Clarkson & Woods' team of ecologists are able to provide a full range of ecological survey and consultancy services in respect to planning and land management.

Please feel free to contact us on 01934 712500 to discuss your specific requirements.

Habitat Surveys

A robust habitat survey undertaken at an early stage in project planning and design will provide developments with a firm ecological foundation and help to ensure that any ecological constraints are identified at an early stage. Early identification will help to reduce the risk of costly delays later within the planning and construction phases. Habitat surveys also form the foundation of sustainability assessments and provide a baseline upon which the performance of ecological mitigation measures can be measured.

  • Phase 1 Habitat Surveys
  • Hedgerow Surveys
  • Invasive Plant Surveys (including Japanese knotweed, Himalayan balsam and giant hogweed)
  • Phase 2 National Vegetation Classification (NVC ) surveys

Protected Species & Fauna Surveys

Within the UK our wild animals are protected under a number of different pieces of legislation including the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981), The Conservation Regulations (2010) and even the Protection of Badgers Act (1992). Although protected, many wildlife species cannot be considered rare and are frequently encountered on proposed construction sites. Given the severe penalties there are for disturbing these species, local planning authorities will generally insist that these surveys are undertaken prior to determining planning applications.

Our ecologists hold the requisite licences to undertake this survey work and can use the survey information obtained to develop practice advice on avoiding and if necessary mitigating the impacts.

  • European Protected Species surveys (bats, dormice, otters, great crested newts etc.)
  • Other Protected Mammals (badgers, hedgehogs, water voles)
  • Reptile and amphibian species surveys
  • Bird surveys (including breeding bird surveys and winter bird surveys)
  • Terrestrial invertebrate surveys

Ecological Appraisals and Impact Assessment

Preparing appropriate reports to underpin planning applications forms a key part of our work. Our good relationships with the county ecologists across many of the local authorities within southern England mean that we have an excellent understanding of the information they will require to determine an application. Our reports clearly present our survey findings and are set out in simple, non-technical language. We aim to present the most appropriate approach to avoiding, mitigating or compensating for impacts upon a site's biodiversity.

  • Preparation of ecological reports to support planning applications
  • Consultation with statutory nature conservation organisations and local planning authorities
  • Preparation of rebuttals to planning objections
  • Preparation of ecological chapters of EIAs
  • Detailed ecological analysis for Habitats Regulation Assessment (Appropriate Assessment)

Management Plans

Developing advice in consultation with landscape architects to ensure newly created habitats and existing habitats are appropriately managed to maximise their biodiversity value.

Providing advice on the management of sites so as to reduce issues and constraints associated with protected species.

Mitigation and Enhancement

We aim to offer a comprehensive service working closely with our clients to design appropriate mitigation measures where adverse impacts upon ecology cannot be avoided. Our breadth of experience ensures we are often able to employ tried and tested mitigation measures. Our dynamic team are always looking for new innovations, techniques and materials to improve the quality of the measures we propose and help to reduce the cost of the mitigation solutions. Summarised below is a sample of the broad range of ecological mitigation measures we are able to provide:

  • European Protected Species Licensing for all protected species within the UK.
  • Translocation of protected species (reptiles, newts etc.)
  • Translocation of habitats (hedgerows, grasslands etc.)
  • Badger sett exclusions and artificial sett creation
  • Bat roost design
  • Protective fencing installation
  • Ecological Clerk of Works and site supervision

Ecological enhancements have in recent years become an essential element of most planning applications. We aim to suggest appropriate ecological enhancement measures that will deliver true ecological gain but are in keeping within the nature of the development and do not have huge costs or programme implications attached.

For further information about mitigation techniques please visit the 'Species' pages.


We offer a range of solutions for mapping habitats including, where necessary, the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) software to provide interactive, interpretive mapping.

Biodiversity Research & Training

Clarkson & Woods has for many years been involved with research into new survey techniques and the effectiveness of mitigation measures. For example our nest tube design remains the national standard methodology for surveying for dormice in woodlands and hedgerows. We are currently investigating several new areas where we consider further research to be important.

We offer free one-hour CPD sessions for a variety of clients on wildlife and construction.

BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Homes

The ecological value of a site and the mitigation and protection measures employed are all credited when calculating the sustainability of new developments using BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Homes. Advice from an ecologist during the planning stages can help to ensure that the credits that can be achieved under the ecology categories (Eco 1-4) can be maximised.

  • Baseline ecological surveys
  • Building inspections for birds and bats
  • Protected Species surveys

  • Clarkson & Woods also work closely with a number of arboricultural consultancies and can arrange for consultancy services in respect to planning and land management. The services we can arrange include: planning and development surveys, tree risk surveys, veteran tree surveys, tree safety policy, and tree surgery and management (contracting).