‘Babec have completed a number of biodiversity surveys and ecological reports for us. They are quick to respond, very professional and practical in their outlook, and always provide the work on time and to a high standard. We will definitely continue to use them in the future.
Samantha Holliday | Associate at BuroHappold Engineering
Due to the scale of the development, the planning application for each site will need to be accompanied by an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). This is a formal process of evaluating the likely effects of a proposed development on the environment. One of the first stages in the EIA process is to undertake a scoping exercise to determine the extent of issues to be considered. This requires the baseline conditions of the site to be assessed so that an informed judgement can be made as to which issues should be scoped in (or scoped out) of the EIA.
What we did
In the first instance, we undertook extended phase 1 habitat surveys of the sites to ascertain their baseline conditions. We also carried out a desk study to obtain existing records of designated sites and protected species within the vicinity of the proposed development.
Multiple designated sites were identified within the vicinity of the development, including a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) located directly adjacent to the proposed development. We also identified nearby records of bat roosts and other protected species of fauna.
During the field survey, the sites were found to predominantly comprise artificial and manmade habitats. However, potential habitats for roosting bats and breeding birds were also identified as well as the presence of invasive plant species which are subject to statutory control.
Following our survey, we provided reports that included simple measures that could be adopted to ensure that the development would not adversely effect the adjacent SINC or other nearby designated sites. We also recommended measures to ensure legal compliance with regards breeding birds and invasive plant species.
As potential habitats for roosting bats had been identified, we returned to the sites to conduct building inspections and ground level tree assessments. As well as allowing us to look for evidence of bats, this enabled us to assess the likelihood of a bat roost being present in each of the buildings and trees on site, and provide detailed recommendations as to the level of further survey required for the planning application.
Our work has been used to inform EIA scoping reports, which form a basis of common reference for consultation about the scope and methodology of the EIA. Responses received from consultees will inform the ongoing design of the scheme and the environmental statement that accompanies the planning application.