It is important that ecology is considered at an early stage in any development. Total Ecology carry out initial ecological scoping surveys, ecological risk assessments and protected species risk assessment surveys using the standard guidelines in order to identify potential opportunities and constraints at an early stage in the development process.
Procedure for carrying out a scoping survey
The initial stage of a scoping survey is a site walkover using the standard extended Phase 1 survey guidelines. This is to produce a map of all the habitats on site, and identify any habitats that are of particular ecological importance. From this initial phase 1 survey work, each habitat is assessed for its potential to support protected and notable species. This may identify the need for further ecological surveys that are required to enable a smooth route through the planning process. A desk based study is also carried out, consulting with local record centres for protected/notable species records and designated sites within close proximity of the site.
A scoping survey can be carried out at any time of year, although the optimal period for surveying habitats of particular interest is in the spring or summer months. It is important to identify any potential constraints early as certain species such as great crested newts and bats have a restricted survey season and can therefore hold up development unnecessarily, for up to 12 months, if they are not identified at an early stage in the process.
Potential protected species
Potential protected species issues include:
Great crested newts
Ponds on site and within 500 metres will be assessed for their suitability using a habitat suitability index. This may highlight the need for full great crested newt surveys between mid March and mid June.
Any structures on site will be assessed for their suitability as roosts and the site itself will be assessed for its importance as foraging habitat. This may result in the need for further risk assessments, nocturnal surveys and/or transect and static detector surveys.
Otters and water voles
If any suitable watercourses or waterbodies are present on site these will be assessed for their suitability. If deemed suitable a dedicated otter and/or water vole survey will be required.
If there are no constraints identified by the habitat risk assessment survey then it is likely that no further surveys will be required.
Our ecologists have extensive experience in the standard Phase 1 survey methodology. We have provided phase 1 survey training for the IEEM and fellow ecological professionals and have carried out numerous ecological risk assessment and ecological scoping surveys.
Please contact us for further information and a no-obligation quotation, and one of our consultants will get straight back to you.