Protected Species Surveys

Do I Require Protected Species Surveys?

If you have suitable habitat on your site to support protected species and it is possible (or you are unsure) whether they may be affected by your proposed development, then we recommend you have a qualified ecologist investigate further.

Planning Authorities will require you to demonstrate that you have identified potential risk from your proposals to protected wildlife and that you have complied with all relevant legislation and policy to mitigate the risks.

Consideration, and compliant survey evidence, of protected species is required in advance of a planning application.

What is Involved?

An Ecological Appraisal will initially identify evidence of suitable habitat and protected species affecting your application.

More detailed surveys may be required to confirm the likely presence or absence, population sizes, and associated important habitat features for protected species. The purpose of these surveys is namely to inform appropriate mitigation to offset the impacts of the development.

Protected species are listed under European and UK law: the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017, the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), and the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.

UK wildlife species that are protected include:

  • Bats
  • Badgers
  • Nesting birds
  • Great crested newts
  • Reptiles – slow worms, adders, grass snakes, and lizards
  • Dormice
  • Otters
  • Water voles
  • White-clawed crayfish.

Protected species surveys require a licensed ecologist (under the relevant authority’s licensing protocol) and often need repeat visits to establish how important your site is for foraging, roosting, nesting, reproduction, hibernating or traversing between habitats.

Your Engain ecologist will provide detailed and accurate species reports, which may advise the requirement for a wildlife licence from the relevant authority (such as Natural England, NatureScot, Environment and Heritage Service Northern Ireland, and Natural Resources Wales).

When Should Surveys be Conducted?

Many wildlife species have seasonal behaviours for feeding and reproduction, and so time constrained surveys are required to capture their seasonal activity (usually between March and September).

Prevent delays to your application by planning for surveys at the start of your application and design programme and, where you can, make allowance for a full survey season.

We can advise you on the optimal survey periods and what to do if you find that you have missed an opportunity, call us now on 01225 459564 or email

Get in touch

To discuss your project requirements, please contact our experienced team