Ecology Surveys in London

Natural features and ecological issues commonly appear on development sites, particularly if the land is undeveloped. Identify and eliminate obstacles to your London planning project through effective and insightful ecology surveys.

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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 to develop a plan for flood defences, eliminate single-use packaging, encourage businesses to generate more renewable energy, improve air quality around schools, make green spaces more accessible to residents, plant more trees, prevent residents from driving vehicles that are harmful to the environment, rollout sustainable drainage systems, switch to buses that cause less pollution, and work 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 conservation, preservation and protection of the natural environment, anyone staging a planning project in the City of London or Greater London would need to satisfy the planning department of the corresponding local council or an application for planning permission on a development site that houses protected species, valuable plants or trees wouldn’t even be entertained.

Local authorities across London will only accept certain documents that are accountable, credible and offer 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 II of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 and Section 9 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
  • Bats
  • Cetti’s Warblers
  • Dormice
  • House Sparrows
  • Little Egrets
  • Peregrine Falcons
  • Reed Warblers

Greater London

  • Badgers
  • Bats
  • Breeding Birds
  • Brown Hares
  • Dormice
  • Great Crested Newts
  • Harvest Mice
  • Wintering Birds

Surveying a Development Site

Depending on the circumstances of the planning 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 place to start is by carrying out a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) / Phase 1 Habitat Survey, particularly if the developer or landowner is unaware of protected species or valuable plants present.

An ecological surveyor will use a PEA as an opportunity to inspect the entirety of a site for evidence of invasive or valuable plants and protected animal species. The ecologist can then use information gathered from the assessment to find solutions that will ensure the safety of valuable ecological assets and enable the development 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, protected species surveys could consist of badger surveys, barn owl surveys, bat surveys, dormouse surveys, great crested newt surveys, otter surveys, reptile surveys or water vole surveys, and invasive species surveys could include giant hogweed surveys, Himalayan balsam surveys, injurious weed surveys or Japanese knotweed surveys.

After any ecological survey – including PEA surveys, protected species surveys and invasive species surveys – the ecologist in charge of the assessment will develop an ecology report that details the survey process and recommended next steps that will allow the development to progress despite the presence of valuable ecological 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.

Qualified Ecologists

While protected species surveys and valuable plant surveys focus on certain areas of ecology, a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal incorporates a wide range of ecological considerations. As a consequence, ecological consultancies need to possess an extensive understanding of ecology surveys and the multitude of elements involved.

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 is able to assist developers with progressing planning projects and create a comprehensive ecology report to convince local planning authorities 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. Contact us over the phone or by submitting details of your project via our quote form, and we will issue you with a free quote.

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 ecologist to visit your site and carry out the assessment. Within a few short days of completing the ecology survey on your site, the ecological surveyor will send you the ecology report ready for submission to your local council.