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?


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, commission a Wildlife Report from qualified and suitably experienced ecological consultant image - PDF icon (380KB - pdf help).
The length of the report should be proportionate to the impacts / size of the project. The report may vary from a short statement (if there are no or minimal impacts) to a comprehensive report with detailed surveys.
We have produced a generic brief for the Wildlife Report. Ensure that the Wildlife Report is commissioned at the start of your project and any project changes are discussed with the consultant. Any impacts on wildlife may influence your project proposals / design.

3. Submit the final Wildlife Report with your planning application.

If detailed protected species surveys are required these MUST be included with your planning application. The application cannot be validated without them.

All details of avoidance, mitigation, compensation and enhancement actions MUST also be included with your application.  It is very likely that any planning permission will be conditional on these being implemented and so you need to agree these with your consultant before submitting the application.

Please ensure that the Wildlife Report clearly links and is consistent with other related information e.g. landscape / arboricultural reports.

Wildlife Reports

  • The ecological consultant will initially carry out a site walkover survey, which can be carried out at any time of year
  • If there are no / minimal impacts the Wildlife Report will still need to be submitted but can be a short written sdtatement
  • 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. View a wildlife survey calendar
  • 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 as it is separate to the planning process.

For more information on Wildlife Reports see our information for consultants image - PDF icon (40KB - pdf help).


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


  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 (380KB - pdf help).


Remember that you may need other licences or consents

For example:

Natural England issues derogation licences for impacts on European Protected Species (such as bats, dormice, great crested newts and otters). Your ecological consultant will advise further. Information can be found on the Natural England website.

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

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


Further detailed information on wildlife legislation