Notable Devon Countryside
Known for possessing the most deciduous woodland of any county in the country, Devon in South West England is distinctly green. Despite the fact that 45% of the population occupies urban sections, it features beeches, coasts, hills, cliffs and extensive grassland, and in addition to that, it is home to two national parks, including Dartmoor – the largest open space in Southern England.
During both land and property development projects in an area as natural and authentic as Devon, acts that will inevitably alter valuable patches of land are likely to be met with objections from the local authorities. It is often preferable to purchase untouched land, but alongside the often more expensive cost of land in Southern England, restrictions may make the process difficult to see through.
Operating within the guidelines of the corresponding local council can be difficult enough without discovering that protected species of animals or plants are also present on the development site. As a preventative measure, developers would be advised to book an ecology survey early on in order to approach the development process cautiously and remove any potential issues with their planning application.
Conditions in Place to Protect Wildlife
Several different bodies, organisations and groups collaborate to guarantee the safety of present wildlife. Departments allocated by Devon County Council will play a part in this, with support specifically towards listed species of animals and plants from the Devon Wildlife Trust and dedicated conservation trusts for each wildlife species with abundant populations in that area.
Back in 1998 when the Devon Biodiversity Action Plan was published, records revealed that the county possessed 31 key habitats and 260 key species. The typical behaviours of the species in question and the climate of the location will determine whether or not it will be deemed suitable as a habitat. Active species in Devon include barn owls, bats, dormice, great crested newts, nesting birds and reptiles, among a much larger list due to the authentic and natural condition of the county.
The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 are the two primary pieces of active legislation that outline both the listed species and the parameters for how they are protected and what they are protected from. Any developers who are concerned by the likelihood of failing to meet the planning requirements can bypass any detrimental issues by speaking to our team.
Staging an Ecological Assessment
As a starting point in the process of addressing potential ecological issues, a preliminary ecological appraisal (PEA) / extended phase 1 habitat survey or ecological impact assessment (EcIA) will be executed. For it to be carried out correctly, suitably qualified ecologists will attend the site on a set date to conduct the PEA survey, and during the assessment process, they will inspect all of the present natural features and consider potential ecological impacts.
If it is possible to confirm that no protected species are present or that any present listed animals or plants can be mitigated without additional ecological surveys, an ecology report will reflect that and give the local planning authority confirmation that planning consent can be granted. Alternatively, more focused protected species surveys on the animals or plants will be needed, such as badger surveys, bat surveys, dormouse surveys or reptile surveys for animals and Himalayan balsam surveys, injurious weed surveys or Japanese knotweed surveys for plants.
Once the ecological consultants have completed the full range of applicable ecological services, an ecological survey report will be created to detail the outcome and any measures needed to meet the requirements of the local authority. As it will contain further information about protected species on the site, issues that could be caused by the planning process, and solutions to any and all problems, the report should push planning applications over the line.
Arrange a Survey for Your Site
Instead of seeing our independent ecological consultancy based in one location, we place ecological consultants all over Devon, allowing clients in North Devon, South Devon, West Devon and East Devon to harness the same level of coverage. It also extends to further parts of South West England and practically any other area in the country, enabling us to offer a range of ecological surveys to all clients.
Using ties to relevant recognised organisations such as Natural England and the Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), we can help with land and property developments, commercial developments, home extensions and everything in between. Prior to choosing us as your provider of ecological surveys, receive a free quote by sending us details of your site and project. You can then see how much an ecological survey will cost and plan a date for us to undertake the assessment.