...Outside the main Ecology survey season. Planning applications submitted without the appropriate ecological survey are unlikely to be validated by Local Planning Authorities. This can result in unanticipated costs and delays to projects. Contrary to popular belief ecologists are not there to prevent development or complicate the process.
A good ecologist will reduce risk and inform the development process with impartial professional advice. They will use the most cost effective and efficient approach possible to ensure that development proposals are in accordance with planning policy and relevant ecology legislation. An appropriate ecological scoping survey, such as an Ecological Appraisal, can highlight potential ecological issues at an early stage, enabling any Phase ll survey work that may be required to be programmed into the project timetable and costed accordingly.
Information from an Ecological Appraisal can also be used for BREEAM/CSH Ecology Assessments. BREEAM/CSH Ecology Assessments, Ecological Appraisals and Preliminary Bat Assessments can be undertaken after the main survey season has ended (may be subject to limitations).
Ecological Appraisals carried out during the autumn/winter period are particularly useful for highlighting whether Phase ll surveys for fauna with narrow early season survey windows are required such as great crested newts, breeding birds and wintering birds. This means that your projects can continue to be taken forward over the autumn/winter season and help to ensure that unnecessary delays and costs are avoided at the next survey season.
Make sure you don't miss this opportunity or you could wait another year and that may cost you and your client!
Author: Tim Smith – Principal Ecologist – Five Valleys Ecology