Legal protection is afforded to certain species in England and Wales through UK and European legislation. The presence or likely presence of protected species is always identified if we carry out a Preliminary Ecological Assessent1, but sometimes local authorities will request a species survey without prior ecological survey. This can often occur with bat surveys when there are buildings on a development site.
Pure Ecology has gained extensive knowledge working with protected species and have experienced surveyors, all of whom hold relevant licences from Natural England or Natural Resources Wales for the work. We are able to undertake baseline surveys, produce mitigation strategies 1and help you obtain a European Protected Species mitigation licence2 for development. Most frequently, development mitigation licences are required for bats, great-crested newt or dormice.Bat Surverys
Pure Ecology uses advanced survey techniques including bioacoustic systems, mist netting and radio-tracking. These techniques not only provide robust baseline information, but are efficient and cost effective methods. Our ecological consultants have a wealth of experience and are licensed to survey in England and Wales. Mitigation designs have been developed for habitat fragmentation, woodland loss and impacts on building roosts. We have acquired specialist knowledge and skill for mitigation design on scheduled ancient monuments and listed buildings, which require particular consideration to the historic character of the site. We work extensively in Monmouthshire and Herefordshire and examples of our projects on churches, manor houses and traditional barns can be found on our case studies1 page.
The legal protection afforded to European Protected Species such as bats is complex and spans a number of Regulations and Acts. Bat surveys are commonly requested by planning authorities where development projects are likely to affect built structures or mature trees and the ecological assessment needs to be tailored to the species that are present. Certain actions affecting bats and their habitats may need to be undertaken under licence2 from statutory bodies where it can be demonstrated that the conservation status of bats can be maintained and enhanced through appropriate mitigation and compensation measures.
Surveying trees for bats is highly specialised work and consultant ecologists at Pure Ecology Ltd. are experienced both in ground-based and tree climbing surveys for bats. Tree roosts tend to be much harder to survey. Several of our licensed bat surveyors are LANTRA trained in tree climbing and aerial rescue to undertake tree surveys for roosting bats.
The great crested newt is a species for which the timing of surveys is seasonally constrained, with surveys restricted from mid-March to mid-June, when the adults gather within their breeding ponds. Surveys undertaken outside of these optimal times are generally considered to be inconclusive and are unlikely to be accepted by Planning Authorities or Natural England.
Environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis is a new method for species monitoring in water bodies. Natural England has approved this method for the determination of great crested newt presence or absence following Defra funded research into the application of this technique.
The otter is a European Protected Species and certain actions affecting their habitats may need to be undertaken under licence from statutory bodies. Development projects need to be able to demonstrated that the conservation status of otters can be maintained and enhanced through appropriate mitigation and compensation measures.
Since reptiles hibernate in the winter, the timing of reptile surveys is seasonally constrained; the optimal times for surveying are between April and September when reptiles are most active and more likely to be observed. Surveying usually involves the walking of a fixed transect and the use of ‘refugia’ to aide in the observation of sheltering and basking reptiles. The surveys are repetitive and will involve at least 7 site visits to search, identify and count individuals.
Pure Ecology has designed various mitigation strategies for reptiles for the retention of populations within a development, but also where required the translocation of animals to alternative sites. We engage with the local authority on behalf of our clients to help identify suitable receptor sites for reptiles, which can sometimes be public green open spaces, country parks or local wildlife sites.
The water vole receives full protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and is a priority conservation species. Legal protection afforded to the species makes it an offence to kill, injure, capture, or disturb water voles, or to damage their habitats. However, certain actions affecting water voles may be undertaken under licence from statutory authorities where it can be demonstrated that the conservation status of the species can be maintained and enhanced through appropriate mitigation and compensation measures.
Surveys are best undertaken in the spring when activity levels are high and surveying between April to September is ideal when bankside vegetation is low and water vole habitat is accessible. Ecologists at Pure Ecology have experience of undertaking water vole surveys and of preparing water vole mitigation and conservation strategies.
The dormouse is a European Protected Species, which means developments with the potential to impact dormice may need a mitigation licence. Pure Ecology’s surveyors hold survey licences for this species and examples of our work on dormice can be found on our case studies page.