Although the summer season is a busy time for ecology there is still plenty of work that can be done during the winter months.
Planning ahead and undertaking the surveys that can be done at this time of year can help avoid unnecessary delays and allow any further survey work required within the summer season to be scheduled in early.
For an overview of the seasonal timings for ecology work for all species please see our Ecological Survey Calendar.
Daytime Preliminary Bat Inspections can be undertaken at any time of year. If you are thinking about work that will be impact a building it is good idea to undertake a daytime bat inspection early in the process. In the event that evidence or potential for bats is found you can plan your programme to take into account the need for further spring/summer surveys. Hibernation bat surveys are undertaken between December and February. If you are planning work on buildings in 2021 it was worth considering the need for hibernation surveys this winter to reduce potential delays.
Wintering Bird Survey are undertaken between November and February. If you have an open site, particularly those that are predominantly arable, you should consider the need to undertake wintering bird surveys.
Badger surveys can be undertaken at any time of year. Undertaking surveys early allows plenty of time to design mitigation and apply for Natural England licences, should badgers be found on site. Licensable work can only be undertaken at certain times of the year, so pre-planning is essential to ensure this window is not missed.
Otter surveys can be undertaken at any time of year however undertaking surveys during the winter allows better access to the banks as vegetation has died back, making spotting signs easier.
Whilst most protected species surveys need to be undertaken within certain time periods Mitigation Licences can be applied for all year round. As mitigation work is often subject to timing constraints, early licence ensures everything is in place ahead of works commencing.
Biodiversity Net Gain
Biodiversity Net Gain assessment calculations are being increasingly requested by Local Planning Authorities to inform the impact that proposed developments may have on biodiversity. The calculations themselves are a desk-based exercise so can be undertaken at any time of year. A condition assessment of each habitat is required but assumptions can be made if the habitat survey has not been undertaken in the optimal survey period, and ground-truthed at a later date. Early assessment of the site and proposed development allow the masterplan and landscape design to incorporate the biodiversity requirements helping to reduce delays and costly offsite mitigation later.