Many species, including bats, great crested newts, nesting birds, water voles, barn owls and badgers, are protected by UK and / or European law. The presence of such species can be a material consideration when Planning Authorities are determining applications for developments or capital works. Proper concern for these species and effective mitigation can help proposals increase their chance of securing consent.

A protected species survey is often requested by planning prior to determining a planning application. For larger sites, a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) would normally be more suitable.


Where the application relates to the redevelopment of buildings, such as a barn conversion or works to convert a loft space, the survey would include surveying specifically for bats, barn owls and other nesting birds. For sites where impacts will extend beyond just works to buildings, the survey would include assessing the habitats on site for the potential to support great crested newts, badgers, water voles, white-clawed crayfish and reptiles.

Where appropriate, we may also contact the local records centre to obtain species records for a site and the close vicinity.

Following the Survey

A report will be produced detailing the survey methodology and results and providing an evaluation of the species recorded and recommending general mitigation measures, further surveys and/or consultation, as appropriate. This will be provided as soon as possible following the survey, however; should you have a specific date for submission of a planning application we will do our utmost to accommodate this.

When protected species are found, EMEC Ecology can provide advice on the next step. In many cases this will be required prior to planning permission being decided. Our capabilities include:

  • Interpreting species protection legislation and advising on legal compliance.
  • Licence applications (including European Protected Species (EPS) licences and badger exclusion / disturbance licences).
  • Species protection and mitigation (including site design management, construction programming and translocation).
  • Species and site monitoring.