Ecology Consultancy is a private company that advises its clients on ecological matters related to site development. The advice is often on plans for site development and the potential changes in land management that could impact wildlife.
As such, the focus for ecology consultancy is to identify the species and habitats affected by site development and the resulting impacts, as well as the strategies to minimize, mitigate, or compensate for the potential effects.
Ecology consultancy work to ensure project implementation is within the confines of legal requirements and possible further deliver additional ecological enhancements.
The consultancy, therefore, advises that ecological dynamics are factored into the planning process to ensure that developers work within the legal expectation of Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG).
What Are the Roles of Ecology Consultancy?
An ecology consultancy identifies and then completes the necessary surveys related to a project. The survey process entails assessing the species and habitats on-site or off-site likely to be affected by the implementation of the project.
Doing this helps with the legal protection of the numerous species by minimizing potential impacts through compensation and mitigation. Ecology consultancies could further investigate the likely effects of developments on protected sites when necessary.
These protected sites include Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), and Special Protection Areas (SPAs).
Ecology consultancy plays a vital role in development projects by addressing the likely impacts from noise, air quality, recreation, and hydrology that could impact the ecology at the site.
Ecology consultancies work in a particular order when conducting assessments. They initially establish the species and habitats at the site and its surroundings.
The next step is to complete surveys of the species and habitats, identifying their status with regards to the threat level and determining the need for protection.
As such, the process is necessary not just for new developments but also for homeowners exploring potential refurbishment or extension projects.
For this kind of project, there will be an assessment to determine if there are new species that could potentially be impacted by additional works at an already established site.
Species targeted for such surveys vary from birds, reptiles, or small mammals to any threatened species.
Ecology consultancies conduct ecological surveys, topographical surveys, and tree surveys that target the species protected under the law. They work to obtain the required license from the proper authority that pertains to the species likely impacted by the development work.
The acquisition of the permit then allows for advancing to the planning stage. In other words, the consultancy helps a developer to identify the right license for the project and helps them acquire it.
Why Should You Work With an Ecology Consultancy?
Ecology consultancy knows protected wildlife and able to identify and advise on the potential impacts at a site. As such, it is necessary to work with an ecology consultancy to facilitate a comprehensive planning system and process.
Planners and architects can use ecology consultancies to identify the right guides and checklists that will be required by planning authorities.
It is necessary to bear in mind that the system is not always foolproof in that often it is possible to miss the ecological requirements, and this could impact the schedule of submitting a planning application.
Eventually, this affects the project more so for sites where protected species are involved. The delay may further be complicated in cases where species are time-specific in that there are at specific times of the year they species are accessible.
In conclusion, ecology consultancies are part of the process of any developer looking to start a new development project or refurbish an existing project.
Ecology consultancies help talk about a project and advice on relevant ecological considerations once you approve their quote for your work. Reaching out to the consultancies earlier during the planning process is advised as it allows for timely completion of surveys within the timelines of the project.