Latest planning performance figures for Scotland show the average time taken to determine major planning applications rose steeply during the first half of the 2016-17 financial year – up from 26.3 weeks during the first three months of 2016 to an average of 44.8 weeks during July to September. This is the highest average determination period for major applications for any quarter since this measurement began in April 2012. Atmos Technical Director Ecology considers what developers can do to mitigate the risk of delays in the planning process.  

Read more...

With the start of the newt season fast approaching its time to begin thinking about those ponds on your site which might need surveying.  The survey season for newts is relatively short, beginning in March and ending in mid-June, with eDNA test being able to be undertaken from 15th April to 30th June.

Although presence/absence surveys or eDNA tests can determine if GCN are present any subsequent licence application to allow the translocation of GCN from your site needs to be informed by population assessments. These population assessments involve undertaking 6 survey visits. For the survey data to be considered valid at least half of these six survey visits need to be undertaken during mid-April to Mid-May and ideally spaced a week apart.

There is therefore a very real risk that survey work commissioned late in the survey season results in the full suite of survey visits being unable to be undertaken, potentially causing significant delays to your project.  

Early engagement with an experienced ecology consultant is essential in order to avoid untimely delays and unnecessary costs. Our bespoke ecology calendar is designed to help you programme in surveys during the appropriate survey windows.

Contact us to today to find out how we can successfully help you mitigate the ecological implications of your project. 

 


A planning application for a property redevelopment was recently withdrawn on the advice of the local authority. This was because no bat survey had been undertaken, even though anecdotal evidence suggested bats were roosting in the structure. The developer now has to wait until late spring, when bats are active again, for surveys to be carried out, prompting a delay of several months before their planning application can be resubmitted complete with the survey information and an assessment of any impacts the development might have on bats, if the surveys confirm that they are indeed present. By not doing this work earlier in the process, the developer has now incurred heavy delays and extra costs. Dr. Mikael Forup looks at the benefits of planning ahead when assessing the potential ecological impact of a proposed development. 

Read more...

Last month, it was announced that Natural England was introducing four new policies for European Protected Species with the aim of speeding up the licensing process or, in certain specific cases, avoiding the need to apply for a licence altogether.  The main target for these new policies is the Great Crested Newt (GCN) which many developers will have experience of dealing with over the years. But certain aspects of the new policies are equally applicable to other species as well. Atmos Consultant Jamie Glossop looks at each of the new policies in turn and what implications we think they might have for developers.

Read more...

2016 was a busy year for protected species licensing for the Atmos Mold Ecology Team, with four new development licences granted and a two further long-standing licences in place. Covering great crested newt (GCN), bats and badger for a wide range of developments and across Wales and England, this has given us a unique perspective on the  subtle variations in the licencing processes across different organisations, the wide variety of challenges encountered for different types of development and the broad range of solutions used to address these. Senior Consultant, Catherine Hibbert outlines some key lessons to be learned from recent EPS licensing experience in Wales.

Read more...