CHMS Ltd have extensive experience of surveying sites to confirm the presence or absence of a range of protected species, and can give you advice which will enable you to move forward with your project in compliance with current UK legislation.
We can give advice for a range of species, including those listed below.
We recommend that surveys be carried out early in the life of your project so that in the event of a protected species being present on your site, a solution can be discussed and agreed in good time to allow your development to progress on schedule. We have extensive experience with the licensing process, and should a licence be required we can progress the application on your behalf.
Some kinds of surveys for certain species can be restricted to specific times of year and we can advise on survey timings. It should also be noted that survey for European Protected Species (e.g. bats, otter, dormice) cannot form part of a suspensive planning condition and that their presence or absence must be determined prior to planning permission being granted.
Please note: all protected species surveys and mitigation are subject to seasonal constraints according the each species behavior and biology. To get advice on timings of surveys give us a call for an informal chat to see how we can help. We have experience in undertaking surveys for all British animals for large developments local authorities and small developments in the UK
Protected Species Surveys
All species of bat are fully protected under the UK Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and the EU Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010. Combined, this legislation makes it illegal to:intentionally or recklessly kill, injure or capture a bat, damage or destroy habitat which a bat uses for shelter or protection; ordeliberately disturb a bat when it is occupying a place it uses for shelter and protection.
A bat roost is defined as being any structure or place that is used for shelter or protection, and since it may be in use only occasionally or at specific times of year, a roost retains such designation whether bats are present or not.
An initial assessment to identify the potential for bats to be using a site, which will be followed up by surveys for bat presence, activity and an evaluation of the potential of the habitat. Should evidence of bat activity be found further surveys may be required.
Our experienced bat licence ecologists will work with you to help ensure your project can proceed in a manner that complies with legal obligations and minimises disturbance to bats and their habitats.
Only licensed bat-workers are allowed to enter known bat roosts or to capture or handle bats. Types of works that CHMS can provide are as follows:
Internal and external building inspections (preliminary assessments) for bats
Dusk bat emergence and dawn re-entry surveys (roost characterisation surveys)
Ground and tree climbing assessments
Bat activity transects
Bat hibernation surveys
In the UK badgers are primarily afforded protection under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. They also receive limited protection under Schedule 6 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).
It is illegal to wilfully kill, injure, take, possess or cruelly ill-treat a badger, or to attempt to do so and to intentionally or recklessly interfere with a sett. A sett is defined as "any structure or place or place which displays signs indicating current use by a badger."Sett interference includes disturbing badgers whilst they are occupying a sett, as well as damaging or destroying a sett or obstructing access to it.
Where badgers have been identified the Badger survey will identify how badgers use the site the following objectives are as follows:
Assess the presence of badgers within the site and its local environs;
Identify if the site is used by badgers and if so determine setts location, classification (active/disused) and status (main, annex, subsidiary);
Badger activity level, i.e. the intensity (spatially and temporally) and type (foraging, commuting, etc);
Provide recommendations for further ecological survey work and mitigation where assessed as necessary and suggest potential enhancements.
Dormice are protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act and is also listed under Schedule 2 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 making it a European protected species.
During the survey the following objectives are as follows:
Establish the presence / likely absence of the hazel dormouse in suitable habitats using nest tubes between March and October and nut searches are best undertaken from September to November.
Identify the distribution of the hazel dormouse and usage of habitats,
Recommend ecological mitigation and enhancement where required.
Applications for European Protected Species
Mitigation licences for hazel dormouse translocation and mitigation for hazel dormouse
The European otter are protected by the EC Habitats Directive, which is transposed into domestic law through the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994. Under the “Habitats Regulations”, otters are classed as “European Protected Species” and therefore given the highest level of species protection.
In summary, it is illegal to:deliberately or recklessly kill, injure or take (capture) an otterdeliberately or recklessly disturb or harass an otterdamage, destroy or obstruct access to a breeding site or resting place of an otter (i.e an otter shelter)Thus, otter shelters are legally protected whether or not an otter is present.The otter is also a UK BAP Priority Species and has been adopted as a Species of Principal Importance in England under Section 41 of the NERC Act 2006 (Section 42 in Wales) and the Conservation (Scotland) Act in Scotland.
As otters are highly mobile and wide ranging, assessment of development impact on otters may need to take account of watercourses beyond the immediate development footprint.
Otters can be difficult to survey because they are not readily seen during daylight. Due to this surveying techniques would typically involve a systematic search for evidence of otter presence along a watercourse as follows:
Looking for their droppings, which are deposited on rocks, logs and structures along watercourses, which comprise a mass of fish bones, shell, and small bones,
Evedience of fish/amphibian remains and/or empty shells from freshwater exoskeletral remians along a water course bank
Otter surveys can take place at any time of the year, but preferably when rainfall is low, and when the vegetation has died back, allowing for better visual identification of survey features.Our expert ecologists undertake habitat suitability assessments that help to determine the likely presence of otters and target further surveys.