Planning and wildlife

If the development has the possibility of affecting the habitat of bats or great crested newts or other species then you may be required to submit an assessment with your planning application.

Biodiversity means the rich variety of life - the superb range of plants and animals and the habitats in which they and we live.
 

What has biodiversity got to do with development?

Any building project, including alterations to existing buildings can affect wildlife, and in particular protected species such as bats and newts.

You may need to supply surveys with your planning application.
 

Supporting wildlife

Any development project, no matter how small or large, can make provision for some new features for wildlife.

Smaller developments

For example, if you are extending an existing house, include swift, swallow and house martin boxes on the house, or nestboxes on trees or outbuildings in the garden.

You can also consider:

  • providing a pond in the garden
  • planting wildflowers
  • leaving a wild area

Larger developments

On larger development projects you should aim to retain existing wildlife features like hedges, ponds or meadow grassland, and add to what is already there to link those features together.
 

Protected species survey

You may need to carry out a protected species survey before you apply for planning permission.

When you need a survey

We've put together some criteria and indicative thresholds for when a protected species survey and assessment is required (PDF) [36KB] .

If you fail to supply sufficient information relating the the effect of your proposals on wildlife, it can cause significant delays in the planning process and may result in us refusing your application on the grounds of insufficient information.

When you don't need a survey

There are a number of exceptions when a protected species survey may not be required:

  • following consultation at the pre-application stage, we have stated in writing that no protected species surveys and assessments are required
  • if it is clear that no protected species are present.  You should provide evidence with your planning application to demonstrate that such species are absent (e.g. this might be in the form of a letter or brief report from a suitably qualified and experienced person, or a relevant local nature conservation organisation)
  • if it is clear that the development proposal will not affect any protected species present, then only limited information needs to be submitted. This information should:
    • demonstrate that there will be no significant affect on any protected species present and
    • include a statement acknowledging that the applicant is aware that it is a criminal offence to disturb or harm protected species should they subsequently be found or disturbed

In some situations, it may be appropriate for you to provide a protected species survey and report for only one or a few of the species shown in our guidance e.g. those that are likely to be affected by a particular activity.

You'll need to make clear which species are included in the report and which are not because exceptions apply.
 

Designated sites and habitats in Uttlesford

You can search our constraints maps for information about designated nature conservation sites, amphibian and reptile records and other wildlife information.

 


Additional information

Guidance for protected sites and species on the Natural England website

Essex Wildlife Trust is the county's leading wildlife charity