For free advice call 02380 261065

Protected Species Surveys

There are severe penalties for those who deliberately or inadvertently disturb or harm those species protected under law. These species' presence, if not considered early, can impose significant delays on a development project.

ECOSA will help you:

  • Understand the law;
  • Prepare for your planning application;
  • Conduct accurate surveys;
  • Produce trusted reports; and
  • Avoid unnecessary delays.

The Law

A large number of species are protected under The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 and/or the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). In addition, badgers have their own legislation, the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.

The presence, or possible absence, and status of these protected species need to be confirmed in advance of a planning application for any site works that may harm or disturb them.

Many of the protected species are widespread and they can inhabit both rural and urban sites.

Preparing for a planning application

Many planning authorities issue or work to biodiversity checklists that identify whether a site might accommodate any species of interest. These are based on a list of landscape and built environment features, extending beyond the immediate site of the works. If you would like to see how your site might fare under such an assessment please visit our 'Do I need an ecological survey?' page.

An initial extended Phase 1 habitat survey is conducted to identify any direct evidence of protected species and any habitat suitable to support protected species on site. Where direct evidence of protected species or suitable habitat is found, more detailed protected species surveys are undertaken to confirm the likely presence or absence of a species, and identify important habitat features and population sizes. These surveys typically require repeat visits over a certain timescale.

Accurate high quality surveys

Quality surveys to accepted standards are key to avoiding delays to planning applications and, potentially very expensive, enforced stops on development works.

ECOSA's ecologists hold survey licenses for a range of European protected species, including bats, great crested newt and hazel dormouseWe have comprehensive survey experience of the majority of species found within the UK and continental Europe. We also have an outstanding record in resolving constraints to projects when protected species are confirmed as present on a site. Whether it is suspected that you have a bat roost in your attic or slow-worms on your brownfield site, this experience will assist the smooth progress of your project.

One area that can prove challenging is trees and their suitability to support bat roosts. We have staff qualified for 'climb and inspect' surveys. Such surveys are not only a very effective method of establishing a tree's suitability for bat roosts, but can also be much more cost effective for clients. In most cases, a visual inspection at height means that the standard dusk emergence and dawn re-entry surveys can be avoided or reduced to zones of known suitability for bat roosts.

Trusted reports

Our surveys, assessments and mitigation strategies are focused on providing all parties with reliable data to support planning applications and Natural England ‘European Protected Species Mitigation' (EPSM) licence applications. More detail on the Natural England licence application process and the relevant law is available in the Resources section of our website.

The respected standard and format of our reports meet everyone's objectives with clear adherence to accepted survey methods and clear advice for project managers.

Missing the survey season means delaying your planning consent

Call 02380 261065 to discuss with one of our ecologists the specifics of your site; or email us at

Both surveys and mitigation works need to be scheduled appropriately for the species in question; please refer to our survey timetable for further details.

If you would like to read more about the law and survey protocols appropriate to any particular species, including badgerinvertebrates, otter, reptiles or water vole, please see the Resources section of our website.