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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 is a leading consultancy for bat surveys with specialist capabilities for roost assessments and landscape appraisals. Our specialism has developed from large scale developments and historic building surveys. We can support a wide range of projects from house extensions and barn conversions to landscape level studies for infrastructure schemes, master planning and renewables.

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.

Tree Climbing Surveys for Bats
As well as roosting within buildings, bats often use cracks, hollows and holes in trees for shelter; in fact some species are almost exclusively tree-dwelling. Surveying tree roosts can be difficult and ground-based surveys are often inadequate when it comes to definitive information regarding the presence of bats within a tree. Climbing trees to get a closer view of potentially suitable roosting features can be an extremely effective way of determining the presence or absence of bats and can be undertaken at almost any time of the year. This method may avoid the need for costly dusk and dawn emergence surveys and may prevent delays imposed by the timing of such surveys.

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.

Great Crested Newt Survey
The great crested newt (Triturus cristatus) breeds in ponds and use terrestrial habitats such as rough grassland, hedgerows, woodland and scrub to forage and find shelter. They are a European Protected Species which means their habitat is afforded legal protection and development within 500m of ponds often require assessment of local great crested newt populations.

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.

Otter Survey
The otter (Lutra lutra) is a species associated with water courses and are often considered to be a material consideration by planning authorities for developments that affect canals, rivers or streams.

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.

Bird Survey
Pure Ecology Ltd. works closely with specialist ornithologists to deliver expert ornithological surveys. This includes breeding bird surveys, over-wintering bird surveys and wetland bird surveys based on BTO methodology, as well as species-specific surveys and vantage point surveys for wind farm and wind turbine projects
Reptile Survey
Six species of reptile are native to the UK and all receive legal protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 with regard to killing and injury. The most commonly encountered species on development sites are slow worm (Anguis fragilis), common lizard (Lacerta vivipara), grass snake (Natrix natrix) and adder (Vipera berus) because they are widespread and are often associated with grassland and scrub habitats, particularly within neglected areas and brownfield sites. Slow worm can often occur in residential gardens.

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.

Water vole Survey
The water vole (Arvicola terrestris) is a species associated with streams, rivers and wet ditches and is often considered to be a material consideration by planning authorities for developments that affect watercourses.

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.

Dormouse Survey
The hazel or common dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) is a woodland mammal most often associated with ancient woodlands and hazel coppices, although the species is also found within hedgerows where they link to woodland habitats. They are widespread in Wales and Southern England and counties such as Herefordshire and Gloucestershire which have well-connected woodland landscapes.

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.

Client Testimonials
Pure Ecology have been professional, practical and proactive; it has been an opportunity to meet and work with an interesting and informative expert outside of my usual circle.
Roger Moscrop
Pure Ecology offer a completely reliable service, combining robust science with expert advice and reliable delivery and reporting. Importantly they also appreciate and respect the safety and sustainability requirements pertaining to our business and to our clients objectives.
Stuart Hedgecott Principal Consultant CH2MHill
Arup have worked with Pure Ecology since the beginning of 2014, and continue to do so because of the excellent service we have received. Anton has consistently provided sound and pragmatic technical ecological services and advice, in particular with regard to specialist bat services. He is highly competent, very organised and excellent at communicating and interpreting the likely significance of his work throughout the process.”
Thank you so so much for your prompt report, such a pleasure to work with such an efficient company and pleasant staff.
Mr James, Homeowner in Monmouthshire.
Pure Ecology provided a comprehensive service and the report was clear and concise. The ecology assessment was well received by the local authority
Capture Energy for a single wind turbine in Camarthenshire
We use Pure Ecology because the are reliable and consistently deliver a high quality of work. They respond quickly, work well with our development team and have successfully negotiated ecological requirements with the planning authority
Lisa Way Development Surveyor, Monmouthshire Housing Association
We have found Pure ecology to be very knowledgeable and well respected. Their approach is both professional, friendly and they are always happy to listen to clients requirements and look for workable solutions
Andrew Carter, Morgan & Horowskyj Architects
Pure Ecology provides a professional and reliable service. Their comprehensive knowledge and understanding of ecological issues within the planning system has been invaluable for the success of several of our schemes.
Joe Burnard, Project Manager for Rea Housing Development