During these unprecedented times we want to take this opportunity to thank our staff and customers for their support and assure you that we are following all guidelines as issued by our Government to ensure we protect against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
RammSanderson is in a fortunate position in that we will be able to maintain 100% service provision by working remotely. We are also fortunate that, at present a lot of our work is permitted, as it involves remote field surveys. We are all working tirelessly across the nation and welcome chats via the phone (our landlines are diverted to our mobiles) or via Teams to beat the isolation blues.
Please also can we respectfully remind you not to miss the deadlines during which Spring Surveys are permissible.
The newt season is now upon us and as low impact class licence holders we’re already out undertaking our assessments, so please give us a call if you have any survey requirements.
SPRING ECOLOGY SURVEYS
Spring is typically considered the start of the ecology calendar. It is the time when animals start to come out of hibernation and trees begin to blossom. It’s also a time when many construction projects will see a burst of activity and hedgerow and scrub clearance activities need pre-work checks for nesting birds.
Each year we re-publish our ecology survey calendar in a downloadable format (or free as a mouse mat: get in touch if you would like one!) to give landowners and developers a timely reminder of the optimum times to carry out habitat and wildlife surveys.
Our calendar provides an easy month by month reference guide to the seasonal windows we typically have to carry out each type of survey.
In this blog, we’ve highlighted some of the main surveys that can be carried out in Spring which will also help you with planning schedules as we can highlight when a number of visits may be required throughout the survey period and how surveys might be impacted by weather and geography.
Phase one Habitat surveys
A phase one habitat survey is generally the first survey undertaken at a site earmarked for development. By determining what habitats are present we are able to report what, if any, protected species might be supported there. This analysis can then assess the need for any further targeted surveys.
If you are planning a development, it is always best to contact us as early as possible to ensure all the surveys that you might need, have been factored into your proposals. This pre-planning advice helps to ensure that the timing of ecology surveys do not cause delays to your project.
All species of British bat are fully protected under UK legislation, this protects the bats and their places of rest. Our licensed ecologists undertake initial daytime assessments of buildings and trees to assess their potential to support roosting bats, then follow this up with pragmatic yet robust advice in order to fully investigate the situation.
Although Preliminary Roost Assessments can be conducted all year round, including winter, we can begin transects and static monitoring of larger sites in April through to November.
Great Crested Newts
This species is internationally in decline, although it is perceived that within England to be a readily abundant species, it is a species which is easily and catastrophically impacted by works that effect ponds and terrestrial habitats. Consideration of their presence within 500m of any permanent loss of habitat (250m for temporary work) must be considered on all developments.
We carry out GCN presence and absence surveys from March through to June and eDNA surveys from April through to June.
We can provide reptile surveys for grass snake, slow worm, common lizard and adders and this can begin in April and May as these species begin to get more active as temperatures begin to rise.
The Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 means that all wild birds, nests and young hatchlings in England and Wales are protected by law. Breeding bird surveys usually happen between March and the end of June during which we will visit your site on at least four different occasions to spot and record bird species. Our report will detail how many of each species is present on site with expert recommendations on how we can help you mitigate the impact of breeding birds on your project.
In England and Wales, Badgers and their setts are protected under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. A badger survey is the initial step to identify a sett and assess the importance of a site for badgers. This survey can be done at any time of year, but March and April are the last optimum months to carry out bait marketing surveys to establish the size and boundaries of badger territories.
Otter & Water Vole
The water vole is fully protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and is a priority conservation species. Whilst field signs and habitat assessments surveys can be done throughout the year, the most favourable time starts April to October in drier weather conditions, as this is breeding season when they are at their most active.
Dormice are a European Protected Species are protected under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This protection means that it is an offence to deliberately capture, injure, kill, or disturb dormice. You also can’t intentionally or recklessly obstruct access to any structure/place used for shelter or protection or damage or destroy their habitat such as a breeding site or resting place.
Dormice usually hibernate between October and March depending on weather, and therefore during April we commence our surveys to establish site suitability and where necessary conduct summer long nest tube surveys.
If you are planning to start work on a development and would like to understand your legal obligations in respect of wildlife and habitat legislation to avoid construction and planning delays, please get in touch.