We frequently get asked about badger surveys, generally due to badgers being present on development land or on private landowners properties. Occasionally however clients will ask us to conduct a check for badger activity prior to development, to ensure they aren’t about to cause an offence. We thought we would share a few tips about what to do if badgers have taken up residence and what issues can arise through development.
If you require ecological reporting for planning submission our preliminary ecological appraisals will include a survey for the presence and use of badgers on your land. As part of this reporting we will provide appropriate mitigation to avoid harm to badgers either as ongoing land management or through the development of land.
However, where there may be more direct impacts on badger setts, we also carry out badger monitoring surveys, these help us to determine whether a potential sett entrance is in use or not and, if required, we can also offer larger scale bait marking studies to determine the use and status of particular setts within landscapes.
Oakley Ecology has vast experience in the management, conservation and protection of badgers including development of method statements and licences for disturbance work.
The services we can offer in relation to badgers include:
- Habitat suitability survey (normally as part of a baseline ecology survey)
- Bait marking surveys and activity levels at badger setts
- Mitigation and habitat management advice
- Artificial sett design and creation
- Method statement production
- Mitigation licence applications
At Oakley Ecology we deal with a vast array of ecology queries from land and property developers. The purpose of this post is to highlight some frequently asked questions and provide some quick responses that we feel will give you the best advice available.
- The local authority have asked me to provide an ecology report. What is this and when can it be completed?
Ecology reporting can take many forms and it is likely that the Local Planning Authority (LPA) have asked that you provide a baseline ecology report that supports your application, that gives confidence that impacts to nature conservation have been considered and that appropriate actions have been put in place to reduce impacts. They may have also requested you show that the development seeks to provide a net increase in baseline ecological conditions.
Baseline ecology surveys and reports can be completed at any time of the year and will be either a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA), Extended phase 1 habitat survey or ecological impact assessment (EcIA). The format of the report will be governed by the size of the development and locality to sensitive habitat features.
- How much do baseline surveys cost?
Baseline surveys such as those mentioned above are costed according to the time taken to complete a site survey, desk study and written technical report. On average a site survey will take anywhere from 2-5hrs depending on distance and size of the site and written aspects anywhere from 10 to 40 hours depending on the level of impact anticipated by the development. At Oakley Ecology we offer a standard hourly rate of £35.00 for all our consultants which makes us one of the most competitive ecology consultants in the South East. For small developments costs are generally between £400-650 and larger developments £700-1500. We can also agree fixed fees for clients wanting to work to specific budgets and these are best discussed through email@example.com
- How long will ecology surveys and reporting take?
Once all fees are agreed, to avoid any hidden costs, we usually arrange to visit your site within a week of communication. Once the site survey has been completed we aim to deliver reports within 10 working days however smaller reports often take as little as 5 working days.
- What are the hidden costs?
One thing to remember when needing ecology support for your development is the potential for further survey work. If through baseline ecology reporting sensitive habitats for protected or notable species are discovered further support will be required in order to satisfy LPA concerns. Further work could be for instance surveys for bats, amphibians, birds, reptiles or even hedgehogs. What we aim to offer at Oakley Ecology is clear fees and understanding to our clients so you are not surprised by the requirement for more work. If you like one of our ecologists will walk you through site surveys and show you exactly what is required and when. If you have any concerns please get in touch, we aim to give free help and support to guide your decision making, and if that results in the protection of ecology and the loss of work for us, we are more than happy.
It can be confusing and at times frustrating to be a developer, especially when it comes to ecology. Missing survey windows for species is a good example of these frustrations, but take it from us, you are not alone. Luckily Oakley Ecology are here to help and we can guide you through any survey requirements, there is always work that can be done to move your projects forward despite missing a survey window.
Surveys for reptiles are an example, frequently missed by landowners. Typically these surveys are completed between March and October, which is, by ecology survey standards, a long survey window however is dependent on weather conditions that can provide limitations.
The reason for missing reptile or other wildlife surveys, within a calendar year, often comes down to a number of factors. The lack of understanding of the requirements of surveys, poor communication between ecologists and developers or commonly surveys are missed due to the time of year initial baseline surveys are conducted. Any baseline surveys conducted after August have a greater potential of missing the reptile survey window.
So what can be done to ensure you don’t miss a survey window?
Your first port of call should be to get in touch with Oakley Ecology at the start of your project or when first understanding that ecology support will be required. We will be able to talk you through the process of providing you with ecology support and explain what may or may not be required in order to satisfy your planning or habitat improvement needs. You can also familiarise yourself with our survey calendar to see when the key survey windows are.
Our baseline surveys, whether it be a walkover survey, Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) or an Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA) will provide you with the information you require to determine the need for additional surveys. It is best to get these survey done between October and March in order for us to plan additional survey work, when the next survey windows for species open. We can however complete baseline surveys throughout the year but whenever you choose to get in touch we will always provide free advice to help you plan your project schedules.