Devon Wildlife Consultants, Ecological Survey

By: Devon Wildlife Consultants  05/12/2011
Keywords: city council, Research Projects, Reptiles

Ecological Survey

Devon Wildlife Consultants are able to undertake a range of ecological surveys for a variety of purposes. Surveys can be carried out to recommended protocols or custom designed for particular species or habitats where standard methods are inappropriate. All surveys are undertaken by suitably experienced, professional (and where appropriate licensed) surveyors.

The most basic form of ecological survey is the Phase 1 Habitat Survey which is designed to map vegetative habitats within a site. The most common ecological survey undertaken in preliminary site investigations in an Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey. This builds on the habitat classifications by including species lists additionally providing details on protected species such as badgers, bats or reptiles which may be utilising the site. From this further detailed protected species surveys can be undertaken. Such surveys provide species information for mitigation during works which may be carried out at the site. This information can then be included in an Environmental Statement, which are increasingly a requirement of larger developments.

Alternatively, the information gained from an Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey can be used to produce a management plan which provides guidance on measures that can be implemented in order to enhance the wildlife value of the site.

Our services include:

  • Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey for environmental assessment
  • Code of Sustainable Homes Assessments
  • BREEAM Assessements
  • Desk studies and scoping exercises
  • Protected species services undertaken by fully licensed surveyors
  • Species translocations including reptiles and great crested newts
  • National Vegetation Classification (NVC) Survey
  • Phase II Botanical Surveys
  • Hedgerows Regulations (1997) Assessment
  • Surveys of specialists groups including bryophytes, lichens and invertebrates
  • Breeding, passage and wintering bird surveys
  • Ecological research projects

Examples of surveys DWC have undertaken include:

Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey, Management Plan and Grazing Appraisal: Cann Estate, Plymouth - Plymouth City Council

This 36 hectare estate was surveyed with the view to providing a management plan which will maintain and enhance the wildlife potential of the site. The grazing appraisal provides information including details of grazier sources, recommended stock and infrastructure requirements which will enable Plymouth City Council to come to an informed decision on the grazing regime within the site.

Protected Species Surveys: Totnes Southern Area, South Hams District Council

An Extended 1 Habitat Survey undertaken at this site by DWC identified the requirement for further survey prior to development of the site. Reptile and bat surveys were undertaken to determine the presence/absence of these species within the site. A small number of common pipistrelle bats were identified utilising the site as a foraging ground. A large population of slowworms was identified within the site boundary. Translocation of these reptiles is programmed to commence in September 2005.

Biotope Mapping: Wembury Point Intertidal Zone, The National Trust

Wembury Point (including the Mewstone) was surveyed in order to inform on future management of the site. All biotopes within the intertidal zones were mapped including a list of all key and priority species present. A comparison between habitats/species recorded from previous surveys and a condition assessment for each habitat present were also undertaken.

Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey – Site at Copplestone

DWC have recently undertaken an Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey at the site of a proposed car park and a football pitch development within a small area on the outskirts of Copplestone on behalf of Mid Devon District Council. The survey identified the potential presence of reptiles and dormice on the site, and Mid Devon DC commissioned these further protected species surveys. A small population of common lizards was identified at the site, and consequently appropriate mitigation has been designed in order to safeguard this species during development and ensuring compliance with the relevant legislation. No evidence of dormouse activity was identified, however as dormice are a European protected species, a precautionary approach to development activities is being adopted. The hedgerow removal works will be undertaken outside of the dormouse hibernation season (October – March) and will be subject to search and supervision by a suitably qualified ecologist. This will ensure that should dormice have colonised the hedgerow, they will be safeguarded during the development.

Ecological Impact Assessment - Hydro-electric power Scheme

On behalf of Western Renewable Energy (WRE Ltd), DWC have recently completed an Ecological Impact Assessment for a site near Sidmouth which will be subject to installation of a new small scale hydro-electric turbine. The scheme is on the site of an existing mill and leat. The mill has fallen into disuse and the leat has silted up with a minimal slow flow. The scheme plans to re-instate the water flow through the leat which leads down to an outflow point where the Archimedean screw turbine will be installed. DWC undertook an Extended Phase 1 Habitat and Otter Survey of the site in order to identify any protected species/habitat issues, and quantify the impacts that the development would cause. We are pleased to report that the scheme has very little in the way of negative impacts and with minimal mitigation, those which have been identified can be reduced to ensure that the installation of the turbine has a negligible impact on the areas ecology. Once installed, the turbine will provide enough power for the equivalent of 30 average homes per year.

Keywords: Assessment Surveys, Botanical Surveys, city council, Code of Sustainable Homes, Desk Studies, Ecological Research, Ecological Survey, ecological surveys, environmental assessment, Great Crested Newts, Habitat Survey, Licensed Surveyors, Protected Species Surveys, Reptiles, Research Projects, Site Investigations, sustainable homes, Wildlife Consultants,

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Slowworms were identified during the survey, which led to the development of a translocation programme that was subsequently approved by English Nature. In April 2007 DWC began to visit the site daily to capture the reptiles which were located beneath/upon any artificial or natural refugia. During an Extended Phase 1 Habitat survey which DWC carried out at the sites, the potential presence of reptiles was identified.


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