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) / Phase 1 Habitat Survey. During a PEA, the ecologist can identify any ecological features present before determining whether the development will impact them and any mitigation measures that will reduce or eliminate the expected damages.
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 ecological surveys are required, the necessary assessments will need to be completed and a report from the inspection will need to be submitted to the local authorities before planning consent will be granted or denied. Assessments over protected animals include badger surveys, barn owl surveys, bat surveys, dormouse surveys, great crested newt surveys, otter surveys, reptile surveys or water vole surveys, and assessments over plants include giant hogweed surveys, Himalayan balsam surveys, injurious weed surveys or Japanese knotweed surveys.
Start Your Ecological Survey
Our friendly team is happy to offer support to clients on choosing and booking an ecology survey. 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.
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 assessment. 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.