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ECOLOGY

We undertake ecological assessments and Extended Phase 1 Habitat Surveys as a baseline for development projects. We specialise in Ecology Phase 1 Habitat Surveys for flora and fauna and protected species assessments, we are also able to offer detailed Phase 2 Habitat Surveys for bats, amphibians, reptiles, dormice, badgers and invertebrates. 

We have the resources and experience to be able to offer an ecological watching brief for reptile translocation work, destructive searches, and demolition work. Much of our ecological consultancy work includes ecological mitigation measures and enhancement recommendations, habitat creation and ecological management proposals.

+ What is a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal?

A Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (or PEA), is the first stage of any site ecological assessment. It has three main components:

An ecological desk study

An extended ecology Phase 1 habitat survey

A detailed protected species assessment

Whilst undertaking the desk study, we collate data relating to local and statutory designated sites, such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and priority habitats. We also contact the local biological record centres and local resources to obtain details of locally designated sites for wildlife and existing records of any protected and priority species within the vicinity of the site.

Using the extended Phase 1 habitat survey technique (JNCC, 2010; IEA; 1995) the habitats present on the site are mapped, and if relevant include the wider surrounding area. For each identified habitat area, we record the plant species present and their abundance. We also assess the potential of the site for protected and priority species, and record any evidence of these that we establish during the survey, such as badger setts or any evidence of bat activity.

As part of the PEA, we are also able to advise on any initial ecological issues that we identify, for example, in relation to designated sites and priority habitats, and also what is likely to be required in order to complete the ecological assessment, for examples further surveys for protected species. Initial guidance on measures that could be incorporated into the development design to avoid and mitigate ecological impacts can also be provided at this stage. The PEA can therefore be an extremely useful tool for development planning and can also form the basis of an ecological impact assessment as the project develops.

+ Protected Species Surveys

The requirements for protected species surveys will generally be identified following the Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA, also known as a Phase 1 Survey, Walkover or Baseline Survey) Protected species surveys are a legal requirement if initial surveys suggest that any of the species listed in Article 12 of The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations (Habitats Regulations) 2010 (as amended), or The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), are present on a development site.

Protected species surveys are a material consideration during the planning process and should therefore be submitted alongside the planning application.

Lizard Landscape Design and Ecology has a team of experienced ecologists who are able to undertake all protected species surveys and mitigation work as well as preparing European Protected Species Mitigation Licenses for development projects where protected species are present.

 
 

THE ECOLOGY SURVEY SEASON

 

BADGER SURVEYS

Badgers are one of the UK's most iconic mammals and receive protection under The Protection of Badgers Act 1992. Under the Act, it is a serious offence to kill, injure, interfere or take a badger. It is also an offence to damage or interfere with an actively used sett unless a license is  obtained.

 

 

BAT SURVEYS

There are 18 species of bat in the UK, all of which are protected by law. Bats are found roosting in a variety of locations including caves, tunnels, trees and houses in both rural and urban settings. Bats have specific requirements at different times of the year and may use  many different roosts in one annual cycle. In addition to  this bats will use features such as hedgerows in the  environment as commuting corridors while even small    areas of good quality grassland, woodland or river habitat provide important foraging habitat. 

 

BIRD SURVEYS

Most bird migration takes place during the spring and early summer, and during late summer and autumn. Migration periods can vary significantly between species (and different populations of the same species). The recommended survey timing and technique needs to take into account the typical migration behaviour of species of interest, the geographical location, and survey aims/objectives.

 

 

DORMOUSE SURVEYS

The hazel or common dormouse is the only native dormouse to the UK. Numbers have declined significantly in recent times due to habitat loss and fragmentation. All dormouse and their habitat are strictly protected under The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010. If you are currently dealing with a site which contains woodland or mature hedgerows you may need a dormouse survey.

 

 

 

GREAT CRESTED NEWT SURVEYS

Great Crested Newts (GCN) are the largest newt species and have undergone significant population declined during the 20th century due to habitat loss and fragmentation. Great Crested Newts receive full legal protection under The Conservation of Species and Habitats regulations 2010 (as amended) and The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). It is illegal to deliberately injure, kill, capture of disturb a Great Crested Newt, or to damage, destroy or obstruct any places used for shelter and protection. 

 

 

HABITAT SURVEYS

Phase 1 habitat surveys can be completed throughout the year, but surveys during the spring and summer allow more detailed species lists to be put together which can aid the classification of habitats.

A Phase 1 habitat survey can be extended to include assessment of a site's potential to support protect species including bats, great crested newts, badgers, reptiles and nesting birds. The findings of an extended phase 1 habitat survey can be used to determine whether further detailed survey is likely to be required, such as botanical surveys or more detailed protected species surveys.

 

OTTER SURVEYS

Otters can live on a variety of watercourses including rivers, canals, lakes and reservoirs, estuaries, coasts, streams, ponds, bogs and marshes, and occur in both rural and urban areas, including major cities. Otters are fully protected against killing, capture, injury and disturbance, and any places they use for shelter or protection. Their holts of dens are protected against damage, destruction or obstruction under The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (as amended) and The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).

 

 

REPTILE SURVEYS

Six reptile species are found within the UK, although two of these Sand Snake and Smooth Lizard) are very restricted in distribution. All reptiles are protected under The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as  amended), making it illegal to intentionally kill or injure a common reptile. Rare reptiles (Smooth Snake and Sand Lizard) also receive legal protection under The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010. The BREEAM and BRE-Eco Homes Assessments measure performance in several key areas including ecology. Lizard Landscape Design and Ecology can provide reports written by a Suitably Qualified Ecologist which are vital to gaining Land Use and Ecology Credits.

 

 

 

WATER VOLE SURVEY

Water Voles are the largest of UK vole species and are protected under The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 due to dramatic population declines. Water Vole can be found on slow-flowing watercourses, wet ditches, ponds, lakes and canals with well vegetated banks and steep banks for burrowing. Water Vole surveys may be required if development is in close proximity to a suitable watercourse.

 

 

 

WHITE CLAWED CRAYFISH SURVEY

White-clawed crayfish are classified as Endangered in the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species and their populations are declining throughout much of their range with predictions that the species will face extinction in much of their former range within the next few decades. White-clawed crayfish populations are under threat in Britain and Ireland from a fungal disease, crayfish plague Aphanomyces astaci, carried by a number of introduced North American species of crayfish, and competition from alien crayfish populations. Detailed survey for white-clawed crayfish torch and trapping) is seasonally constrained, with July to October being the optimal period for carrying out survey. Survey should be avoided in May and June when females are releasing young, and between December and March, when water temperatures are typically below 8°C and crayfish are less active.

 

 

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