If sites have a significant local ecological impact, the applicant will be required to submit a Biodiversity survey and report. Developments that do not affect sites of national or international environmental importance or give rise to complex environmental impacts are not likely to require an Environmental Statement under the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations.
If the site has or is likely to have the habitat of any protected species or is used by protected species, a (licensed) survey from a specialist consultant will be needed. In some cases, surveys can only be carried out at specific times of the year which may delay submission of the planning application.
Protected species are identified in The Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc) Regulations 1994, which includes schedules of European protected species of animals and plants. Those most commonly affected by developments in Sheffield include: badgers; bats; great crested newts; water voles; otters and nesting birds (other than pests).
Ecological interest areas are identified in the Unitary Development Plan and Nature Conservation Strategy, copies of which can be seen at First Point and at City libraries. The Ecology Unit should be contacted early in the planning process to ascertain the need for and scope of any Ecological Assessment. The Assessment could require either a full ecological survey and report or an individual species survey and report. Any report should: assess the impact of development; provide details of any mitigation and enhancement measures proposed; justify any unavoidable impacts; and include proposals for the long term maintenance and management of any remaining areas of biodiversity value.
The Ecology Unit can provide details of local experts able to carry out specialised habitat assessments using local knowledge. We should be alerted to any issues relating to badger setts, because the location of these will not normally be published online with other application details, due to the exceptional threats to this species.