Ecology Surveys in the North East

Many problems can arise during a development project, but issues relating to protected species and valuable plants on your North East site can be avoided through impactful ecology surveys.

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North East England Countryside

Previously recognised solely as an industrial region, counties within the North East have aimed to improve the state of local biodiversity by closing factories that produce harmful substances, eliminating carbon emissions, and planting a large number of new trees. Currently, the region has a mix of rural and urban areas, with 57% of the land area in County Durham considered rural. In the case of North Yorkshire and Northumberland, this percentage is at an even higher 85% and 97% respectively. Unlike these North East counties, however, the majority of Tyne and Wear is urban through the presence of towns and cities like Gateshead, Middlesbrough, Newcastle and Sunderland.

With a wide range of countryside areas across North East England, an emphasis on preserving the current condition of the environment is utterly crucial, particularly in the eyes of the local authorities. Each local council across the North East has a planning department that pledges to protect green areas in the region, including valuable plants, trees and protected species of wildlife. As such, anyone undertaking a land development in the region would need to satisfy the local planning authority before an application for planning permission would even be considered.

Appeasing the strict requirements of a local authority simply isn’t possible without evidence that necessary assessments have been conducted on the site. For identifying and mitigating ecological issues, ecology surveys act as a method of dealing with an existing presence of protected species or invasive plants on your site that local planning authorities recognise. Without them, you may not be able to progress your project or secure planning consent.

Every Protected Species in the North East

Within both Schedule II of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 and Section 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, every protected species in the UK is named. Although the long list refers to every animal species that has been proven to inhabit certain areas of the country, the presence of each animal will vary based on location.

Categorised by county, every protected species in the North East is listed below:

County Durham

  • Badgers
  • Bats
  • Great Crested Newts
  • House Martins
  • Swallows
  • Swifts

Tyne and Wear

  • Barn Owls and Other Farmland Birds
  • Bats
  • Hares
  • Otters
  • Red Squirrels
  • Water Voles

Northumberland

  • Bats
  • Great Crested Newts
  • Otters
  • Red Squirrels
  • Water Voles

North Yorkshire

  • Badgers
  • Barn Owls
  • Bats
  • Common Cranes
  • Great Crested Newts
  • House Martins
  • Otters
  • Pine Martens
  • Swallows
  • Swifts
  • Water Voles

Assessing a Site

Ecological surveys can be used to gain further detail and provide mitigation measures on issues found within a development site. Different forms of assessment will meet a variety of requirements, but on a site where it is uncertain whether protected species or valuable plants are present, a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) / Phase 1 Habitat Survey would be the natural first step.

In a site visit for a PEA survey, an ecologist will inspect all areas for evidence of protected species and valuable or invasive plants in the vicinity. Based on the ecological consultant’s findings, impactful next steps can be developed to mitigate identified issues and allow the development to progress. If, however, certain animal or plant species are found and more data is needed, the ecologist will advise on further surveys.

Protected species surveys could include 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 consist of giant hogweed surveys, Himalayan balsam surveys, injurious weed surveys or Japanese knotweed surveys.

Following a PEA survey or any other form of ecology survey, the ecological surveyor will write up the assessment in an ecology report. All ecological surveys come with a report including details of the survey and next steps that can be used to reduce or eliminate any obstacles to the development. The ecology survey report can then be submitted to the local planning authority to ease any qualms over ecological elements on the site and support the application for planning permission.

Experienced Ecology Consultants

Due to the variety of areas covered in ecology surveys, it is vitally important that ecological consultants are disciplined and experienced in a number of core areas. Reaching such a standard requires a certain level of knowledge and education, and you may find that many ecological consultancies focus on specific surveys rather than maintaining an understanding of all areas of ecology.

Educated to bachelor’s or master’s degree level and experienced in undertaking all forms of ecological assessment, our ecology consultants are suitably equipped for advising on and conducting the necessary surveys for your development site. Whether you need PEA surveys, protected species surveys, invasive species surveys, or any other form of ecology survey, our ecologists are capable of assisting you with your planning project.

Talk To Us About Our Ecology Services

If you have been told you need an ecology survey or require help with deciding on the necessary assessments for your development site, speak to our team over the phone or using our quick quote form, and we can assess the most suitable course of action and provide you with a free quote based on your site and project.

As soon as you agree to choose us as your provider of ecology surveys, we can arrange a date and a time to conduct the assessment. Then, after the survey, you will receive your ecology report within a few short days and be able to pass it on to your local planning authority to bolster your application for a planning condition and push your project into future stages of the planning process.