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Ecological Survey Planning Permission for Developments

What is an ecological survey for planning permission?

An ecological survey is conducted to analyse the ecology impact of a proposed development on the flora and fauna, habitats, and species in the site. It evaluates the overall ecological implications that the development might cause and recommends measures to mitigate any negative effects.

Before the construction of any development, various surveys and reports, including a preliminary ecological appraisal (PEA), must be completed. The PEA examines and evaluates the potential impact of the proposed development site on the local ecosystem and ensures that protected species and habitats are taken into account while submitting the planning permission.

Conducting an ecological survey also prompts developers to adhere to relevant environmental laws and regulations. If any protected habitats or species are identified during the survey, developers will be required to create mitigation and compensation plans.

ecological surveys for planning applications

Ecological surveys for planning permission and development

Our team at Collington Winter can provide expert ecological appraisals which comprise rapid assessments to identify and assess any features of ecological interest on site. As part of the PEA, we offer an Ecological Desk Study and Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey.

Ecological Desk Study:  Obtaining records and data on designated sites, we can undertake research on legally protected areas, such as priority habitats and Sites of Special Scientific Interest. When accessing records on protected species within the area of the site we can provide printed or interactive maps using GIS using the data provided.

Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey: Using extended phase 1 habitat surveys, we can identify key ecological issues, allowing us to provide advice on how to best resolve the ecological issues identified. We are also able to provide walkover surveys which allow us to accurately map the area and types of habitats that are present.

Using the extended phase 1 habitat surveying technique, we can effectively map different habitats present on a site and record the evidence of the protected species to assess the potential development of the site for such species in mind.

Protected Species Survey – If there is any indication that a protected species could be present on a development site, a protected species survey will be required by local authorities to accompany a planning application. Common types of protected species surveys include badgers, great crested newts, bats, barn owls, water voles, and nesting birds. Undertaking Protected Species Surveys will provide information on the presence or absence of these types of species in and around a development site to support protected species. It is important to note that certain surveys can only be carried out during specific times of the year. The protected species survey calendar on our website will advise on the best time to survey.

We can provide advice on ecological issues encountered and measures which can be taken throughout the development design to mitigate and avoid ecological impacts.

Why do you need an ecological survey for planning permission?

An ecological survey is needed prior to submitting planning applications if there is a chance of pre-existing protected habitats or species on site. They are also required if the development has the potential to impact any future biodiversity. Ecological surveys are commonly used during the due diligence stage in connection with an acquisition or property merger.

Ecological surveys can also help to determine whether further specific surveys need to be undertaken, such as European protected species surveys, habitat surveys or ecological impact assessments.

The optimal time of year to conduct ecological surveys for planning permission is between the spring and summer months, as this is when wildlife is most active.

If you are unsure if you require an ecological survey, then pre-application discussions with the local planning authorities and local record centres can advise if survey work will be required.

What happens after an ecological survey?

After an ecological survey, the next steps will depend on the outcome of the survey. If no issues or environmental constraints are encountered within the preliminary ecological appraisal, then no further action will be required, and the report may be submitted for planning.

If evidence which suggests that protected species or habitats are present on the site is found within the preliminary ecological appraisal, further surveys may be required to investigate. Depending on the results of a protected species survey, certain mitigation, compensation, and avoidance methods may be required to offset the negative impacts of development project on the environment.

Further ecological enhancement measures and biodiversity net gain may be required to assist with nature conservation and improve the state of the environment.

Why choose Collington Winter?

As an experienced ecology consultancy, our ecological surveyors at Collington Winter Environmental are well equipped to carry out all manner of ecological reports and detailed surveys for planning proposals.

Our Ecology Director, Olivia Collington, holds a Natural England license. Olivia has worked with protected species across the UK undertaking ecology surveys. She is also experienced in ecological and environmental management.

We also offer Landscape Architecture Services to all locations of the United Kingdom.

If you require any advice or services from a qualified Ecologist, contact us using the form below. You can also contact our Ecology Director, Olivia Collington, via email at

Contact Us

Registered Address

23 Bark Street East, 1st Floor, Bolton, BL1 2BQ

Cambridge Office

Future Business Centre, Cambridge Campus, Kings Hedges Road, Cambridge, CB4 2HY


Head Office: 01204 939 608

Dumfries Office: 01387 378208

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