Wildlife and Geology Planning Guidance

Information for Applicants

Why do we need to consider wildlife and geology?

Local Planning Authorities are required to protect and enhance wildlife habitats, species and geological sites through the planning process.  Some habitats and species are protected through European or national legislation, others are protected through national and local policy.  In Devon examples of widespread protected species include bats, dormice, nesting birds and reptiles.

Do I need to provide a Wildlife Report with my planning application and if so what should it include?

Steps:

  1. Complete the Wildlife and Geology Trigger Table to identify if the proposed development may impact on protected habitats or species.  This table must be included with your planning application.
  2. If there is a tick in the ‘yes’ column of Part A, a Wildlife Report will need to be submitted with your application.  The Wildlife Report must be produced by a qualified and suitably experienced ecological consultant image - PDF icon (377KB - pdf help).

    A generic brief for the Wildlife Report can be found here image - PDF icon (41KB - pdf help).  
  3. Survey(s) - details and results of the surveys must be included with your planning application.
    1. The ecological consultant will initially carry out a site walkover survey, which can be carried out at any time of year.
    2. If there are no / minimal impacts the Wildlife Report will still need to be submitted but can be very short.
    3. If impacts are identified, the ecologist may have to carry out further survey work, e.g. to clarify the impacts on dormice or bats.  These detailed surveys will have to be carried out at certain times of year, which will vary from species to species, and it is important that the surveys are timetabled into your project plan in order to avoid wasting both time and money.  Click here to view a wildlife survey calendar.
    4. If the proposed development is going to impact on a European Protected Species (such as bats, dormice, otters, great crested newts) you may need a licence from Natural England. Your ecological consultant will provide advice on this.
  4. The final Wildlife Report must include:
    1. A location map and clearly annotated map(s) for the whole site that illustrate key wildlife/ecological features; impacts; and required avoidance, mitigation, compensation and enhancement measures.
    2. Wildlife Checklist which provides a summary of results.
    3. Details of surveys carried out.
    4. How the development impacts on wildlife.
    5. A Conservation Action Statement which should bring together all the required details of avoidance, mitigation, compensation and enhancement measures.  Details must be explicit and sufficiently detailed - not just a list of recommendations!  

      Planning permission is likely to be conditional on these actions being carried out.  It is therefore essential that you are happy with these.
      The LPA may also require, as part of monitoring, a statement from your ecological consultant confirming that the actions have been undertaken.
    6. Details of any Natural England licences required (for bats, dormice, great crested newts, otters – all European Protected Species)

   

Do I need to include a Geology Report with my planning application?

Steps:

  1. Complete the Wildlife and Geology Trigger Table
  2. If there is a tick in the ‘yes’ column of Part B, a Geology Report must be included with your application.  The Geology Report must set out how impacts will be avoided, minimised or compensated and must be produced by a qualified and suitably experienced geologist image - PDF icon (377KB - pdf help).  Contact with LPA to discuss alternative consultants.

Remember that you may need other licences or consents:

For example:

Marine: If your development is below Mean High Water you need to contact the Marine Management Organisation to discuss the requirement for marine licences.     

Tel: 0300 123 1032  
Email: info@marinemanagement.org.uk
Website: Marine Management Organisation

Environment Agency: For more information on the need for flood defence consent (for works within watercourses), flood risk assessments and issues such as surface water drainage, foul drainage, waste and land contamination, contact the Environment Agency

Tel:  on 03708 506 506 (Mon-Fri, 8am - 6pm)
Website:  Visit the Environment Agency Planning Pages

   

Further detailed information on wildlife legislation: