Cheshire’s Green Areas
Featuring a scattering of towns and villages, the county of Cheshire in North West England is predominantly rural and surrounded by agricultural land. All containing a multitude of countryside areas, parks and natural features, the largest towns and cities in Cheshire are Chester, Crewe, Ellesmere Port, Macclesfield and Northwich.
All over Cheshire, there are green areas with minimal intervention from past developments. Staging a project on an untouched patch of land is often preferable, but as it means a higher likelihood of disturbing existing habitats, developers are required by law to tread carefully. Likewise, even brownfield development sites or buildings undergoing property developments can house rare and valuable habitats.
Both property and land developments can undergo potentially costly delays as a result of protected species of animals and plants found on the site. Even in low-risk circumstances, developers can benefit greatly from reaching out to an ecologist for an ecology survey, confirming the absence of habitats and showing compliance with the local planning authority. With both boxes ticked, the project will see fewer obstacles in the process of gaining planning permission.
Wildlife and Protection Groups Throughout Cheshire
A combination of groups from the local council and charity organisations work together to ensure adequate safeguarding of protected species in the corresponding areas. As well as conservation departments within both Cheshire East Council and Cheshire West and Chester Council, animals and plants in the county are protected by the Cheshire Wildlife Trust and smaller groups for individual species.
The selection of protected species in each part of the UK is primarily based on climate and the unique behaviours and habits of the animal or plant. Alongside various rare and invasive plants, protected animals with proven occupancy in the county of Cheshire include badgers, barn owls, bats, great crested newts, otters and water voles.
All protected species and an extensive number of listed plants are protected under certain pieces of legislation, including the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. From the perspective of developers, sufficiently meeting the requirements of relevant planning policies can be tricky, but it is possible to take the necessary steps by intrusting in the insights of a trained, licensed and qualified ecological consultant.
Analysing Flora and Fauna
If there are no obvious signs of animal or plant habitats on the property or site, an ecological surveyor will kick off the assessment process with a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) / Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey as the first survey. During a preliminary ecological appraisal, the ecologist can identify any ecological features present before determining whether the development will impact them and any mitigation measures that will eliminate the expected damages and reduce the predicted ecological issues.
After analysing the entirety of the site and all present buildings, the ecological consultant will have gauged if protected animals or plants are present, or whether the site has a level of suitability that could indicate occupancy in the future. All ecology surveys will result in the ecological surveyor putting together an ecology report, including information about the site, ecological features, instructions for next steps, recommendations for further surveys, and a decision over whether or not a planning application can be granted.
Whenever further assessments are required, the necessary additional surveys will need to be completed and a report from the ecological surveys will need to be submitted to the local authorities before planning applications will be granted or denied. Habitat surveys over listed animals include badger surveys, barn owl surveys, bat surveys, dormouse surveys, great crested newt surveys, otter surveys, reptile surveys or water vole surveys, and a protected species survey over plants could include giant hogweed surveys, Himalayan balsam surveys, injurious weed surveys or Japanese knotweed surveys.
All of our ecological surveys are connected to development, environmental management, habitat management and nature conservation. The results of the ecology surveys can then contribute to providing appropriate protected species mitigation such as habitat creation, allowing a planning project to move forwards, and securing a planning application. In tandem with that, if bats or bat roosts are found, for example, we can help with attaining a Natural England bat licence or similar mitigation licences for other protected species.
Work with an Ecological Consultancy Based in Cheshire
Our friendly team is happy to offer support to clients in choosing and booking an ecology survey, helped by our links to relevant organisations, such as the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Applicable to both private and professional clients, even if you aren’t sure which ecological survey you need, simply contact us and we can determine the most suitable step forward based on your needs.
Our coverage spans throughout the country, meaning support to developers in Cheshire, as well as other neighbouring counties and the North Wales area. Using the specifications of your site and project, we can create a free quote for you to consider, and if you are happy with it, let us know and we will plan a date to conduct the ecology survey. Shortly after the survey, you will receive the completed ecology report ready for submission to the local council as part of the application for a planning condition.