We hold, or are accredited to work under, the relevant National Resources Wales and Natural England (NE) licences to undertake bat surveys, great crested newt surveys, white-clawed crayfish surveys, barn owl surveys, schedule 8 taxa surveys and dormouse surveys.
We also have the expertise to carry out otter surveys, water vole surveys, reptile surveys and surveys for a number of other key protected species including badger, breeding birds and Schedule 8 plant species.
If there is some service that you require which is not listed then we can often bring in colleagues who have a more specialised expertise in that particular area (e.g. lichen surveys).
Our protected species surveys provide the level of information necessary to meet ecological planning and other legislative requirements. In addition we carry out surveys to better inform habitat management at wildlife sites supporting protected and priority flora and fauna species.
We hold mitigation licences for great crested newt, bats and dormouse. A mitigation licence is often required where European Protected Species are found to be present on a site (e.g. bats and otter) or are thought reasonably likely to be present (e.g. dormouse and great crested newt).
Typically a bat survey consists of a thorough preliminary roost assessment which aims to determine the presence or likely absence of bats roosting within a tree, building or other structure. This can generally be undertaken at any time of the year.
Where there is evidence to indicate the presence of bats or where an element of doubt remains, further dusk emergence and/or dawn re-entry surveys may be required in order to support a planning (or similar) application.
If the design and layout of the development or the timing of certain activities can be altered to avoid impacts on roosting bats then it is often possible to proceed without further bat activity surveys. However, where required, dusk emergence and/or dawn re-entry surveys, consisting of one or more surveyors observing the tree, building or structure for a period of time around dusk or dawn, will need to be carried out between the months of May and September.
Two or more visits are generally required, depending on the nature and complexity of the site. These surveys aim to record the number of roosting bats, the species of bat and the roost locations and their exit/entry points. These are commonly referred to as roost characterisation surveys.
Where impacts on bats cannot be avoided it is usually necessary to apply for a licence from the relevant issuing authority to legally damage or destroy the roost. A licence can only be issued after the relevant planning (or similar) consent has been obtained.
We also carry out bat activity surveys for larger residential and industrial developments as well as wind-farm and single wind-turbine installations. These surveys typically involve the deployment of bat recording equipment for a period of several nights at the turbine location (at height using a met mast) and any corresponding area of good habitat nearby.
In addition, dawn and dusk activity surveys are required and these involve a combination of vantage point (at the turbine location) and walked transect surveys.
Great Crested Newt surveys
Typically a great crested newt survey consists of a Preliminary Habitat Suitability Assessment (HSI) of the site and any ponds within suitable proximity to it. This can generally be undertaken at any time of the year.
If the development site is reasonably likely to result in the deterioration, damage or destruction of suitable breeding or terrestrial habitat or if there is a reasonable likelihood that the development would result in the disturbance, capture, injuring or killing of individual great crested newts then further surveys may be required.
Typically no further surveys would be necessary for smaller developments that impact on terrestrial habitats of low value. Instead a few Reasonable Avoidance Measures (RAMs) would typically be recommended on the assumption that newts are likely to be present in the pond.
Where there is insufficient information after the initial assessment, the relevant ponds would need to be trapped and torched between March and early June. This would require 4- 6 evening visits, with the corresponding number of morning visits to empty traps and count the animals to establish the relative population size.
Where impacts on great crested newts cannot be avoided it is usually necessary to apply for a licence from the relevant issuing authority to legally capture and relocate animals from the site and subsequently damage or destroy their resting and/or breeding sites. A licence can only be issued after the relevant planning (or similar) consent has been obtained. A similar protocol is followed for all European Protected Species.
Dormouse and reptile surveys
Where there is insufficient information after the initial visit, nest tubes (dormouse) or artificial refugia (reptiles) will need to be set out across the site and these will be visited several times over the spring (reptiles and dormouse), summer (dormouse) and/or autumn (reptiles and dormouse).