As we move into spring and many species become more active, now is the time to think about ecological surveys for your project.
Wildlife species are generally active at different times of the year and therefore most ecological surveys are seasonally constrained. These seasonal constraints should be factored into a project as early as possible to avoid delays.
As protected species surveys are a material planning consideration, we recommend engaging with the Ecology Team to complete a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) as a key first step. Following this, the team will be able to recommend any further protected species surveys required and their timescales.
A good example would be for a scheme that was likely to require the removal of ponds or impacts to habitats within 250-500m of a pond. Could there be great crested newts? Surveys for these species are only possible between March and June inclusive and include up to 6 survey visits (with at least 2 to 3 of these between mid-April and mid-May). Miss this survey window and your project could be delayed by a year until surveys can be completed.
To help provide a visual guide, we have produced a survey calendar (attached below) to highlight the typical seasonal survey windows within which the Ecology Team usually have to work. This is based on best practice guidance. It should be remembered that surveys may require a number of visits throughout the survey period with factors such as weather and geography potentially impacting dates.
Wherever possible and practical, we will provide innovative approaches and find solutions for your project so please speak to our Ecologists before scheduling any work.