Ecology Survey in Cornwall

By facilitating ecologists all over the country, we can offer a wide range of ecological surveys to developers in Cornwall and other parts of South West England.

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Cornwall Greenland and Rural Areas

Containing around 536 towns and villages, the South West England county of Cornwall is home to a vast array of countryside locations. Even the largest towns by population – consisting of Newquay, St Austell, Falmouth, Truro and Camborne – don’t exceed 25,000 people, making sense of how 56% of the county’s population live outside of built-up areas.

While it is true that development opportunities on untouched land are more likely in an area as green as Cornwall, seeing the county retain so much natural value wasn’t accidental. Instead, the local authorities will be wary of any activities or practices that will cause unnecessary damage to the environment, and of all exercises, development will be the biggest concern.

Admittedly, many different considerations play a part in a planning project, and the potential for protected species of animals and plants is no different. For developers who haven’t dealt with protected species before, the fact that dealing with the situation incorrectly will affect the project and applications for planning permission can be cause for concern. All parameters enforced by the local authority can, however, be achieved through referring to an ecological consultancy for an ecology survey.

Methods of Protecting Natural Features

Ranging from the local authorities for each city, town and village to the UK government, various groups, societies, organisations and regulators work to defend valuable and rare species of animals and plants. As for Cornwall, policies and teams within Cornwall County Council oversee matters regarding the protection of listed animals and plants, helped by the efforts of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

As each protected species will choose a location to form a habitat based on the climate and their own behaviours, areas as natural as Cornwall will inevitably appear as a hive for a large collection of them. Such listed animals with proven occupancy in Cornwall include badgers, barn owls, bats, birds, dormice, otters, reptiles and water voles.

Within applicable legislation such as the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, a list of protected plants and animals is clearly outlined alongside the guidelines for adhering to the laws. The likelihood of wildlife on a development site at any level could trigger countless problems with progressing the planning project and obtaining planning consent, but not without the input of an ecological surveyor.

Formal Evaluation of Wildlife

Unless it is already clear which animals and plants are on the development site, experienced ecologists would often start the ecological survey process with a preliminary ecological appraisal (PEA) / extended phase 1 habitat survey or ecological impact assessment (EcIA). Out of the two, preliminary ecological appraisals will usually be chosen due to the broad nature of how they are undertaken, enabling an ecological consultant to evaluate all present ecological features.

Whenever the early ecological assessments uncover that protected animals or plants are on the site, it is likely that additional ecological surveys will be needed. Under some circumstances, the ecological consultant may be able to initiate changes that will call for no further action or confirm a lack of listed species, and at this point, the ecological reports can indicate to the local authority that planning applications can be granted. Otherwise, further protected species surveys will be needed.

In terms of wildlife surveys that are more focused on animals and plants, habitat surveys for animals may include badger surveys, barn owl surveys, bat surveys or reptile surveys and rare or invasive plant surveys for plants may include Himalayan balsam surveys or Japanese knotweed surveys. An ecology report can then be created to detail all ecology surveys conducted on the site before being passed on to Cornwall Council as part of the application for planning permission.

Ask for a Quote from Our Team

Consisting of associates of the Landscape Institute (ALI), professionals at the associate member level of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), ties to Natural England and all of our team with at least degree-level qualifications, our independent ecological consultancy based in various parts of the country enables us to provide a full range of ecological services to clients in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and all other neighbouring counties.

Through working on countless infrastructure projects and offering a wide range of services from biodiversity net gain to protected species surveys, we can provide all of the applicable ecology surveys under one roof. Simply contact our team via email, over the phone or on our website, and we can send you a free quote for our services. If you are happy with the quote, we can then move forward with the surveying and report writing process, helping you to obtain planning applications.