Protected Species Surveys

We specialise in carrying surveys of protected species for planning and development. We are able to determine if protected species are likely to be impacted by a development, and if necessary are able to design mitigation strategies to ensure that planning permission is received. 

We carry out surveys for any protected species in regard to planning and development, including: 

  • Bats
  • Badgers
  • Reptiles
  • Great crested newts
  • Otters
  • Water voles
  • Birds

Our consultants hold relevant Natural England class licences, and are members of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM)

With offices in Hebden Bridge and Lancaster, we carry out protected species across Yorkshire, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Cumbria. For a quotation, or for more information regarding protected species surveys, please contact us. 

If you have questions regarding protected species in the UK, or would like a quotation for a Protected Species Survey, please contact us.

Our licensed consultants are experienced in carrying out bat surveys in relation to planning. 

A daytime inspection, or Bat Scoping Survey, is usually the first stage of any bat survey. This can be carried out at any time of year, and for buildings with limited potential for roosting bats is usually sufficient for planning permission. If the scoping survey identified signs of bats or habitat suitable for bats, then a Bat Activity Survey is usually required. This includes between one and three site visits, whereby the building is surveyed for emerging and re-entering at dusk or dawn. Bat Activity Surveys are carried out between May and September.

We offer tree climbing bat surveys, carried out by competent and licensed tree climbers. We are also able offer climbed inspections of bridges, aqueducts and other artificial structures. 

Where bats are found to be present, we can apply for a Natural England licence to ensure that works can go ahead. 

Badger Surveys are often required when a potential development can affect badgers. Badgers are protected under their own specific legislation, the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. 

The initial stage of a badger survey consists of a walkover site survey. This is usually carried out as part of a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal, whereby the ecological value of the site as a whole is appraised. Badger Surveys can be carried out at any time of year, although the optimum time to survey for field signs is between February to April and in October, and the optimum time to survey for setts is in winter, when setts are less hidden by vegetation.

When badgers are found to be present on a site, when necessary we can apply for the relevant Natural England licence to close and/or relocate setts. 

Reptile surveys are often required as a planning condition when a site provides suitable habitats for reptiles. There are six species of reptile which are legally protected in the UK. These includes three species of snake: adder, smooth snake and grass snake, and three species of lizard: common lizard, sand lizard and slow worm. 

The suitability of a site for reptiles is initially assessed by a walkover survey. This is often carried out as part of a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal. If a site is deemed to provide suitable habitat for reptiles, a reptile presence/absence survey is recommended.

A reptile presence/absence survey consists of two main techniques: the use of artificial refugia - whereby metal sheets and felt mats are placed on the site and then periodically checked - and a visual search. The optimal time to survey for reptiles is in spring and autumn. Reptile surveys cannot be carried out between November and February, when reptiles are hibernating.

Great crested newts can often be a constraint to development, as it is not only the breeding ponds which can be impacted, but the terrestrial habitat surrounding ponds. Therefore developers can be asked to demonstrate potential impacts upon great crested newts for developments within 500m of any ponds. 

The first stage of a great crested newt survey is a walkover survey, which can be undertaken at any time of year. our surveyors are able to assess ponds and the surrounding habitat to determine if the habitat is suitable for great crested newts. 

For ponds with suspected presence of great crested newts, presence/absence surveys are undertaken. This usually involves four site visits between mid-March and mid-June, using methods of bottle trapping, torchlight searching and egg searching. 

If great crested newts are found to be present, we are able to apply for the relevant Natural England licence to ensure that works can go ahead. 

We also offer eDNA sampling, which can be a fast and effective of determining great crested newt presence/absence in ponds. 

Bird surveys are often required for development proposals that affect habitat suitable for wild birds. This ranges from natural habitats like woodland, scrub and hedgerows to agricultural buildings such as barns, and could apply to single trees if they are large and mature enough.

There are over 550 bird species found in the UK. All wild birds, nests and eggs are afforded protection in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (As amended) making it an offence to kill or injure a bird or destroy their nest. Some birds, such as barn owls and kingfishers, are also ‘schedule 1 birds’ and it is an offence to disturb one of these birds whilst they are nesting.

Our ecologists are on hand to offer expert advice on bird surveys, planning and mitigation.