Ecological Survey: What is a Survey?

Ecological Survey

An ecological survey may be required for a proposed development to identify any ecological constraints which may be present on a development site. A site survey will assess each section of your site and will consider the immediate environmental impact which the development will have on existing habitats, plant species and wildlife within the vicinity of a site.

There are different types of ecological surveys, including a preliminary ecological appraisal, protected species surveys, habitat surveys, and ecological impact assessments.

ecological survey

Do I Need an Ecological Survey?

Ecological surveys may be required to obtain planning permission for a development project. Most local planning authorities will expect developers to provide a report from a qualified ecologist within a planning application, if there is the possibility of protected habitats and species being present on or around the development site.

If there is evidence of habitats which may support protected species on a site, some survey work may need to be carried out. You should contact an experienced Ecology Consultancy to find out if you require an ecological survey.

Types of Ecological Survey

  • Preliminary Ecological Appraisal – For most projects, a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal will be the first step in the process of evaluating a site. An Ecological appraisal provides an overview of a site and will assist in gaining an understanding of the ecological conditions. It will provide details of any habitat types or plant species present. It will also provide an indication on the presence of any protected species, or any other potential impacts and potential ecological constraints for a development project.
  • Ecological Impact Assessment –An Ecological Impact Assessment is a method of identifying, evaluating, and quantifying the potential impacts of development on the environment, including, habitats, protected species and ecosystems.
  • 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. 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.

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 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.

How Can Collington Winter Environmental Assist?

Collington Winter provide all types of ecological surveys to developers on all types of projects. We can further advise on mitigation and enhancement measures following the completion of any survey. We have worked on projects in England, Scotland and Wales, from Manchester and the North West, to London, Devon and Cambridge.

We have years of experience in ecology and environmental management and we have a great reputation within the industry. Our Ecology Director, Olivia Collington, holds Natural England Bat and Great Crested Newt licences, as well as Natural England Badger Mitigation Licences.

She has worked with protected species across the UK, undertaking field surveys. She is also experienced in report writing, creating scientific reports for submission at planning.

Collington Winter Environmental understands the importance of delivering sustainable projects. We provide entirely paperless operations and encourage others in this approach. We always recommend the use of recycled materials for habitat creation and management on sites to reduce carbon footprint. As members of IES, we are committed to promoting sustainable development in all aspects of our work.

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

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

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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