Ecology Surveys in Hampshire

In order to utilise the available land in Hampshire for a land or property development correctly, an ecology survey will be a mandatory consideration to guarantee the safety of local wildlife.

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Greenery Across Hampshire

A visually breathtaking part of the United Kingdom, Hampshire in the South East is a mostly green county. It is classed as 75% rural, but unlike many other predominantly natural areas, it hasn’t infringed on the number of residents, with its population of above 1.4 million people ranking as the second highest in the South East region – 300,000 of which live in the countryside.

In locations with as much countryside as Hampshire, it is only natural that developers will recognise an opportunity for development. Untouched patches of land are often more desirable than land with existing infrastructure or past intervention. As greenfield land could feature any variety of animals and plants, however, planning projects must integrate the necessary inspections before development works potentially disrupts ecological features on the site.

Catering to the potential for protected species is a common consideration in any development, affecting both land and property developments. For instance, reptiles and badgers could feature on an untouched plot of land, but it is just as likely for bats and barn owls to appear within an existing building. As a result of this, developers are advised to speak to an ecological consultancy about an ecology survey, particularly as it will tick a selection of boxes in avoiding breaches of the law, prevent delays to the project, and assist the planning application process.

Local Groups Dedicated to Wildlife Conservation

The necessary level of protection over listed animals and plants is only possible through the actions of groups throughout the county. First and foremost, Hampshire County Council has conservation and preservation groups, but with focused support from the Wildlife Trust for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, as well as individual groups for any local species with abundant populations.

An animal or plant’s unique behaviours matched with the climate of the chosen area dictate whether or not it will be a suitable location to form a viable habitat. Looking at Hampshire’s habitat suitability, known protected species in the county include bats, brown hares, dormice and great crested newts.

A handful of pieces of legislation cover the importance of protecting certain animals and plants, how they should be safeguarded, and a list of the species that fall under the mandate. The two primary pieces of legislation are the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. To ensure that they adhere to the rules of all relevant laws accordingly, developers are best intrusting in the insight and expertise of an ecologist with the necessary training, experience and knowledge.

On-Site Inspections for Ecology

An ecological assessment on a site or property will typically start with a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) / Phase 1 Habitat Survey. Then, if there are signs of protected species on the site or features that could act as a suitable habitat in the future, the ecological consultant will carry out further surveys to investigate the presence of rare or valuable wildlife and broaden the information for the local council.

A PEA is an opportunity for an ecological surveyor to look over the site for indications of listed animals and plants in the vicinity, both on the land itself and inside corresponding buildings. An ecology report created by the ecologist will then explain the outcomes from the assessment, mitigation measures that will enable the development to move forwards even with protected species present, and a list of required further surveys if any are needed.

The local planning authority are unlikely to consider an application for a planning condition before all necessary ecology surveys have been conducted. As such, if a listed animal or plant has been discovered, protected species will be needed, such as badger surveys, barn owl surveys, bat surveys, dormouse surveys, great crested newt surveys, otter surveys, reptile surveys or water vole surveys for animals, and giant hogweed surveys, Himalayan balsam surveys, injurious weed surveys or Japanese knotweed surveys for plants.

Speak to Our Team About a Quote

After years of providing private and professional clients with ecology surveys to support their developments and applications for planning consent, we are a trusted name in all ecological services. It can be difficult for developers to know where to start, so if you speak to our team over the phone, via email or by filling out a form on our contact page, we can work out the most suitable solution for your project.

With sufficient information about your site and project, we will then be in a position to create a free quote for you, and if you are happy with it, let us know and we can work together to decide a date for the survey to take place. On the chosen date, one of our ecologists will attend your site for an ecology survey and help you with securing planning permission.