Ecology – development advice

Grass in focus in foreground, grassland out of focus in background

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 enquiries@oakleyecology.co.uk

  • 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.