We can help you to understand the ecological value of an area and identify practical measures to enhance or protect its value.

 

Ecological assessment for planning and development

Many planning applications require an ecological assessment to establish their likely impact on the environment. We have experience of undertaking ecological assessments and protected species surveys for a wide range of developments. Services we can provide include:

Preliminary ecological appraisals (PEAs)

These are based on the report structure set out by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management and provide information on the habitats present on a site as well as any protected species which will be affected by the development. They also include information on any mitigation actions that might be required. We have completed PEAs for developments including wind turbines, schools and quarries. You can see some example reports here ( these applications have been approved and the reports are in the public domain):

Protected species reports

These provide information on the presence of protected species. We undertake surveys for the following protected species:

Badger

we can undertake surveys to establish if badgers are present in an area and can provide advice on mitigation actions if they are found. We have also undertaken badger sett monitoring as part of sett closedown actions where a sett is currently un-used. In these cases it is up to the developer to demonstrate that the sett was not in use prior to undertaking any work and we have completed monitoring and reporting for this process at several sites.

Freshwater pearl mussel

we are licensed to survey for freshwater pearl mussel throughout Scotland. We have undertaken these surveys are part of hydro scheme developments, as well as for river restoration projects. Clients have included RWE nPower Renewables and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

Otter

we are licenced to survey for otter throughout Scotland. We have undertaken otter surveys are part of harbour and bridge restoration works, for clients such as Aberdeen Harbour Board and Aberdeenshire Council.

Watervole

we have surveyed for watervole presence as part of river restoration and planning and development projects. Clients have included the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Aberdeenshire Council.

Red squirrel

forestry sites which are being cleared or thinned can be checked for the presence of red squirrel dreys. Trees which contain dreys can be marked and retained to avoid reducing habitat. We have undertaken drey identification and marking for Aberdeen City Council as part of their forestry management work.

Phase 1 habitat surveys

Phase 1 habitat surveys use the Joint Nature Conservation Committee method for identifying and mapping habitats. These surveys are often required as part of a planning application and can form part of a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal, or can be undertaken separately. We have undertaken Phase 1 habitat surveys for a wide range of developments, including wind turbines, building and transport projects.

You can see some example Phase 1 habitat survey maps here:

National Vegetation Classification surveys

A National Vegetation Classification (NVC) survey provides more information on the types of vegetation that are present on a site. It can help identify if any of the vegetation communities present are dependent on groundwater or if they are particularly rare or unusual. NVC surveys are sometimes requested by the planning authorities to help them gather more information on a site, or they can be used to assist with the post development landscaping process. We have completed NVC surveys for both private landowners and public sector clients.

You can see some example NVC maps here: