Wildlife Surveys

We offer a wide range of ecological surveys both for developers and land owners. All our surveys are to industry standards but tailored to the objectives of your project, providing a highly professional service which is based on the customer’s needs and sound ecological principles.

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Do you have any of these species on site?

Learn more about them and how Acorn deal with them for you!

Do you have Bats? Acorn EcologyBats are fully protected by law and therefore if you have them on site it is likely that you will need to have a suite of surveys and possibly a European Protected Species Licence to carry out the works. Although having bats on site is not usually a show-stopper it can mean delays to the project due to seasonality of surveys (they hibernate in winter) and the time it takes to get surveys and licence applications done. It may also mean that you will have to put some provision in for them, including possibly allocating a loft space (depending on species present).
Most bat surveys have to be carried out in the summer months – May to September – and if surveys are not carried out at the correct time of the year then we may need to wait until the next survey season to complete them.
Acorn Ecology Bat SurveysBats are very vulnerable to disturbance, mainly because they often cluster in large groups in buildings, trees and caves in the summer months when breeding and in cool, damp places when they are hibernating. They only give birth to one youngster a year but they are very long-lived and can live 15-35 years (depending on the species).

Bats are not only vulnerable to disturbance they can also be sensitive to lighting, can be killed by inappropriate timber treatments, and can suffer loss of hunting grounds such as wetlands, long grass, woodlands and hedgerows. For bat surveys you need a licensed bat worker and they can advise on the way forward. Acorn Ecology has several licensed bat workers on the team and we have completed over 70 EPSLs.

One of our senior team ecologists can advise on the requirements for surveys, mitigation and licensing.

Speak to an expert now!

Exeter HQ: 01392 366512

Bristol: 0117 9232768

Guildford: 01483 382821

shutterstock_141844894Originally protected from persecution rather than being endangered, badgers are protected and so are their setts, if badgers are present. They often occur on development sites, especially in the south west.

On our initial walkover survey we usually spot signs of badgers or setts and these are usually monitored by repeated visits over several months. If a badger sett will be damaged, destroyed or a badger will be disturbed in its sett then a licence will be required from Natural England. It is best to try to avoid these offences. Works can include a temporary or permanent exclusion of the sett (under licence). Sometimes it is appropriate to build an Badger Surveys Acorn Ecologyartificial sett.

An ecologist experienced in badgers is needed to carry out monitoring visits and complete the badger licence. Acorn Ecology has several people on the team who are experts in badgers.

One of our senior team ecologists can advise on the requirements for surveys, mitigation and licensing.

Speak to an expert now!

Exeter HQ: 01392 366512

Bristol: 0117 9232768

Guildford: 01483 382821

shutterstock_106063958Great Crested Newts are our largest amphibian species. They breed in ponds in early spring and need terrestrial habitat such as log piles, long grass and hedgelines outside the breeding season. They are fully protected by law and occur over much of England although they are sparse in Devon and Cornwall.

Acorn Ecology Great Crested Newt Surveys and MitigationIf there is terrestrial habitat or ponds on site, and you are in an area with records of great crested newts, then surveys will be required. Surveys need to be carried out between March and June and if that window of opportunity is lost there may be delays until the next survey season. If GCN are found to be present then works may need to be carried out under licence from Natural England. Delays can occur to projects if the survey season is missed or if a licence is required then the development may need to be delayed to a time that will cause the least harm to the animals.

One of our senior team ecologists can advise on the requirements for surveys, mitigation and licensing.

Speak to an expert now!

Exeter HQ: 01392 366512

Bristol: 0117 9232768

Guildford: 01483 382821

shutterstock_156154820Dormice are small secretive creatures that live in shrubs, trees and hedgerows. They are mainly found in southern counties and they are fully protected by law. If you have dormouse habitat on site, especially if it is due for removal (e.g. hedgerow removal) then you will need to have a full suite of surveys – typically from April to October. Surveys involve putting out dormouse ‘tubes’ for the animals to make nests in.

