protected species surveys and mitigation
Please get in touch if B.A.T. Ecological can help you and your project with any protected species surveys, reporting, licensing, or mitigation / compensation design and implementation - firstname.lastname@example.org | +44 (0) 7870 157022.
There are two main laws that protect endangered species and their habitats in England and Wales: the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017, which are commonly referred to as the ‘Habitats Regulations’ and transpose the 1992 EC Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora into English and Welsh law, and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), which has been reinforced by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. These laws, along with the more specific Protection of Badgers Act 1992, are intended to prevent harm to a number of animal species such as badgers, bats, dormice, great crested newts, natterjack toads, otters, red squirrels, water voles and white-clawed crayfish, as well as rare insects, fish and plants. They also outlaw the disturbance of nesting birds, with an added level of protection from disturbance provided for rarer (Schedule 1) birds such as barn owls.
Most of the species protected by these laws are also among 943 ‘Species of Principal Importance’ identified by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 that every public authority in England must seek to conserve while carrying out their duties, which includes Local Planning Authorities. The National Planning Policy Framework (2012, revised 2018 and 2019) also includes a range of statements and policies intended to protect and enhance biodiversity, mainly within Chapter 15, and it also reiterates ODPM (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) Circular 06/2005: Biodiversity and Geological Conservation – Statutory Obligations and their impact within the Planning System, which states that “the possible presence of a protected species is a material consideration when a planning authority is considering a development proposal that, if carried out, would be likely to result in harm to the species or its habitat”.
Wherever there is a reasonable likelihood of a protected species being present and affected by a proposed development it is therefore essential that their presence or otherwise is established before your project can acquire planning permission, along with the extent to which they may be affected by the proposals. It is also best to establish this early on to avoid potential delays and additional costs to the project. Once a site has been appraised for protected species it will then also be necessary to design and implement strategies to avoid, mitigate or compensate for any adverse effects on any that are present to satisfy both legal and planning requirements regarding biodiversity. Sometimes, a derogation / development licence from the Statutory Nature Conservation Body (e.g. Natural England) may also then be required if adverse impacts on certain protected species cannot be avoided, to allow otherwise illegal activities, and robust survey results are critical to inform the mitigation / compensation strategy that will be needed to acquire this.