Ecology consultancy and surveys for planning and compliance

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Why Ecology and Protected Species Surveys are NOT Conditioned
One of the most common questions we are asked is some form of: “Would the planners be prepared to make further protected species surveys a condition of planning?” To which the answer is “Highly unlikely!”

This is because central government guidance (Circular 06/05: biodiversity and geological conservation) states: “It is essential that the presence or otherwise of protected species, and the extent that they may be affected by the proposed development, is established before the planning permission is granted, otherwise all relevant material considerations may not have been addressed in making the decision.”

In case of any doubt the guidance goes on: “The need to ensure ecological surveys are carried out should therefore only be left to coverage under planning conditions in exceptional circumstances”.

And I am afraid wanting to submit your planning application sooner, rather than later, is not considered an exceptional circumstance!

The reason the guidance takes this seemingly inconvenient approach is because otherwise the situation can arise (and has arisen in the past) when conditioned surveys have discovered an ecological issue that has necessitated a material change to the approved design to ensure compliance with wildlife legislation, in turn requiring a new planning application.

Given that protected species can only be surveyed in specific seasons, this requirement for all survey results before a planning application can be decided can result in serious delays.

We therefore recommend:
  • Undertaking the initial ecology assessment at the earliest opportunity so that, if further protected species surveys are required, they can be undertaken as soon as possible in the correct season.
  • Using our advanced evaluation methods for more precise initial assessments, reducing your risk of requiring protected species surveys.
  • Having us help you design around potential impacts, further reducing your risk of requiring further surveys and mitigation.

For more information and advice specific to your site, give us a ring or fill in the contact form.

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