If dormice are found to be present then a European Protected Species licence will be required. Works may need to be timed over several seasons, and carried out in stages, as they hibernate underground in winter and are active in shrubs and trees during the summer months.

Acorn Ecology Dormouse SurveysAnother issue for dormice is that they are thinly distributed and loss of connectivity (e.g. hedgerow removal) can have a serious impact. Surveys and licence applications can only be carried out by licensed dormouse workers. Acorn Ecology has several licensed dormouse experts in the team.

One of our senior team ecologists can advise on the requirements for surveys, mitigation and licensing.

Speak to an expert now!

Exeter HQ: 01392 366512

Bristol: 0117 9232768

Guildford: 01483 382821

Acorn Ecology Water Vole SurveysWater Voles are prolific breeders but despite this have declined by 98% over the last 20 years due to inappropriate waterways management and predation from American mink. Water voles live alongside slow moving waterways such as rivers and canals making burrows and feeding on bankside vegetation. Water voles are now fully protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) so if present surveys and detailed appropriate mitigation would be needed and probably a licence to carry out works. Surveys are carried out during the summer.

One of our senior team ecologists can advise on the requirements for surveys, mitigation and licensing.

Speak to an expert now!

Exeter HQ: 01392 366512

Bristol: 0117 9232768

Guildford: 01483 382821

shutterstock_190704920Otters are a European Protected Species and are afforded the highest level of protection. Their main habitat is rivers, canals and lakes and their diet consists mainly of fish. Their holts are usually found on river banks. If works involve a river then surveys would be required.

This is usually a walk-over survey looking for otter spraint (droppings) and potential holt sites.

If otters are present and they are likely to be disturbed, killed, injured or their habitat damaged or destroyed (in reality only the holts are considered) then a licence will be required to carry out works.

Otter75This is most likely to be in sites where works will be carried out on bridges or river banks, most works near to rivers are not considered disturbing to otters.

One of our senior team ecologists can advise on the requirements for surveys, mitigation and licensing.

Speak to an expert now!

Exeter HQ: 01392 366512

Bristol: 0117 9232768

Guildford: 01483 382821

Grass snake handling (1)We have 6 species of reptiles in the UK and all are protected to some extent. The very rare sand lizard and smooth snake are European Protected Species and are fully protected. Slow worms, common lizards, adders and grass snakes are protected from killing and injuring and sale.

If you have sand lizard or smooth snake on site then a licensed reptile worker would have to carry out surveys and if they are found to be present then a European Protected Species Licence may be required before any works can take place.

Acorn Ecology Reptile SurveyThe other more common species do not require licenced workers to handle or survey for them. Surveys consist of placing bitumen roofing felt tiles (0.5×0.5m2) out on site in suitable habitat. These are left for at least a week. We then carry out 5-7 visits in the period May to September (when the reptiles are active). If they are found to be present then a strategy to move them safely off site needs to be implemented. This might involve trying to find a suitable receptor site nearby, (which involves further survey) and gradually moving the reptiles off the development site. Reptile surveys and translocations can be time-consuming and can only be carried out between April and September.

One of our senior team ecologists can advise on the requirements for surveys, mitigation and licensing.

Speak to an expert now!

Exeter HQ: 01392 366512

Bristol: 0117 9232768

Guildford: 01483 382821

We have several species of owls in the UK but the ones we are most concerned with in consultancy are Barn Owls. These attractive birds often live in old barns and houses. They have additional protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 making it illegal to disturb them whilst nesting and they continue to be rare. If Barn Owls are present on site we need to make provision for them so they can continue to use the site. Advice on the types and locations of barn owl boxes would be given if appropriate.

One of our senior team ecologists can advise on the requirements for surveys, mitigation and licensing.

Speak to an expert now!

Exeter HQ: 01392 366512

Bristol: 0117 9232768

Guildford: 01483 382821

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