These are the main ecology services we offer, but we would be very happy to discuss your requirements outside these categories.
We have surveyors based throughout Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire to provide cost-effective ecology surveys.
If you require a quote, need further explanation or have any questions, please contact us by clicking here.
Ecology surveys are required by planning authorities where a proposed development may impact wildlife. The findings are reported and submitted as part of a planning application, allow local planning authorities to make an informed planning decision based on impacts of the proposed development on protected species and biodiversity. For more information, please click on the headings below.
Preliminary Ecological Appraisals (“PEA”)
A PEA provides the baseline ecological data for a site and is typically required as a first step to address the ecological aspects of a planning application. Our reports provide an initial site assessment used to identify the habitats present on site that may support protected species. They are comprised of three key sections:
- Desktop study – to search for records of protected sites, habitats and species within a defined study area.
- Site walkover – to evaluate and map the habitats present and to assess suitability for protected species.
- Mitigation and enhancements – any ecological constraints will be identified and recommendations made if further protected species surveys are necessary. Our reports will provide appropriate mitigation and enhancements for the proposed development.
We follow the Phase 1 methodology as documented by the Nature Conservancy Council, but enhance this with an assessment of protected species, adding to the overall habitat assessment. All PEAs are carried out in accordance with CIEEM guidelines for Preliminary Ecological Appraisals. Please note: PEAs include Preliminary Bat Roost Assessments (“PRA”) if buildings and/or trees are present on site.
Preliminary Bat Roost Assessments (“PRA”)
A PRA is usually required when a development involves the demolition of a building, part of a building, or any works which may affect a location where bats could be roosting (e.g. re-roofing, building extensions, loft conversions, or removal of trees). PRAs aim to evaluate the suitability of a building or tree for roosting bats, identify any signs of bat use in the structure and to assess the need for further bat activity surveys.
Our PRA surveys are conducted in accordance with the most up to date Bat Survey Guidelines and involve the following:
- A desktop study to search for statutory protected sites, habitats and records of granted protected species mitigation licences in the vicinity of the site.
- An internal and external inspection of the building(s) and/or tree(s) on site by a bat licensed ecologist to search for signs of bats and/or features which could be suitable for roosting bats. This inspection is carried out in daylight and can be undertaken at any time of the year.
- Our report will provide a clear description of our findings, along with an assessment of the potential impacts of the proposed works on bats. Further bat activity surveys may be recommended, should evidence of bat presence or suitable roosting features be identified within the structure(s) or tree(s) on site.
- The report will provide appropriate mitigation and enhancements measures to avoid detrimental impacts on the potential local bat population from the proposed works. If bats use the structure(s) or tree(s) for roosting, a European Protected Species (“EPS”) Mitigation Licence from Natural England may be required to conduct proposed works.
Please click here or on the headings below for more information on Protected Species Surveys and European Protected Species (“EPS”) Mitigation Licences.
Ecological Impact Assessments (“EcIA”)
An EcIA is a process of identifying, quantifying and evaluating potential effects of development-related or other proposed actions on habitats, species and ecosystems. Our reports provide recommendations for mitigation necessary to ensure obligations with respect to biodiversity are met. An EcIA is generally comprised of a PEA and protected species surveys, and is often undertaken as part of an Environmental Impact Assessment. Following the CIEEM guidelines we look at several key elements for an EcIA:
- Establishing a baseline by collecting information from data searches and the PEA to determine the ecological conditions in the absence of the proposed development.
- Identifying important ecological features (habitat, species and ecosystems).
- Assessing the impacts and effects on these ecological features from the proposed works.
- When impacts are identified, we advise on mitigation measures to undertake in order to avoid, reduce and compensate adverse impacts on biodiversity.
Habitat Regulations Assessments (“HRA”)
A HRA is required for developments that may have an impact on European Protected (Natura 2000) sites. Its purpose is to consider the impacts of a land-use plan against conservation objectives of the site and to ascertain whether it would adversely affect the integrity of the site. A HRA report looks at four stages:
- Screening: identifying likely impacts of the project upon protected sites. If there are no likely impacts then stages 2, 3 and 4 are not required.
- Appropriate assessment: once significant effects are identified, an assessment of the implications of the project on the site conservation objectives are carried out.
- Assessment of alternative solutions: an assessment into alternatives ways of achieving the project objectives to avoid or have lower effects on protected sites are considered.
- Overriding Public Interest: the project is justified by ‘Imperative Reasons of Overriding Public Interest’ and compensatory measures drawn up.
Greenlight has expertise in the provision of HRA Screening and Appropriate Assessment reports. We have particular experience in HRA dealing with potential impacts on Protected Sites which are designated for supporting populations of stone curlews Burhinus oedicnemus.
Environmental Impact Assessments (“EIA”)
An EIA is required on larger developments where triggered by The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations, such as the installation of multiple wind turbines, intensive livestock structures and major housing developments. The EIA is the entire process whereby information about the environmental effects of a project is collated and assessed. This is taken into account when considering whether a project should go ahead or not.
We act as the lead consultant for the production of EIAs and provide an assessment of the full range of environmental impacts using our network of specialists. This includes air quality and health, landscape and visual impact, traffic, amenity, ecology, noise and vibration, water and soils. We employ the practices for EIA as promoted by the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.
BREEAM is a form of sustainable development. It measures environmentally sustainable values in a series of categories such as energy and ecology, and awards points (“credits”) for achieving certain targets. The final performance of the development is rated from “pass” to “outstanding” depending upon the total number of credits acquired.
Greenlight offers the ability to assess the Land Use and Ecology sections LE01-LE05 to help achieve BREEAM certified developments. Please click here to see the relevant documentation.
