Authentic Patches of Essex
Although often regarded as a primarily urban location due to the presence of built-up cities, towns and villages, such as Colchester, Basildon, Chelmsford and Harlow, the county of Essex is actually predominantly green, with 70% of the total land area classed as rural. It also contains the longest coastline in England and sees as much as a quarter of the county’s population living in rural areas.
Parts of England with minimal intervention from development are often preferable to developers, as they are less likely to come with issues from existing infrastructure, giving them a clean slate to work from. That said, the chances of rare animals or plants inhabiting empty or partially empty green spaces are heightened as opposed to an already possible likelihood on developed land.
Between land or property developments on greenfield sites or brownfield sites, the requirement for an ecology survey remains equally as pertinent. Without consideration of potential animals or plants that are protected and listed within UK legislation, significant problems in the development process will arise, leading to obstructions in seeing completion and acquiring a successful planning application.
Regulators Who Safeguard Protected Species
For protected species of animals and plants to be defended successfully, the involvement of various groups and organisations is required. Not only does this include the work of dedicated teams within Essex County Council, but also the Essex Wildlife Trust, specified conservation groups for named species, and broader organisations such as DEFRA and Natural England.
Species of animals and plants appear in all locations, but each variant will choose a destination based on their own behaviour and the climate. In terms of Essex specifically, listed ecological assets include badgers, barn owls, bats, breeding and wintering birds, dormice, great crested newts, otters, reptiles, water voles and white-clawed crayfish.
Under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, listed species are protected from harm, with the laws outlining which animals and plants are included and what actions are strictly forbidden. By speaking to one of our team, the potential for protected species on the development site can be addressed and an ecological consultant can provide the necessary mitigation or compensation measures.
Reporting on Ecological Assets
Once it has been established that listed animals and plants are on a development site, the professional ecological consultant can move forward with carrying out the necessary protected species surveys. For instance, if bat species were suspected or proven to be on the site, an assessment of roosting bats would be needed, as would any assessments for rare or invasive plants such as Japanese knotweed surveys or Himalayan balsam surveys, the potential for arboricultural surveys such as BS5837 tree surveys, or any other surveys that are designed to support natural features in conjunction with development.
Alternatively, if it is uncertain whether any protected species are on the site, ecological surveys known as a preliminary ecological appraisal (PEA) / extended phase 1 habitat survey will be undertaken. Another option would be an ecological impact assessment (EcIA), but a PEA will usually suffice due to its broad nature. All of the various habitats in the local vicinity will be recorded and taken into consideration, and if no further intervention is needed, the ecology report will recommend that the local planning authority grant the application for planning permission.
If more information is needed, however, the experienced ecologists can insist on further ecology surveys, habitat management plans or any other caveats that will assist the planning process and planning applications such as the creation of new habitats. From there, an ecology survey report can be put together to demonstrate what steps need to be taken to reach an acceptable standard. It can then be passed on to the local authorities and help in retrieving planning consent.
Book In An Assessment Today
Among our team of professional ecological surveyors is a mix of young talent and experience, giving us the ability to tap into new methods while retaining an influence from tried and tested standards. We are strategically positioned all over the country, in an effort to cater to clients in all areas, whether that’s in Essex, neighbouring counties, or practically any other part of the British Isles.
You can even receive a free quote for professional ecological surveys on your development site simply by reaching out to our team and providing us with your details. Do this over the phone, email or through our website, and we will send you your completed quote for ecology surveys within a few short hours. If you opt to choose us, let us know and we can decide on a suitable time to undertake the assessment.