Ecology consultancy and surveys for planning and compliance

Case Studies

Renewable Development Case Study
Ecological Assessment and Management Plan for Renewable Development
The client wished to obtain planning permission for a 5MW solar site at Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex. An ecological assessment was required for the planning application due to the size of the development and proximity to a designated site. A wintering bird survey was also required due to the proximity of an SPA (Special Protection Area) and Natural England’s concerns that the solar panels could constitute a displacement risk or a collision risk for waterbirds mistaking the panels for water.

We undertook an ecological assessment which included a Phase 1 Habitat Survey. This identified risks to protected species including ground nesting birds, badgers, reptiles, bats and water voles. The winter bird survey and associated desk study indicated a low risk of impact on interest features of the designated site. An Ecological Management and Improvement plan was drawn up by Adonis Ecology to reduce the risk to protected species and interest features of the designated site to negligible. The plan also included substantial biodiversity enhancements so that the development would be expected to have a significant net positive impact on biodiversity.

Natural England initially requested significantly more monitoring. We explained how the monitoring we recommended was proportionate to the risk and in line with the precautionary approach required by Natural England.

Our ecology report satisfied the Local Planning Authority and the proposed development was approved, with the recommendations of the Ecological Management and Improvement plan made conditions of planning permission. In addition, our recommended level of monitoring was accepted as appropriate.

For more information, see planning reference 14/00775/FUL on Maldon District Councils website, or the following video of the completed solar site produced by our client:

Burnham Solar Project - Countryside Renewables from Countryside Renewables on Vimeo.