Ecology and Protected Species Surveys
Heatons’ ecologists are experienced in preliminary ecological assessments and subsequent surveys for protected species as well as completing Ecological Impact Assessments for projects requiring EIA.
Our specialist knowledge includes surveys for bats, badgers, great crested newts, barn owls, otters, dormouse and breeding birds and we can draw on our network of specialist contacts to support our clients with more unusual circumstances.
We are pragmatic and proactive, ensuring that potential ecological considerations are fully accounted for and addressed early on.
We are able to assess projects for biodiversity net gain and work with colleagues in our planning and landscape teams to enrich development proposals and offer suggestions for mitigation, compensation and enhancement.
Biodiversity Net Gain
Heatons’ ecologists, landscape architects and planners are able to work collaboratively to support our client’s development projects achieve biodiversity net gain.
This is usually through the production of a landscape masterplan for the development. Whilst this will include the key components of the project (built elements, access and drainage) it will also allow for an increase in appropriate natural habitat and ecological features over and above that being affected and restore ecological networks and connectivity.
The landscape masterplan will usually require suitable surveys to provide a robust ecology baseline, following which the mitigation hierarchy will be applied (avoiding and then minimising impacts, compensating for losses, and/or then offsetting).
Typically, the landscape masterplan would include retained elements as well as new native planting belts, wetland features and ponds and conversion of arable fields to species-rich grassland, as well as specific artificial nesting or hibernacula, offering landscape enhancement and surface water attenuation.
Biodiversity net gain also involves the use of a metric, to measure and account for biodiversity losses and gains resulting from development or land management change.
Heatons are able to offer full arboricultural services, including tree surveys to British Standard. This would typically detail the steps that should be taken to ensure that trees on a site are appropriately and successfully retained when a development occurs.
In conjunction with detailed site survey and assessment, we utilise CAD to create clear and professional tree constraints plans (including root protection areas for each tree) and tree protection plans.
Early completion of a Tree Constraints Plan can assist the design team by identifying and minimising the risk of tree issues being raised during the planning application process. We can also identify opportunities for the design team in terms of how retained trees can contribute to well-designed and sustainable development projects.
In the event that construction work is to take place within a root protection area of a tree we are also able to provide Arboricultural Method Statement to explain how damage to the tree can be avoided.
We also offer woodland management plans which consider individual trees within their wider settings and to identify specific objectives (such as timber production, nature conservation or recreation).