Ecology and Biodiversity

Ecology Services

Enhancing biodiversity through Nature-based solutions

Our ecology services

We have a large team of experienced and qualified ecologists providing a range of ecological services including species-specific expertise, habitat creation and management, landscape design, and biodiversity net gain.  This means we can fulfil all of the ecological requirements of your project, and provide you with the technical solutions you need to ensure your project outcomes are met safely and sustainably.

Our ecologists are experienced across a wide range of species, including:

  • Bats
  • Barn owls
  • Badgers
  • Great crested newts
  • Birds (wintering, breeding and ground nesting)
  • White-clawed crayfish
  • Otters
  • Water voles
  • Freshwater pearl mussel
  • Dormice

Due to seasonal constraints, early engagement is key. Working with us means we can ensure the appropriate surveys and assessments are conducted at the right time of year. We provide initial assessments or Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) to support impact reviews, inform viability assessments, identify constraints, and develop bespoke mitigation and compensation strategies.

Working in partnership

Ecologically-focussed design

Our ecologists work with our landscape team to develop landscape strategies, Construction Environmental Management Plans (CEMP) and Landscape Ecological Management Plans (LEMP) to ensure the natural environment is properly managed and protected throughout your development project.

We collaborate with our water environment and habitat creation teams to design and build Nature-based solutions to counteract environmental risks. For example, we can design Sustainable Urban Drainage Schemes (SUDS) with a focus on biodiversity to help mitigate against flood risk.

Working for a sustainable future

Biodiversity Net Gain

Our in-house ecological expertise helps us to remain at the forefront of understanding and implementing the principles of Biodiversity Net Gain; an approach that protects biodiversity when land is developed. We have an excellent track record of working with large clients, such as Network Rail, to determine the biodiversity value of sites, assess project impacts, and work with multiple project stakeholders to develop biodiversity compensation plans. Biodiversity Net Gain is a priority for us, so we’re using innovative solutions to bring it into our delivery.

Habitat compensation

District Level Licensing

District Level Licensing (DLL) was introduced by Natural England in 2016 as an alternative to the traditional licensing approach for great crested newts (GCN), and is now available across the majority of England. Our ecology team can offer expert advice on how the scheme operates and whether this is the best approach for your site.

Enhancing biodiversity

Habitat Creation and Management

Our ecology and environmental management teams provide complete habitat creation and management packages for your projects.

  • Habitat restoration and management
  • Invasive species advice and management
  • Invasive, non-native species surveys and advice

These ecological services work to mitigate the impact of your project and where compensation is needed, our experienced in-house delivery team can design and build areas such as wildflower meadows, ponds and badger setts.

Protection from nutrient pollution

Nutrient neutrality

Natural England has issued updated guidance to local planning authorities concerning nutrient neutrality. Land development in some catchment areas cannot proceed if the work increases levels of nutrients. Nutrient pollution is a major environmental issue – in some water environments, increased nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen, can encourage the growth of vegetation and algae, which can be harmful to wildlife. Excess nutrients come from sewage treatment works, septic tanks, livestock, arable farming and industrial processes. Developments in some areas can only proceed if they are ‘nutrient neutral’.

This guidance applies to a range of residential development types, and certain commercial and agricultural activities. Local planning authorities must take into consideration nutrient neutrality before planning permission is granted. A Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) is required for projects that are likely to increase levels of nutrients. Our Ecological Consultants have been providing nutrient neutrality advice to LPAs and developers for two years, and can provide a range of services to support planning applications, including production of nutrient neutral assessments, mitigation strategies and HRA.

About Ecus