Local Requirements for the Conservation of Protected Species

  • Where a proposed development is likely to affect protected species, the applicant must submit a Protected Species Survey and Assessment.

For detailed guidance on determining when a species survey and assessment is required please refer to Table 1: Local Requirement for Protected Species: Criteria and Indicative Thresholds for when a Survey and Assessment are Required - please see listed in the Documents section on this page.

The planning authority has a duty to consider the conservation of biodiversity when determining a planning application; this includes having regard to the safeguard of species protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 2010 or the Badgers Act 1992; and of designated sites and priority habitats and species.  Where a proposed development is likely to affect any of the above, the relevant protected species, ecological and/or geological surveys and assessments must be submitted.

The Survey/s and Assessment/s should be undertaken and prepared by competent persons with suitable experience.  Surveys must be carried out at an appropriate time of year, in suitable weather conditions. The survey must be to an appropriate level of scope and detail, using nationally recognised survey guidelines/methods where available and being informed where appropriate by the results of a search for ecological data from the local environmental records centre BRERC (http://www.brerc.org.uk/).

Protected Species Survey and Assessment

A Protected Species Survey must:

  • Record which species are present and identify their numbers (may be approximate);
  • Map their distribution and use of the area, site, structure or feature (e.g. for feeding, shelter, breeding).

The Protected Species Assessment must identify and describe potential development impacts likely to harm the protected species and/or their habitats identified by the survey (these should include both direct and indirect effects both during construction and afterwards).  Where harm is likely, evidence must be submitted to show:

  • How alternatives designs or locations have been considered;
  • How adverse effects will be avoided wherever possible;
  • How unavoidable impacts will be mitigated or reduced;
  • How impacts that cannot be avoided or mitigated will be compensated.

In addition, proposals are to be encouraged that will enhance, restore or add to features or habitats used by protected species. The Assessment should also give an indication of how species numbers are likely to change, if at all, after development e.g. whether there will be a net loss or gain. 

The information provided in response to the above requirements are consistent with those required for an application to Natural England for a European Protected Species Licence.  A protected species survey and assessment may form part of a wider Ecological Assessment and/or part of an Environmental Impact Assessment.

Local Requirements for Designated Sites, Priority Habitats and Species, and Geological Conservation

  • Where a proposed development is likely to affect such a site, habitat, species or geological feature, the applicant must submit an Ecological/Geological Survey and Assessment.

These will usually required for application proposals that are:

  • located within or adjacent to a Special Protection Area (SPA); Special Area of Conservation (SAC); Ramsar Site; Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI); Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI); Regionally Important Geological Site (RIGS); or Local Nature Reserve (LNR);
  • likely to affect UK or local Biodiversity Action Plan habitats or species

For detailed guidance on determining when an ecological or geological survey and assessment is required please refer to:

Table 2: Local Requirements for Designated Sites and Priority Habitats Criteria for When a Survey and Assessment are Required - please see listed in the Documents section on this page. 

Table 3: Local Requirements For Designated Geological Sites And Features Criteria for when a Survey and Assessment are Required - please see listed in the Documents section on this page.

Ecological/Geological Survey and Assessment

An Ecological/Geological Survey must:

  • Record which habitats, species and features are present on and where appropriate near to/around the site;
  • Identify the extent/area/length present;
  • Map their distribution on site and/or in the surrounding area shown on an appropriate scale plan.

The Ecological/Geological Assessment should identify and describe potential development impacts likely to harm designated sites, priority habitats or species, other listed biodiversity features or geological features (these should include both direct and indirect effects both during construction and afterwards).  Where harm is likely, evidence must be submitted to show:

  • How alternatives designs or locations have been considered;
  • How adverse effects will be avoided wherever possible;
  • How unavoidable impacts will be mitigated or reduced;
  • How impacts that cannot be avoided or mitigated will be compensated.

In addition, proposals are to be encouraged that will enhance, restore or add to designated sites priority habitats, other biodiversity features or geological features.  The Assessment should give an indication of likely change in the area (hectares) of priority habitat on the site after development e.g. whether there will be a net loss or gain.  An ecological/geological survey and assessment may form part of a wider Environmental Impact Assessment.

FIG2 Ecological Survey Seasons - please see listed in the Documents section on this page.

POLICY & GUIDANCE REFERENCES

Government planning policies for biodiversity are set out on pages 25-29 of the National Planning Policy Framework (external link) which is accompanied by a Government Circular: Biodiversity and Geological Conservation – Statutory obligations and their impact within the planning system (ODPM Circular 06/2005, DEFRA Circular 01/2005 and Planning for Biodiversity and Geological Conservation: A Guide to Good Practice).

Further information on appropriate survey methods can be found in Guidance on Survey Methodology published by the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management; available at:

http://www.cieem.net/technical-guidance-series-tgs-

Online information on internationally and nationally designated sites can be found at: http://www.natureonthemap.org.uk/

 

Last updated: 2 March 2016

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