Land and Heritage offer the following ecology and arboricultural services
- Preliminary Ecological Impact Assessment
- Protected Species Surveys and Licences
- Ecological Impact Assessment
- Mitigation design to achieve Biodiversity Net Gain
- Arboricultural Surveys (BS5837) and Arboricultural Impact Assessments
Development projects are increasing subject to ever tighter ecological scrutiny. Statutory designations, legal obligations, and local planning policies require an ecological impact to be undertaken based on thorough site survey and investigation undertaken to the highest standards. Applicants must demonstrate that adequate steps have been taken to avoid adverse impacts wherever possible or to provide adequate mitigation. Land and Heritage have many years experience of successful planning applications within designated areas such as National Parks, green belt, conservation areas and sites with multiple environmental constraints.
Changes in the forthcoming Environment Bill will require developers to go much further and to ensure that all schemes achieve an overall net gain for biodiversity. This may require wildlife mitigation measures to be undertaken offsite as well as within the scheme boundary. Land and Heritage can obtain protected species licences where no alternative solutions can be found.
We recommend site assessment at the earliest opportunity so that environmental constraints can be identified and inform the deign process accordingly.
Trees and Development
Trees are fully recognised as a material consideration within the planning process and local planning authorities acknowledge the importance of trees in their local plans. In most cases where amenity trees are present, development proposals will need to demonstrate that trees have been considered and have informed the design process. Guidance on this process is provided within BS5837 (2012): ‘Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction – recommendations’. The planning authority will usually expect to see that professional advice has been obtained for the management and protection of trees on a development site. We can also advise on protected trees in Conservation Areas or with Tree Preservation Orders.
Tree Safety Surveys
Sadly, when a tree fails it can result in damage to property and occasionally to people as well. Litigation may follow, so in order to avoid these outcomes, landowners need to take the following measures:
- A tree risk assessment – This requires an identification of any tree hazard and an assessment of the risk
- A management system is in place – This states clearly what actions will be taken to reduce the risk and remove the hazard.
- A clear audit trail – This provides the defence against any claim
Land and Heritage undertakes tree health and safety inspections for parks and gardens, roadsides and commercial premises.
We have worked with Derriford Hospital for the last four years, helping them develop the hospital facilities on a very tight campus. The campus is adjacent to the Bircham Valley Local Nature Reserve, much of which is owned by Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust. As a statutory protected site, this imposes additional challenges and constraints, with an area of ancient woodland running along the southern edge of the hospital grounds.
We have worked on a scheme for this site over a period of three years, as the proposed scheme has developed and evolved, working for two different companies of architects. A tree survey to BS5837 was undertaken to support a planning application for a new museum development, and has been extended on two occasions to cover additional land. The new entrance and parking facilities have been modified and improved in response to our recommendations. The survey will also inform and influence the future renovation of the gardens.
Polvellan Manor in Looe has lain derelict for a number of years, since closing as an old people’s residential home. We are currently working with RLT Architects of Penzance to assist our client in developing the site into a series of residential apartments. Our work has involved a wide range of ecological and arboricultural issues. The manor house is used at a low level by bats and there is a thriving population of slow-worms in the gardens. A particular challenge has been to deal with the woodland grounds, which are covered by a tree preservation order but have suffered years of neglect.