Ecology

What we can deliver...

There are several type of ecological surveys.

Generally, we start by assessing your site’s habitats to determine their potential for protected wildlife and how they would be impacted by your project.

For many projects, the initial assessment is all that will be needed but, for some projects, additional species surveys will be required to determine if those species are present and the size of the population.

If the species surveyed for is found, we will consider options to avoid/reduce or mitigate (as well as offset) your impacts; sometimes this will mean applying for a site licence and translocating the species to a different site.

Initial assessments and habitat surveys

Our ecology team can provide you with a quick assessment of your site ecological potential if you provide us with site photography and/or site coordinates.

Each site is unique and as such we will advice you on which surveys are required:

  • Ecological assessment (EA) if your site is small, you are looking at very small scale work and your site has little ecological potential; or
  • Extended Phase 1 Habitat survey (EP1) which is a more in depth survey and includes a full data search and a habitat map. EP1 are generally the type of report asked for during a planning application.

To make sure our EA and EP1 are as comprehensive as possible and to minimise the number of time we need to go on site, we always include an assessment of water bodies within a 250 to 500m radius around your site for breeding great crested newts (Habitat Suitability Assessment) as well as an assessment of trees and buildings for bats (Daytime Bat Assessment).

Species surveys

Our ecology team can carry out species surveys for:

  • badgers
  • bats
  • birds
  • dormice
  • great crested newts
  • otters
  • reptiles
  • water voles
  • white-clawed crayfish
  • invasive species
  • hedgerow and botanical surveys

Those surveys are constrained by weather and species life cycle; see our survey calendar to see when they are best to be carried out.

We hold protected species licences and always carry out our surveys following the most recent guidelines so our results can be used for a licence application.

Click here to download the survey calendar (requires Excel 2007 or higher)

Have you missed the survey season for this year? Contact us to discuss your options.

Habitat management/creation, translocation, monitoring, management plans, clerk of work and licences:

If you need to manage or create habitats (either as part of a planning or licence conditions), we can help you by writing management plans as well as working with our SI/GI team to create those habitats.

We can supervise all works on site and ensure it complies with the licence’s requirements.

We can also undertake species translocation and monitoring for you and help you with your licence application.

See our translocation calendar to find out translocation timing for different species.

Biodiversity offsetting, ecosystem services and ecological chapters for BREEAM and Environmental Impact Assessment:

We can provide those services, please contact us to discuss your project’s plans.

We are a multi-disciplinary company and as such we often work with the topography, BIM and SI/GI teams to deliver projects.

Projects

From pigeon’s haven to people’s home

Disused buildings not properly sealed off can turn into pigeon’s home as this species likes dark areas for nesting.

But, they can also be used by other species such as bats, black redstarts or swifts!

With a shortage of land to develop on in towns and a growing demand for flat and houses, our team has worked with developers to give them a second chance through refurbishment or demolish them and build new homes.

Our contribution included a Phase 1 Habitat Survey, specie surveys (when necessary), mitigation and biodiversity enhancement advices as well as Code for Sustainable Homes reports.

We worked with the other teams involved in those projects to deliver the project on time.

A track of minor repair work...or not!

Our work for Network Rail involves checking numerous culverts, bridges and stations scattered around the country which are in need of minor repair work such as filling gaps in between bricks or repainting. However, what sometimes start as minor repair work turns into large repairs when additional work is found necessary. To ensure we minimise cost for our client, we always carry out an initial assessment of the site which include mapping the site’s habitats with a 2m radius at least, carrying out HSI and DBA. The results of the HSI and DBA are always included in our reports but, if we only need to produce an ecological assessment, we will keep the map safe in case a more detailed report becomes needed. Those extra 5 to 10 minutes on site became handy on a number of occasions!

Bat where are you though?

We often work with our colleague in SI to make sure their boreholes/window samples and other ground digging needs can be accommodated while not impacting on a site’s wildlife.

We surveyed a 3 span bridge in a rural environment which showed signs of successive repairs as well as a similar bridge located approximately 10m away (and both above the same stream).

The bridge on site had one long and deep crack which extended through one of the pier.

The other bridge had numerous cracks which appeared to be deep and possibly leading to chambers.

Both bridges were assessed to have bat roosting and hibernating potential and as such we recommended additional survey.

As the SI team were going back on site the following week, we went back with them. After checking the cracks with an endoscope (and not finding any bats), we discussed their plans.

The location of holes in the piers was agreed and reasonable avoidance measures (RAMs) implemented to avoid impacts on the bat potential roosting sites.

We also recommended to survey both bridges at the same time to determine the presence of roosting bats.

We also provided RAMs to protected possible great crested newts and reptiles from disturbance, injury and killing as the site surrounding offered hibernating potential for all of them.

Learning Curve

We were commissioned to assess a disused teaching building by the Hampshire Council who wanted to demolish it to turn it into a private property.

As the building was surrounded by other residential buildings as well as a forest, we recommended an additional survey to determine if bats were present.

Bats were observed flying above the building and it was clear that the building was on bat’s commuting route.

Advice to minimise disturbance to bat’s route were given as well as RAMs to avoid impacting on other species and biodiversity enhancement measures to maintain and increase this site potential for commuting and foraging wildlife.

Capability Statements