Ecology Survey Season – The importance of project planning and timing

The longer Spring days are becoming a welcomed reality again. The survey season window for ecology is now back in action, starting in early April, with the summer bat roosts and activity surveys, breeding pond surveys for great crested newts, and water voles breeding birds, dormice, and reptiles underway.

In preparing and managing planning applications, it is crucial to plan and prepare for survey season so that the necessary work is carried out early in the process, this ensures applications do not stall for want of an ecology survey. Seeking input and interpreting the data from ecologists, arboriculturists and other specialist consultants can be crucial in understanding the opportunities and constraints of a development site early on.

For example, in recent work we carried out on a proposed barn conversion submitted to planning in the Forest of Dean, we worked alongside ecologists to confirm that the barn and its immediate surroundings provided no suitable habitat for bats or other protected species.

Whilst preliminary habitation roost surveys were undertaken in January, we were able to advise the client early on that any evidence of bat roosting may result in a delay to the project until further work could be undertaken in the survey period starting in April. Therefore, this timetabling for a “worst-case” scenario was scheduled early on.

Working with the ecology consultant, we were able to use the findings to propose bat and bird nesting boxes and planting throughout the site, creating new habitats for local native species, including some protected species. This is an important benefit in planning considerations and contributes to required biodiversity net gain requirements.

Whilst we are not ecologists or arboriculturists, we have the pleasure of working with several experienced consultants on projects across the country. Our experience also allows us to advise clients early on what surveys may be required, offer guidance on what impact this may have on their project timeline and speak with our trusted professional colleagues to collect quotes on our client’s behalf.

Therefore, if you are planning a new development and would like more information about the likely planning requirements, opportunities, and timetabling because of seasonal survey work, then do get in touch with Chris Moore or Chris Fleming for an initial conversation on the best next steps.

Call on 01242 895008 or email us at