Ecology Surveys in Lancashire

Known for its mix of rural and urban locations, Lancashire is home to plenty of towns and villages alongside rolling countryside. It possesses countless locations for development, but before the local planning authority will pass an application for planning consent, the necessary ecology surveys are required.

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Countryside and Wildlife Across Lancashire

Formed from a selection of towns, villages and extensive countryside, Lancashire is a county known for its rural locations and contribution to the industrial sector. Despite countless developed areas such as Preston and Burnley, an estimated 18.9% of residents live in Lancashire’s rural areas, showing a larger percentage than the 12.1% of residents living in rural areas across the North West region.

With a wide range of untouched and authentic areas all over the county, Lancashire offers a number of locations to stage planning projects. Natural areas with no existing infrastructure or past intervention are desirable, as it gives the developer a clean slate to work with. It does, however, mean that existing habitats could be present, and if they are, developers are required by law to follow certain predetermined protocols.

Ignoring laws surrounding protected species of animals and plants will lead to the potential for fines and imprisonment, as well as delays or complete breakdown of the development project. Both land and property developments can be affected, and even in low-risk situations, developers are advised to arrange an ecology survey with an ecologist to completely avoid risk coming to them and their development. Along with eliminating breaches of legislation and harm to wildlife, an inspection will also assist with the application for planning permission.

Council and Community Wildlife Groups

All over the country, protected species are safeguarded by community, council and charity groups. Within this structure, Lancashire County Council guarantees protection over valuable or rare animals and plants within the county, and additional support will come from the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside and groups for individual species present in the area.

A variety of factors determine whether a specific area is suitable for a certain type of animal or plant species. The behaviours of the animal or plant and the climate of the area are the two primary deciding factors, with the protected species in Lancashire including badgers, bats, brown hares, dormice, otters, pine martens, polecats, red squirrels, seals and water voles.

The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 are the main pieces of legislation that provide protection to animals and plants across the country, including Lancashire and the surrounding area. It is a strict requirement of developers to meet laws that involve protected species, and while it can be a daunting prospect, it is a far simpler process by trusting in the expertise and insight of an ecological surveyor.

Analysing a Site for Ecological Features

A Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) / Phase 1 Habitat Survey will be the natural first step in any assessment on a development site, as it will facilitate the inspection of the entirety of the site for any and all ecological features. Alternatively, if there is known occupancy of a certain species of animal or plant, it may be more suitable to move ahead to an assessment specifically designed for the species in question.

In a visit to the site for a PEA, the ecologist will identify valuable ecological features present before working out if they are likely to impact or be impacted by the development plans. Upon completion of the necessary checks, the ecological consultant will assemble an ecology report detailing the survey process, their findings and evidence from the assessment.

If protected species are found on the site, the ecological surveyor will recommend mitigation measures to reduce overlap between their habitat and the development, and further surveys that will give them and the local planning authority all the information they need to pass a planning application. If protected species are not found on the site, however, the ecologist will confirm this in the report and give any further insight, such as if the site has the potential for protected species to create habitats in the future.

The report from an ecology survey will be passed on to the local council to meet the corresponding planning requirements and support the application for a planning condition. From the list of potential ecological assessments, further surveys an ecologist could recommend include giant hogweed surveys, Himalayan balsam surveys, injurious weed surveys or Japanese knotweed surveys for plants and badger surveys, barn owl surveys, bat surveys, dormouse surveys, great crested newt surveys, otter surveys, reptile surveys or water vole surveys for animals.

Request an Ecology Survey Quote

Based on years of experience, our team is ideally suited to planning and executing high quality ecology surveys and assessments on your development site. We attend to the needs of both private and professional clients, and with ecologists based all over the country, we are available in the county of Lancashire and other parts of the North West region.

To enquire with our team, contact us today and supply us with details of your site and project. From there, we can put together a free quote for you to consider, priced up based on your unique specifications. We will then work out a date that works for your schedule and attend the site to conduct the assessment, easing any qualms regarding potential protected species in the vicinity and simplifying the application for planning consent.