If you are planning a home build or renovation project in an area that is known to be ecologically sensitive, you may be required to obtain an ecology report as part of your planning application.
Don’t panic! This is not a showstopper, this is part of the process that you will need to go through so the Local Authority know that you are looking after ecology on site.
An ecology report will assess the potential impact of your project on local wildlife and habitats and may be required in order to obtain planning permission. Here is an overview of what to expect if you need an ecology report for your home build:
1. Determine if you need an ecology report: The first step is to determine if an ecology report is required for your project. This will depend on a number of factors, including the location and nature of the proposed development, and local planning regulations. Your architect will be able to ascertain whether an ecology report is required. It is important to make these decisions in a timely manner – check out our blog ‘Why do I need a bat Survey’
2. Engage an ecologist: If an ecology report is required, you will need to engage the services of a qualified and experienced ecologist. They will assess the potential impact of your project on local wildlife and habitats and will provide recommendations on how to mitigate any negative impacts. Your architect can obtain quotations on your behalf and liaise directly with them, understanding the mitigation required for your design.
3. Site visit and assessment: The ecologist will visit the site of your proposed development to assess the existing ecology and habitats. They will look for evidence of protected species such as bats, badgers, or great crested newts, and will assess the potential impact of your development on these species.
4. Mitigation measures: Based on their assessment, the ecologist will recommend measures to mitigate any potential negative impacts on local wildlife and habitats. This may include measures such as installing bat boxes, creating new habitats, or implementing construction methods that minimize disturbance to existing habitats.
5. Report submission: The ecologist will prepare a report detailing their findings and recommendations. This report will be submitted as part of your planning application by your architect and will be used by the local planning authority to assess the potential impact of your project on local wildlife and habitats.
6. Review and feedback: The local planning authority will review the ecology report and may provide feedback or request additional information. It is important to respond promptly and professionally to any feedback you receive and to work with the local planning authority to ensure that your project meets all of the necessary requirements. Your architect can liaise directly with the local authority to ensure that all questions are answered.
7. Obtain planning permission: Once your planning application has been approved, and any necessary conditions have been met, you can begin construction on your project. It is important to ensure that you comply with all of the conditions set out in your planning permission and that you continue to work with the ecologist and the local planning authority to ensure that your project is completed in a way that minimizes any negative impact on local wildlife and habitats.
For instance, this might mean that you can only start your build at a certain type of the year to avoid hibernation, or that an ecologist must be present on-site for a particular piece of the construction work.
In summary, obtaining an ecology report for your home build or renovation project can be a complex and time-consuming process. It is important to work with a qualified and experienced ecologist and to be responsive to any feedback or concerns raised by the local planning authority. With careful planning and preparation, however, you can successfully navigate the process and ensure that your project meets all of the necessary ecological requirements.
If that wasn’t enough ecology info for you, here is a bit more about Bats from Natural England https://www.gov.uk/guidance/bats-protection-surveys-and-licences