Biodiversity / geodiversity survey
|Policy driver||Circular 06/2005||
National Planning Policy Framework| Section 11 Paragraphs 109, 117, 118
Replacement Unitary Development Plan - Policies NE15, NE16, NE17 and NE18.
|Type of application|
|Geographic locations where this information is required||Where relevant.|
|What information is required||Assessments of impacts and proposals for long term maintenance and management.|
|Where to look for further assistance||If, after reading the 'Further Information' you are still unsure about the information to submit please contact the Council’s Conservation Officer on 01422 284430.|
Where a proposed development may have impacts on biodiversity or geodiversity, sufficient information should be provided to enable full consideration of those impacts. Where proposals are being made for mitigation and / or compensation and enhancement measures, information to support those proposals will be needed.
Where appropriate, accompanying plans should indicate any significant wildlife habitats or features present and the location of habitats of any species protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, Habitats and Species of Principal Importance as defined under S41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 or the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. The The Calderdale Biodiversity Action Plan identifies the local Habitats and Species of Principal Importance which can help inform the need for and scope of any ecological assessment and enhancement measures.
Applications for development with potential impacts on semi-natural habitats, including ancient woodland and rivers, that will affect areas designated for their biodiversity interest or Habitats of Principal Importance will need to include assessments of impacts, mitigation measures and proposals for long-term maintenance / management and enhancement. Landscape schemes should adhere to these principles. For details of the Species and Habitats of Principal Importance to the area, see the the Calderdale Biodiversity Action Plan.
Further guidance on what planting may be appropriate to a certain area, can be found at Flora Locale| or by using the BSBI's (Botanical Society for Britain and Ireland) Vice-county census catalogue|. Select South-west Yorkshire (63) from the list of Vice-counties, and Native plants when using the search.
Certain proposals which include work such as the demolition of buildings or roof spaces, removal of trees, scrub, hedgerows or alterations to water courses / ponds may affect protected species and the applicant will need to provide information on them, any potential impacts for them and any mitigation proposals for such impacts. Natural England provides information on some of the protected species most often affected by development and provide standing advice regarding survey information and mitigation required. Further guidance on when surveys are likely to be needed can be found in Biodiversity and geological conservation validation checklist [PDF file 153KB]|.
Ecological reports should meet the Guidelines for Ecological Report Writing published by the Chartered institute of Ecology and Environmental Management
National policies for biodiversity are set out in Circular: Biodiversity and Geological Conservation - Statutory Obligations and their impact within Planning Regulations (ODPM Circular 06/2005|, DEFRA Circular 01/2005) and Planning For Biodiversity and Geological Conservation: A Guide to Good Practice|.
- Bat species use a range of roosts, including buildings, trees and underground sites. Some species are particularly associated with the built environment for breeding and hibernating. Bats often use linear features such as tree lines as foraging or commuting routes and loss or disruption of these routes may affect bat populations, even if roost sites are unaffected. Developers should also be mindful of the impact of external lighting on bats which can also act to fragment routes. See Bats and Lighting in the UK|.
- Bats are ‘reasonably likely’ to roost close to woodland or water or in certain structures, such as barns, in any area below 300m. West Yorkshire Ecology: Bats| (Bat Alert Layer) guidance and map provides further information.
- Bats are a material consideration when deciding whether to grant planning permission. If there is a ‘reasonable likelihood’ that bats roost at the site, you will need to submit a Bat Roost Potential Assessment Form [PDF file 296KB]|. If the assessment determines that you will require a survey it should be undertaken by suitable experienced and licensed surveyors in line with the 'Minimum Standards for Bat Surveys in West Yorkshire' published by West Yorkshire Ecology: Bats|.
- It may not be possible to undertake a full bat survey during the months from October to April which means there may be insufficient information to determine an application. However, where it can be established that there is limited bat roost potential or that impacts can be avoided, it may be possible to validate the application. 'Guidance on Winter Bat Surveys' is also available: West Yorkshire Ecology: Bats|.
- The presence of bats within or adjacent to the development site is unlikely to stop the development going ahead provided that appropriate mitigation measures are in place. Mitigation is usually the term used for the combination of avoidance measures, such as careful timing to avoid the impacts, actions to limit the impact and compensation to create replacement habitat.
- If a bat roost is likely to be affected, a developer has a legal duty to carry out agreed measures to ensure that bats continue to roost at the site after the development has taken place. This is likely to need a licence from Natural England in addition to a valid planning permission.
- For further information or advice about bats please contact the Natural England enquiry service on 0845 600 3078 or visit Natural England| . Further help and advice can also be obtained from the Bat Conservation Trust| or the National Bat Helpline on 0845 1300 228.