Need an Ecological Consultant in Essex?
Ecology Surveys Essex: From the wetlands and ancient woodlands to developing urban centres, Essex provides a broad range of habitats to support biodiversity.
The various local authorities are clearly committed to preserving this. Green infrastructure and development are clear priorities. Space for wildlife to thrive and easy access to nature for the people who live, work, and visit the county will likely be at the front of planning Case Officers’ minds for the foreseeable future.
This project encompasses more than 100 sites around the county and is the result of the collaborative effort of a diverse range of agencies working to cut and care for the verges in a manner that protects the species living there.
Whilst it might be tempting to see this overt prioritisation of ecology as a barrier to development, this isn’t necessarily the case. Ultimately, biodiversity holds significant subjective and objective value.
In development terms, an environment that features flora and fauna in abundance is pleasing to many, and this is often reflected favourably in both property and land prices. As you’d expect, well connected, pleasant places to live and work usually attract significant investment.
So, in the context of county like Essex, where large amounts of development and regeneration is planned for the next 20 years, you can see why planning departments place critical importance on the preservation and protection of the local ecology.
With that in mind, if your proposed development has the potential to impact local biodiversity in any way, a thorough ecology survey will ensure that you have the information you need to secure a planning consent.
Preliminary ecological appraisal
There is an expectation that new developments in Essex will serve to both enhance existing biodiversity, and, where appropriate, create new habitats. Therefore, it’s prudent to consider ecology and biodiversity early stage. Failing to do so could lead to your planning application being refused.
The local ecology isn’t something you want to leave to chance, as doing so can disrupt your development schedule dramatically and incur significant costs.
Simply put, if you suspect your development will harm, disrupt or otherwise impact upon the biodiversity of your site, it’s in your interest to get an ecology survey.
This includes on urban sites where ecological features can be very easily overlooked. After all, most of us don’t associate hard, unforgiving concrete with wildlife.
However, you’d be surprised at the plethora of wildlife that make our towns and cities their home. Take, for instance, the otter. Otters roam wide territories (in excess of 10km), so as numbers increase, they’re pushed out of the wetlands that dominate the Essex countryside.
They then find themselves in the numerous towns and villages that sit astride or next to the River Colne. Consequently, if your proposed development were to infringe on, for instance, the distant end of that territory the planning department could expect you to put mitigation in place as a condition of granting planning consent.
Essex’s #1 Planning Ecologists: 100% success rate
An ecological assessment in its most basic form assesses an area for valuable plants, animals, and habitats. The information provided in the subsequent report will be used by your planning Case Officer to determine whether your development will harm the local ecology.
They will also assess the measures, if any, you propose to put in place to satisfy the need to preserve and protect the species that are present.
Ecological surveys are relatively straightforward. In a Phase 1 Habitat Survey (suitable for most sites and developments), your surveyor will come to your site and catalogue every species of plant and animal present, or, in the case of protected species, nearby.
Then, they’ll produce a map of potential or actual habitats and grade them using a simple system that ranges from ‘confirmed’ to ‘negligible’. This grading determines the degree of justification you will need to provide to the planning department if your development will disrupt a habitat. You may also need to provide further, more specific surveys.
Where minimal or no potential for habitat disruption is identified, the report itself will usually satisfy the planning officer and development can usually continue without further input from an ecologist.
Whilst you may see a biodiversity assessment as an unexpected and unwelcome expense, it’s much better to view it as an investment. Because if there are species or habitats present on your site that do require protecting having this information present in you planning application, with compensation or mitigation robustly justified, will greatly increase the chance of you being granted planning permission.
In 16 years, we have helped secure hundreds of planning consents for clients in Essex
How we deliver results
Your ecology survey will be carried out by a local expert, probably senior consultant, Craig Williams. This means your consultant will come equipped with a firm understanding of the local ecology, the planning policies and procedures used local authorities in Essex, and the special interest groups that routinely object to planning applications.
Our people have excellent links with both district and county planning departments, and our company’s reputation is outstanding. In essence, you’re getting all the benefits of a niche practice, with the reach and authority of a national operator.
We’re only concerned with getting clients through planning and that’s all we’ve done for over a decade. At this point, we’ve seen pretty much every planning problem related to ecology that you can think of, and have found the solution. So, whether you’re in Chelmsford, Colchester, Saffron Walden or any other town or city in Essex; we’re here to give you the advice and report you need to get through planning, fast.
Essex.gov.uk. N.D. Protecting the environment. [Online]. Available from: https://www.essex.gov.uk/protecting-environment [Accessed 18 January 2021]
Teasdale, P., Hendry, L. 2020. Otters are making themselves at home in UK cities. [Online]. Available from: https://www.nhm.ac.uk/ [Accessed 18 January 2021]
The Essex Biodiversity Project. 2007. Integrating biodiversity into development. [Online]. Available from: http://www.essexwtrecords.org.uk [Accessed 18 January 2021]
The Essex Design Guide. 2020. Ecology and Biodiversity. [Online]. Available from: essexdesignguide.co.uk/[Accessed 18 January 2021]