Our Ecology Services

We provide a wide range of Ecology Services to all sectors, from individual homeowners to FTSE 100 companies. We help you successfully deliver your project on time and in budget.

Ecology Reports for Planning Permission

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For smaller scale developments, a local planning authority may simply request an Ecology Report without telling you what they want it to include. We will look at your site and the proposal, and with our extensive experience will know what species and habitats the planning authority will be expecting the report to consider. This means that you only need to pay for the surveys and length of report absolutely necessary. We won’t recommend surveys you don’t need. If we think the planning authority will be expecting a type of survey that, with our more detailed knowledge of the site and proposal, we don’t think is necessary – we can contact them on your behalf to explain why it isn’t needed. The benefit to you is you avoid both the cost of unnecessary surveys and the risk of your planning application being rejected.

Bat Surveys

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We offer an extensive range of bat surveys. Find out more on our dedicated Bat Survey page.

Bat Low Impact Class Licensing

Alcathoe and whiskered Bat

A welcome change to licensing where small numbers of bats are present in a building is the Bat Low Impact Class Licence (BLICL). Experienced bat ecologists can be registered to use this licence where small numbers of common species of bats are going to be affected by a development.
The benefit to our clients is that while obtaining a “traditional” EPS licence can take over 30 working days, a site can be registered for work to be carried out under the BLICL and the works start in a matter of days. We know that time is money and so using the BLICL saves our clients money by how quickly we can get works underway. There is also a less onerous and time-consuming application process so that saves our clients money too.

Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA)

Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (Extended Phase 1 Survey):

A variety of names were used in the past including Phase 1 survey, Extended Phase 1 Survey, Site Walkover, Protected Species Scoping Survey, etc – so if you’ve been asked to have a Phase 1 survey carried out, a PEA is what you need.

It is a comprehensive ecological assessment of a site for a range of species and habitats.

Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA)

Ecological Impact Assessment

Our Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) is often all that is needed to satisfy a local planning authority as a lot of sites do not actually have any important ecological features.
For sites that do, we look at the results of all the surveys completed, and the development proposal, and assess what impacts the development will have on those important ecological features – an Ecological Impact Assessment or EcIA. We will discuss with you possible ways that minor changes to the development could avoid those impacts and come up with a package of mitigation measures that will help you get planning permission.

Crayfish Surveys

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Our licensed and experienced Principal Ecologist can carry out surveys for white-clawed and other crayfish species. He also holds a special licence to allow maintenance works in water bodies where white-clawed crayfish are present – which will save you the time and expense of obtaining a site-specific licence if you need to do maintenance work.

Barn Owl Surveys

Barn Owl Surveys

Barn owls have additional protection compared to many other bird species, and they are often encountered in buildings. Our licensed surveyors can enter sites known to be used by barn owls (unlicensed surveyors would have to withdraw as soon as they find signs of barn owls being present). By using our licensed and experienced surveyors from the start, you can be sure that the survey is being carried out legally and efficiently and avoid the risk and cost of a second survey visit by a licence holder if signs of barn owls are found.
We also automatically survey for barn owls as part of our Preliminary Bat Roost Assessment Survey if the building is suitable – saving you the cost of this as an additional survey.

European Protected Species Licensing

European Protected Species Licensing

If a site supports European Protected Species (EPS) and they will be affected by the development, then you will need a licence from the relevant statutory nature conservation body (in England that’s Natural England, in Scotland its Scottish Natural Heritage). The species most commonly encountered in a development situation are bats and great crested newts. Our experienced staff have been successfully obtaining European Protected Species Licences (EPSLs) for our clients for over 15 years and have never had a licence application rejected.
If bats are involved, our ability to use the Bat Low Impact Class Licence could also save you time and money.

Breeding Bird Surveys

Breeding Bird Surveys

All nesting birds are legally protected, and so it is important to know whether they are present on your site and whether development may affect potential bird nesting habitat. Often our Preliminary Ecological Appraisal, along with some site-specific recommendations for how and when to clear the site, is all that is needed. However, where a breeding bird survey is required (perhaps because there is potential for the site to support a species of conservation concern, or the planning authority insists on one), we can complete this for you too.

Newt Surveys

Newt Surveys

Newt surveys are usually required where there is a possibility that great crested newts might be present. GSL can provide the full range of surveys starting from a preliminary walk-over survey (known as a Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) survey) to assess the risk of great crested newts being present, through to Phase 2 surveys to detect presence/absence and assess population size. We can also use eDNA techniques to detect presence and will advise you if this is the most cost-effective technique for you.

Otter and Water Vole Surveys

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Otter and Water vole surveys are sometimes needed if a development is near a watercourse or water body. With many years of experience with these two species, we can quickly establish if either is present. We are also licensed to use potentially disturbing survey techniques at otter holts including monitoring with infra-red trail cameras – essential to find out whether a holt is used for breeding, and not something all consultancies are licensed to do. By using GSL from the outset you can avoid the cost of resurvey. If we identify holt sites that will need to be monitored, we call you from site so cameras can be deployed straight away avoiding the cost to you of a revisit to deploy them.

Badger Surveys

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We can carry out a range of badger surveys depending on the needs of the project. Our preliminary site walkover to identify setts, regular pathways, and potentially important foraging areas is often all that is needed to satisfy a local planning authority. But in the rare occasions when more detailed survey is requested we can monitor setts with infra-red trail cameras or even carry out bait-marking studies to confirm the exact extent of a badger clan’s territory and important foraging areas.

Site Supervision and Ecological Clerk of Works

Site Supervision and Ecological Clerk of Works

We can provide staff to supervise ecologically sensitive tasks on site such as “destructive search” of habitat that might contain sensitive species, hedgerow translocation, etc. Or we can provide a full Ecological Clerk of Works service for major developments.

Staff are CSCS cardholders and all have appropriate H&S training and PPE.

Invasive Species

Invasive Species

There are a number of invasive alien species that are undesirable to have on your site and which could have serious financial implications for a development. The most well-known is Japanese Knotweed, which can be a serious problem if not found and dealt with promptly, but there are actually over 40 species of plants which it is an offence to plant or cause to grow in the wild. As part of a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal we will automatically record these plants if they are present. We can also carry out specific surveys to precisely map the locations and spread and provide advice on control/removal (such as a Japanese Knotweed Management Plan) if you need that service.

Need something not listed here?

something not listed

The most frequently requested surveys and services are listed on this page but there isn’t room to list everything we do. If you need something that’s not listed (be it red squirrels, reptiles or something more exotic) or aren’t really sure what you need, just get in touch and we can sort it out for you.