In the UK, certain wildlife is protected by legislation which makes it illegal to kill, injure, capture or disturb the species in question. Conducting a survey of the habitat is essential to gain planning consent, and finding potential for these species on site during a project can mean work has to stop at once. Breaking the law could result in a fine of £5000, up to six months in prison and serious reputational damage. It’s vital to plan accordingly; there are only certain times of the year when surveys can be carried out, and identifying and investigating the wildlife as early as possible within the survey window can avoid lengthy delays.
The protected wildlife includes amphibians, reptiles, badgers, bats, birds, dormice, otters and water voles. The likelihood of one of the protected species affecting your project depends very much on the site in question and its habitat characteristics.
Timing is critical; surveys can only gather sufficient evidence when the species are active and missing the survey window can result in delays of over nine months. Download our free Ecology Survey Calendar.