completion of the necessary ecological surveys, the ecologist will produce corresponding ecology reports that will display all information from the assessments to the developer and support planning applications to the local planning authority.
On-Site Ecology Assessments
As a jumping off point, the ecological assessment process usually starts with an ecological consultant carrying out a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) / Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey. During a PEA survey, an ecological surveyor will inspect the entirety of the development site for evidence of valuable or invasive plants and protected animal species. As well as potentially providing methods of mitigation to separate ecological features from the development and allowing both to coexist, the ecologist will suggest other ecology surveys that correspond to the identified protected species of animal and plant.
Examples of valuable or invasive plant species surveys include giant hogweed surveys, Himalayan balsam surveys, injurious weed surveys or Japanese knotweed surveys, and examples of protected species surveys include badger surveys, barn owl surveys, bat surveys, dormouse surveys, great crested newt surveys, otter surveys, reptile surveys or water vole surveys for protected species.
Immediately after ecology assessments, the ecological consultant will produce an ecology survey report to explain outcomes and detail next steps. By handing the completed ecology report to your local planning authority, you can provide your planning officer with the trustworthy information they need to grant planning consent.
Consultants Present in Bristol
Both rural and urban areas are capable of housing protected animal species and valuable plants. As a result, it can be advisable to reach out to an ecological consultancy about ecology surveys regardless of the scale of greenfield or woodland areas present on your development site. A Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) can be particularly helpful as it is broad and facilitates an opportunity for an ecological surveyor to analyse the entire plot of land. Covering all bases will eliminate issues later in the process, bolster planning applications and satisfy the needs of Bristol City Council’s planning and building regulations.
Considering our track record for offering a quality service and meeting the requirements of the local council, we would insist on reaching out to Arbtech for an ecology survey in the Bristol area. Simply call us directly, fill out a quote form online or visit our contact page, and one of our team can record details about your site and project before developing a free quote. Providing you are happy to work with us, confirm your intention to move forwards, and we will work with you to arrange a suitable time to visit your site, carry out the necessary ecology surveys and assist you with securing a planning condition.