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Ecology and development

3. Seeking advice

If you are looking to submit a planning application and for your development proposal:

  • You are unsure if ecological surveys are needed
  • You would like to ensure that ecological surveys are of a sufficient standard
  • You are unsure if further ecological surveys are needed
  • You would like recommendations on how net gains for biodiversity can be achieved

Although pre application advice has no formal weight in the planning process, it is often quicker and easier than finding out that the appropriate surveys have not been carried out once you have submitted your planning application. Advice should be sought from either the Ecology Advice Service or your respective planning authority.

Our Ecology Advice Service currently provides advice to Chiltern District Council and South Buckinghamshire District Council on:

  • The impact of development proposals on biodiversity and ecology
  • Safeguarding and enhancing wildlife through appropriate mitigation measures
  • The designation and surveying of non-statutory local wildlife sites
  • Biodiversity, ecology and nature conservation to the public and other organisations
  • Biodiversity enhancements through supporting local partnerships and initiatives

We also provide prospective applicants with pre-application advice in the following ways:

Screening Opinion

For single dwelling applications only, most suitable for individual homeowners or their agents. By either consulting our desk-based information system and/or carrying out a site visit we can provide you with an opinion against recognised triggers as to whether you will require any ecological surveys. For example, if you are extending, converting, or demolishing a current building we can assess your proposal against a widely accepted trigger list and provide you with a Screening Opinion as to what initial surveys are likely to be required (if any).

Pre-application advice

For larger developments, pre-application advice is useful for the county ecologist to gain a feel for what the development will entail and suggest advice about what surveys are likely to need to be carried out. The earlier that this advice is sought, the more likely it is that we can suggest measures which will provide net gains to biodiversity on site and incorporate those ideas into the plans for the development.

If extra surveys are recommended, by providing pre-application advice well in advance, we can ensure that surveys are carried out at an appropriate time of year to ensure they comply with the relevant legislation and do not hold up the development process. There is usually a charge for pre-application advance. Please contact us for a quote,

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Last updated: 29 June 2017

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