Ecology consultancy and surveys for planning and compliance

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Wales' largest solar farm gets go-ahead with help from Adonis Ecology
The 50MW scheme on Anglesey will be developed by Countryside Renewables (North Anglesey) Ltd following the decision by the Isle of Anglesey County Council to grant planning permission for the proposal.

In addition to being expected to provide electricity sufficient to power 15,500 homes annually, the scheme will result in significant biodiversity benefits, including the creation and enhancement of habitats that are a priority for conservation.

John Dunlop, Managing Partner, Countryside Renewables Capital LLP, said: “Adonis Ecology provided an efficient service that encompassed the positive, not just the negative, impacts of our proposed solar site on biodiversity, helping us to achieve planning permission for the largest solar farm in Wales. In addition, through their involvement, they spotted when an ecology consultee was suggesting an expensive and unnecessary precaution of newt fencing. They provided a professional, reasoned response to the consultee, resulting in the removal of the requirement and potentially saving us an estimated £70,000 in costs at construction.”

For more information and advice on how your site could retain and add value with biodiversity, give us a ring or fill in the contact form.

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Would you Prefer Your Ecological Consultant to See Less?
There are many developers who must wish that their ecological consultants were not so capable at spotting the bat signs, the newt potential, the lizards etc. on their site, with the resultant costs of further surveys and mitigation. So, from a developer’s point of view, is the ideal ecological consultant good at writing reports but not too sharp-sighted?

Actually, in our experience, and from seeing the reports of other consultants, some of whom are indeed not too sharp-sighted, we have found that more thorough surveys are actually likely to significantly save developers money.

How do you figure that, you wonder? Well, we find that most ecologists are good enough at spotting broad habitats that could have potential for ecological issues – for example, that rough grassland could have potential for reptiles, or buildings potential for bats. And in many cases, the initial assessment does not go much further than that, with subsequent recommendations for full surveys at sometimes considerable cost to the client.

However, not all rough grassland is suitable for reptiles, and not every building with crevices is suitable for bats. That is why we do much more detailed assessments of habitats on our Phase 1 Habitat Surveys which, together with our unique evaluation method using over 300 formulas and calculations, result in a more precise determination of the suitability of the habitats for ecological issues.

More precise evaluation = fewer surveys of unsuitable sites = less cost and less delay.

We therefore recommend you use an ecological consultant who is sharp-eyed, thorough and sufficiently well-informed to evaluate your site properly.
For more information and advice, give us a ring or fill in the contact form.

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Why Ecology and Protected Species Surveys are NOT Conditioned
One of the most common questions we are asked is some form of: “Would the planners be prepared to make further protected species surveys a condition of planning?” To which the answer is “Highly unlikely!”

This is because central government guidance (Circular 06/05: biodiversity and geological conservation) states: “It is essential that the presence or otherwise of protected species, and the extent that they may be affected by the proposed development, is established before the planning permission is granted, otherwise all relevant material considerations may not have been addressed in making the decision.”

In case of any doubt the guidance goes on: “The need to ensure ecological surveys are carried out should therefore only be left to coverage under planning conditions in exceptional circumstances”.

And I am afraid wanting to submit your planning application sooner, rather than later, is not considered an exceptional circumstance!

The reason the guidance takes this seemingly inconvenient approach is because otherwise the situation can arise (and has arisen in the past) when conditioned surveys have discovered an ecological issue that has necessitated a material change to the approved design to ensure compliance with wildlife legislation, in turn requiring a new planning application.

Given that protected species can only be surveyed in specific seasons, this requirement for all survey results before a planning application can be decided can result in serious delays.

We therefore recommend:
  • Undertaking the initial ecology assessment at the earliest opportunity so that, if further protected species surveys are required, they can be undertaken as soon as possible in the correct season.
  • Using our advanced evaluation methods for more precise initial assessments, reducing your risk of requiring protected species surveys.
  • Having us help you design around potential impacts, further reducing your risk of requiring further surveys and mitigation.

For more information and advice specific to your site, give us a ring or fill in the contact form.

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Our New Website!
We are very excited to announce the launch of our brand new website.  We've spent time putting together the information on the website to help better inform our customers about us and what we provide. We hope you find it useful and informative.  Have a look through the website and feel free to let us know your thoughts, we hope you like it as much as we do.  If you have any questions about us or what we provide, then please do get in touch.

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