Last edited 02 Sep 2016

Ecological survey for design and construction


[edit] Introduction

Ecological surveys identify the habitats and/or species that exist within an area at the time of the survey. Most development proposals will have the potential to impact on the local biodiversity of the development site either through the direct loss of habitats, the reduction in the value of the habitat or the ability of the habitat to support the species that depend on them. Early identification of any ecological constraints ensures that development proposals are not delayed and appropriate mitigation or compensation is incorporated into the design phase.

[edit] Purpose of ecological surveys

Undertaking ecological surveys will ensure that:

[edit] Planning applications

The majority of development proposals require consideration of the impacts of the proposed works on the biodiversity within the site, or close to it.

A preliminary ecological appraisal, typically an Extended Phase I Habitat Survey (Joint Nature Conservation Committee, 2010; Institute of Environmental Assessment 1995) may be required which will identify the habitats and the potential for the site to support protected species or notable species. The findings of the Extended Phase I Habitat Survey will inform the requirements (if any) for further surveys (see below). The findings of any ecological surveys will typically need to be submitted to the local planning authority in advance of a planning application to ensure that the appropriate information is available to determine an application.

[edit] BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Homes assessments

An ecological survey is often required for BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Homes (Land use and ecology credits) assessments. This can include:

  • An assessment of the ecological value of the site and how this will change post-development.
  • Recommendations for the protection of ecological features and mitigating impact.
  • Recommendations of how to enhance the site for ecology.
  • An assessment of the long-term impact on biodiversity, which can include a management plan for the development.

[edit] Types of ecological surveys

The typical ecological surveys that may be required in support of a planning application or as part of an Environmental Impact Assessment include:

  • Extended Phase I Habitat Survey (baseline assessment which determines that broad habitat types within a site and the potential for the site to support protected/notable species).
  • Botanical surveys (including National Vegetation Classification (NVC)).
  • Bats.
  • Badger.
  • Dormouse.
  • Water vole.
  • Otter.
  • Reptiles.
  • Birds.
  • Great crested newts.
  • Natterjack toads.
  • Smooth snakes.
  • Invertebrates.

[edit] Who should undertake the surveys

Ecological surveys should be undertaken by appropriately experienced and competent consultant ecologists. They should hold the relevant species licence (if applicable) appropriate to the survey being undertaken. Surveyors should meet the competencies set out by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.

[edit] Survey reporting

The ecological consultant (ecologist) will produce a detailed survey report on completion of the ecological survey. The report will detail the survey findings together with an assessment of how the proposed development could be expected to impact on habitats and species that are present at the site and suggested mitigation designed to reduce those impacts. Any limitations to the survey or findings are also included.

[edit] Find out more

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki

[edit] External references