A material consideration when the local planning authority determine on a planning application is the potential impact on biodiversity. A key indicator for this can be the assemblage of birds present on a site. With many of Britain’s birds, particularly arable species, facing severe declines it is important to establish the impact that may be caused or the potential ecological benefits that can be devised within a scheme. Our experienced team of ornithologists can design and conduct surveys to assess the bird assemblage present on a site. Some common surveys are described below however, these are just a snapshot and surveys can be tailored to the requirements of a project depending on the scale of development.
Breeding bird survey
These surveys are conducted during the breeding season to determine the assemblage of birds breeding within a site and the location of nests. The survey involves an experienced surveyor walking across the site at dawn and recording all species heard or seen across the site and noting behaviour patterns. These surveys are conducted between March and July, with peak periods determined by the habitat and species present.
Winter bird survey
Large numbers of birds overwinter in the U.K with the countries network of Special Protection Areas (SPA) harbouring significant numbers. A number of these areas are situated within Hampshire and are an important factor within the planning process. Winter bird surveys involve surveyors walking across sites noting species present and in particular any large flocks which may habitually use an area. These surveys are often required where there may be issues with brent geese or other species such as golden plover on the land.
Where sites are located close to an SPA it is often important to establish if species present within the SPA are also using surrounding areas for foraging/commuting. Species specific surveys can then be designed to target these species and include Dartford Warbler, Woodlark or Nightjar surveys.
Planning applications which are located within a rural area and involve impacting on barns may encounter nesting barn owls. This species is listed on Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and is afforded additional legal protection. We have licenced ecologists who can assess a building for barn owls and provide advice and mitigation for the planning process.