London Nature and Wildlife
A predominantly urban area, the London region has far fewer natural features compared to the more rural sections of England. It is divided between the City of London in the centre and Greater London in the surrounding vicinity, and as it is heavily developed throughout, local councils across the region are aiming to follow initiatives that will benefit biodiversity and improve the state of the environment.
Existing pledges include developing a plan for flood defences, eliminating single-use packaging, encouraging businesses to generate more renewable energy, improving air quality around schools, making green spaces more accessible to residents, planting more trees, preventing residents from driving vehicles that are harmful to the environment, rolling out sustainable drainage systems, switching to buses that cause less pollution, and working natural elements into new developments.
Due to a limited selection of countryside areas and ecological features in London, it will come as no surprise to learn that local authorities across the region are insisting on retaining as much of it as possible. As a result of this emphasis on nature conservation, preservation and protection of the natural environment, anyone staging a new development in the City of London or Greater London would need to satisfy the corresponding local council or an application for planning permission on a proposed development site that houses protected species, valuable plants or trees wouldn’t even be entertained.
Local authorities across London and the neighbouring regions of the England of England and the South East will only accept certain documents that are accountable, credible and offer all the information they need to make a grounded decision on whether or not to grant a planning application. An ecology report is created as the result of an ecology survey, and it is universally recognised by local planning authorities as possessing effective next steps that deal with ecological issues accordingly.
Protected Animal Species Situated in London
For complete clarity over animals protected by UK legislation, a list of the species is included in Schedule 2 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 and Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. However, as both pieces of legislation name all protected species across the United Kingdom, each animal may or may not be present by location.
Looking specifically at London and both sections of the City of London and Greater London, protected species in these areas are named below:
City of London
- Barn Owls
- Cetti’s Warblers
- House Sparrows
- Little Egrets
- Peregrine Falcons
- Reed Warblers
- Breeding Birds
- Brown Hares
- Great Crested Newts
- Harvest Mice
- Wintering Birds
Surveying a Development Site
Depending on the circumstances of the proposed development project and the condition of the development site, an ecologist may choose to conduct any number of ecology surveys. More often than not, the most suitable type of survey would be an initial survey known as a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) / Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey, particularly if the developer or landowner is unaware of the protected species present.
An ecological surveyor will use PEA surveys as an opportunity to inspect the entirety of a site for evidence of invasive or valuable plants and protected animals of notable species. Ecological surveyors can then use information gathered from the site visit and from a prior desk study to find solutions that will ensure the safety of valuable ecological assets, support protected species, identify all ecological constraints, and enable the development plans to move forward.
Additionally, if certain species of animal or plant are identified on the site, further surveys will be needed to gather more information and develop suitable mitigation measures that will minimise the impact on them and vice versa. For instance, a protected species survey could consist of badger surveys, barn owl surveys, bat surveys, dormouse surveys, great crested newt surveys, otter surveys, reptile surveys, water vole surveys or white-clawed crayfish surveys, and invasive species surveys could include giant hogweed surveys, Himalayan balsam surveys, injurious weed surveys or Japanese knotweed surveys.
After any ecological surveys or further survey work, the ecology and planning consultants in charge of the site survey will develop an ecological survey report that details the survey process, further action and the recommended next steps that will allow the development proposals to progress despite the presence of valuable natural features on the site. You can then pass on your completed ecology survey report to the planning department of your local council and it will support your application for planning consent.
While protected species surveys and valuable plant surveys focus on certain areas of ecology, a preliminary ecological appraisal (PEA), ecological impact assessment (EcIA) or BREEAM assessments incorporate a wide range of ecological considerations. As a consequence, ecological consultancies need to possess an extensive understanding of ecology surveys, the multitude of elements involved, the planning process, and how it all intertwines with planning requirements and the pursuit of planning applications.
In terms of habitat surveys, our dedicated team could conduct environmental DNA over newts, ecological surveys over water voles and other habitat types, or provide mitigation over a land development project to encourage habitat creation, incorporating new habitats as part of an endeavour for achieving biodiversity net gain (BNG). Looking at recent projects alone, our ecology team has worked with commercial clients, private clients and even construction companies, and whether you need to operate within the local or UK biodiversity action plan (BAP), adhere to the rules of your planning officer or retrieve a mitigation licence from Natural England, we are skilled in all of these areas and so much more.
Following a prolonged period of time gaining experience and picking up relevant qualifications, all of our ecological consultants are knowledgeable and skilled in conducting all forms of ecological surveys. With all of the necessary accreditation and insight, each ecologist within our ecological consultancy is able to assist developers with measuring environmental impact, progressing planning projects, and creating a comprehensive ecology survey report to convince the local authority to grant a planning condition.
Speak to Us About Our Ecological Services
By speaking to our team, we can offer support and guidance over the necessary ecology surveys you need to appease your local planning authority and remove any factors that could otherwise harm an application for planning permission. Get in touch with our friendly team over the phone or by submitting details of your project via our quote form, and we will issue you with a free quote for our cost-effective ecology survey services.
Assuming you are happy to proceed based on the no-obligation quote we provide you with, we can then set a date and time with you for an ecological surveyor to visit your site at certain times and carry out the assessment at our competitive prices. Within a few short days of completing the ecological surveys on your site, the ecology surveyor will send you the ecological survey report ready for submission as part of the planning application.