European Protected Species Survey for Development

When undertaking construction or development projects, it is essential to consider the potential impact on wildlife and biodiversity. European protected species surveys are often requested by local planning authorities prior to development taking place to ensure that any protected species will not be put at risk when development occurs.

European protected species (EPS) are protected by both national and international legislation, including The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.

It is an offence to injure, capture or kill any European protected species in their habitat. Therefore, if the presence of protected species is found on a proposed development site, developers must carry out mitigation and compensation measures before any work can begin. If these requirements are not met, a planning application will often be denied.

Protected species in the UK

There are a range of listed European protected species in the UK. Some of the most common species include:

  • Barn Owls
  • Bats
  • Badgers
  • Fish
  • Great Crested Newts
  • Otters
  • Reptiles
  • Water Voles
  • Wild Birds

Types of European protected species surveys

Prior to a European protected species survey, an ecologist would typically begin with a broader survey, such as a Preliminary Ecological Assessment (PEA), to determine which species are present. After the PEA has been carried out, further specific ecological surveys can then be conducted based on the identified animals.

Several types of surveys may be conducted as part of the assessment for European Protected Species. The specific surveys required depend on the nature of the development or project and the species known or suspected to be present. Here are some common types of European Protected Species surveys:

  1. Bat Surveys:
    • Roost Surveys: Identify and assess the significance of bat roosts in buildings, trees, or other structures.
    • Activity Surveys: Monitor bat activity through the use of detectors to understand their presence and movement patterns.
  2. Bird Surveys:
    • Breeding Bird Surveys: Assess breeding bird populations and nesting sites during the breeding season.
    • Wintering Bird Surveys: Evaluate the presence of protected bird species during the winter months.
  3. Reptile and Amphibian Surveys:
    • Presence/Absence Surveys: Determine the presence or absence of protected reptiles and amphibian species in a given area.
  4. Great Crested Newt Surveys:
    • Pond Surveys: Assess the presence of great crested newts in breeding ponds, including egg searches and habitat assessments.

Importance of European protected species surveys

Active endeavours to safeguard endangered species are essential, as they can play a pivotal role in preventing the extinction of native animals and plants. Such efforts also contribute to a broader motivation to enhance the state of the ecosystem, environment, and biodiversity.

The UK government has heightened its emphasis on environmental preservation, focusing on wildlife and plant species during development projects. This commitment is notably reflected in the introduction of Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) through the Environment Act of 2021.

How can Collington Winter assist?

Collington Winter Environmental are a team of ecological consultants with extensive experience in environmental management and undertaking European protected species surveys on all types of development projects and can meet any survey requirements. Our Ecology Director, Olivia Collington, holds a Natural England protected species licence and has worked with protected species across the UK.

Please contact us ( for more information on our mitigation plans and protected habitats and species survey work. Further good practice guidance for habitats and species surveys can be found on the CIEEM website. We also provide ecological appraisal and assessment services.

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

Get in touch
close slider
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.