LE 01 – Site Selection (2 credits)
Recognition of the reuse of previously developed and contaminated land where appropriate remediation has taken place.
LE 02 – Ecological value of site and protection of ecological features (2 credits)
Recognition of the use of sites of ‘low ecological value’, and the protection of existing ecological features prior to and during site operations.
LE 03 – Minimising impact on existing site ecology (2 credits)
Recognition of steps taken to avoid impacts on existing site ecology.
LE 04 – Enhancing site ecology (2 credits)
Recognition of steps taken to enhance site ecology through the advice of a suitably qualified ecologist.
LE 05 – Long term impact on biodiversity (2 credits)
The production of a long term landscape and habitat management plan to encourage measures that improve the sites ecology and long term biodiversity.
We can assess the proposed development plans and calculate the number of credits which a project may be awarded, and provide advice on ecological measures which can be incorporated into the development to boost the final number of credits obtained.
Protected Species Surveys
Protected Species surveys are usually required if the initial survey (e.g. PEA or PRA) has identified suitable habitats on site and potential detrimental impacts on protected species from the proposed works.
We conduct all our Protected Species Surveys in accordance with the current best practice. We document survey results using bespoke and pre-designed templates to ensure a complete audit trail and excellent record-keeping.
Our surveyors hold the relevant Natural England species survey licences and have extensive experience to conduct a wide range of Protected Species Survey including:
Our bat surveys are carried out with state of the art Anabat, Echometer and Song Meter 2 bat detectors which record bat echolocation sounds. We use sound analysis software for identification to species level and can provide multiple detectors to monitor a range of locations, including long-term monitoring. Our infra-red camera equipment accurately records the number of bats that use a roost and pinpoints the exact location where bats access their roost. This is invaluable information for a site where a European Protected Species mitigation licence is required.
European Protected Species (“EPS”) Mitigation Licences
EPS Mitigation Licences are required when activities which are expected to have an impact on a European Protected Species cannot be avoided and would constitute an offence if conducted without a licence. Such activities include:
- Knowingly or recklessly disturbing, injuring, killing or capturing a protected species.
- Damaging or destroying a breeding or resting place for a protected species.
- Obstructing access to a protected species breeding or resting site.
To obtain an EPS Mitigation licence, an adequate level of survey effort must be undertaken to ensure that sufficient data is available to assess the impact of the proposed works on the protected species and to provide the most appropriate mitigation strategy.
Our team is experienced in applying for Natural England EPS Mitigation Licenses for bats, great crested newts and badgers. Through a network of experienced species experts, we have a proven track record of successful applications.
The licence application typically includes preparing the Application form, the Method Statement, the Work Schedule and a Reasoned Statement. This involves describing the results of the surveys which have been conducting on site, assessing the impact of the proposed works on the protected species, and providing a set of detailed and timetabled mitigation actions to maintain the favourable conservation status of the protected species in question.
We work in close consultation with our clients to ensure the mitigation strategy can be tailored to the project and to guarantee its long-term effectiveness.
We are experienced in providing Ecological Clerk of Works duties to major civil engineering projects, and provide the required monitoring and reporting function to ensure wildlife legislation requirements are met.
If your development needs to proceed and there are risks to protected species that may be present, we can provide a licensed ecologist to be on site to oversee operations and deal with protected species under the relevant Natural England license. Typically, this may involve clearing trees or shrubs that may form bird nesting habitat during the nesting season, clearance of areas which may contain reptiles or amphibians, felling of trees that may contain bat roosts, or building works, such as roof tile removal where bats may be present.
We recommend that a decision to commission work under a watching brief is made after a survey and assessment of the risk of protected species being present.
Greenlight has the capacity to deliver projects that may require wildlife fencing, from the initial surveys through to animal capture and translocation, where required. We cover wildlife fencing for reptiles and amphibians, including great crested newt, and are experienced in the sourcing, installation and translocation of such animals.
Our expertise includes obtaining the necessary Natural England mitigation licenses as required, and our licensed staff are qualified to handle protected species. Fencing solutions could be temporary, such as plastic or landscape fabric products, or permanent long-lasting metal fencing.
Permanent wildlife fencing:
We are the sole distributor for a permanent wildlife fence which will outlast any other product currently on the market.
The fence is of a 2mm thick alloy-steel mix, designed for extreme outdoor conditions with a range of metals added to steel to greatly slow corrosion. It outperforms heavily galvanised steel. The fence is simple to install and has been used around the UK over the last 10 years; references are available on request. The fence has an overhang, so will prevent animal movement in one direction.
Standard panel lengths are up to 3.0m. The standard sheet is 720mm high and has a base plate of 140mm. The overhang at the top is 95mm with a 50mm downward pointing edge. The barrier dulls to a grey colour over time but can be re-coated if it is required to fit into the landscape. The fence can be spray-coated with a colour of your choice and we can advise on doing so using a local expert and with an on-site demonstration.
When buried in the ground to a depth of around 200mm it is very sturdy and does not need support posts. The generous fence with overhang is climb resistant to a number of climbing species such as snakes. Three holes are pre-drilled at each end so that the slightly overlapping 3.0m sheets can be secured tightly with self-tapping screws. These can then be trimmed to provide a safe joint; wing nuts can be used as an alternative.
Ecological Management Plans and Method Statements
Ecological Management Plans and Method Statements are often prepared to discharge a condition as part of the planning permission, and are designed to safeguard biodiversity.
We prepare reports in accordance with recommendations in the British Standard BS42020: 2013 – Biodiversity – Code of practice for planning and development.
Reports are tailored to address the planning condition in question and will include information on timings of sensitive works, risk assessments of potential impacts and mitigation and enhancement measures.