Hesketh Ecology

Protected/Priority Species Surveys

Hesketh Ecology specialise in surveying for legally protected species. We employ fully licenced ecologists for all the species/species groups listed below and work exclusively to the most up-to-date best practice guidelines for each species/species group:

  • Bats: All species of bat (and any place used for rest or shelter, i.e. a roost) in the UK are protected by European and domestic legislation. Bat surveys are commonly required for any proposed development which may affect built structures (residential dwellings, barns, ruins, bridges), subterranean sites (mine shafts, adits, culverts) or trees (mature woodland, parkland trees, standard trees). Hesketh Ecology employs ecologists who are licenced to disturb, catch and posses bats. We regularly complete bat site inspections, activity surveys and emergence/dawn re-entry surveys and can present all findings in survey reports suitable to accompany planning applications.
  • Great Crested Newts: Great crested newts (GCN) are protected by European and domestic legislation. GCN surveys are commonly requested for any development which may affect ponds, ditches or other bodies of open standing water or are in close proximity to such features. Hesketh Ecology employs ecologists who are licenced to disturb, catch and posses GCN. We regularly complete GCN surveys for domestic extensions, residential developments and utilities pipeline routes.
  • Natterjack Toads: Natterjack toads (NJT) are protected by European and domestic legislation. NJT surveys are commonly requested for any development which may affect NJT breeding ponds or terrestrial habitat or are in close proximity to such features. Hesketh Ecology employs ecologists who are licenced to disturb, catch and posses NJT. Hesketh Ecology have completed NJT surveys for domestic extensions, residential developments, utilities pipeline routes, flood defence works and coastal protection schemes.
  • Otters: Otters are protected by European and domestic legislation. Otter surveys are commonly required for any proposed development which may affect rivers, streams, ponds or other bodies of moving or standing water. Otters also use suitable habitat some distance from watercourses and therefore otter surveys are sometimes required on land away from rivers. We regularly complete otter surveys for a wide range of clients and can present all findings in survey reports suitable to accompany planning applications.
  • Badgers: Badgers are protected by domestic legislation which makes it an offence to harm a badger or disturb, destroy or block access to a badger sett. This has potential implications for developers but also for land managers. We are able to complete full badger surveys to identify presence/likely absence, status of setts, extent of range and population size class. Hesketh Ecology have completed badger surveys for residential developments, road remediation schemes and forestry operations.
  • Reptiles: All species of reptile in the UK are protected by domestic legislation (at least) which makes it an offence to kill or injure reptiles. The law puts the obligation on the developer to ascertain the presence/absence of reptile species from a site prior to works commencing. If reptiles are discovered it is then the responsibility of the developer to ensure a methodology is in place to remove the risk of committing an offence. Hesketh Ecology have an extensive track record of conducting robust reptile surveys and delivering reptile mitigation schemes ranging from ecological watching briefs and avoidance measures to full translocation programmes. Hesketh Ecology are probably the most experienced reptile surveyors in Cumbria and conduct a very high proportion of the reptile surveys conducted in Cumbria.

The species/species groups listed above are just a small selection of the most commonly requested protected species surveys we conduct. Hesketh Ecology is also able to undertake Breeding Bird Surveys, Barn Owl Surveys, Biodiversity Action Plan Mammal Surveys (i.e. Hedgehog, Red Squirrel, Polecat etc.), Small Blue Butterfly Surveys and Deer Surveys.

Protected Species Surveys can be tailored to the needs of a client and can involve initial desk based investigations only right through to population size class assessments and mitigation planning and implementation. We have a proven track record of successfully obtaining European Protected Species Mitigation (EPSM) licences to allow works affecting European protected species to proceed legally with the minimum possible impact to the species concerned.

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