As summer draws to a close, there’s still much that can be done to progress ecological survey work during the winter. This will enable your project to get off the ground so you can take full advantage of the active season in the spring. Principal Ecologist Catherine Hibbert explains more.
The key ecological survey season for some protected species may be coming to a close, but unlike our native fauna and flora, our Ecologists do not go into hibernation! Forward planning during the quieter winter months offers a good opportunity to scope the survey requirements with Planning Authorities and their advisors. This approach will allow a Developer to factor in any specific survey requirements at the earliest opportunity in the development programme, potentially saving time and money further down the line. It enables potential constraints to a project to be identified as early as possible, either by undertaking the survey in the winter months directly or else using this quieter period to make sure the work is scheduled to take place as soon as the weather starts warming up. Winter months can also be a great time to get ahead of a time critical survey programme, covering off key species and habitat specific surveys, again saving you time later in your development programme. Over winter we can still carry out the following surveys:
|Aquatic Invertebrates||Habitat Suitability assessment for great crested newt|
|Badger, otter, pine marten and red squirrel surveys||Internal and external bat roost inspections and hibernation surveys|
|Bat roost assessments of trees||Ornithological vantage point surveys|
|Dormouse initial habitat assessment & nut-hunt||Wetland bird surveys|
|Ecological Clerk of Works||Winter bird surveys|
|(Extended) phase 1 habitat survey||Winter raptor roost surveys|
|Fish Habitat Surveys||Wildcat surveys|
Timing is Critical
Early engagement with an experienced ecology consultant is essential in order to avoid untimely delays and unnecessary costs. Developers can encounter difficulties when projects only kick off in the autumn and the deadline for submission to planning is before the spring. But by carrying out the surveys outlined above, we can still gain a good understanding of the site’s ecology during the winter period and advise what information will be available to be submitted with a planning application. If at all possible, we recommend getting your project off the ground this winter so you can be sure to catch the optimal survey windows in spring 2017. Our team of ecological specialists are ready to advise you on the surveys which can be undertaken over the winter months and the time and cost benefits of undertaking survey work at an early stage.