Other Protected Species Surveys

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Hazel Dormice

Hazel dormice, their breeding sites and resting places are protected by law, making it an offence to deliberately capture, injure or kill hazel dormice; damage, destroy or obstruct access to a resting place, breeding site or places of shelter or protected; or to disturb a hazel dormouse while it is in a structure or place of shelter or protection.

Surveys for hazel dormice can include nut searches (characteristic teeth marks on nut shells) and the use of nest tubes/ boxes (this should be conducted by an experienced and licenced surveyor). Nest tube surveys can be conducted between April and November, with optimal months being May, August and September. Please feel free to get in contact to discuss dormouse surveys and requirements with one of our team members.

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White-Clawed Crayfish

A range of legislation protects the white-clawed crayfish, which makes it an offence to take or sell them, and puts in place a series of licences for working with white-clawed and non-native crayfish. These include licences for handling, trapping, release of non-native crayfish and for works in relation to development that may impact white-clawed crayfish.

Surveys for white-clawed crayfish are optimally undertaken after the breeding season (mid-July to mid-September) and should avoid late May and June when females may be carrying newly hatched young. The methods include manual searching, hand netting, night searching by torch and trapping using a baited plastic mesh trap (approved by the Environment Agency (EA)). A licence to survey crayfish is required for catching and handling, and permissions may be required from the EA to use crayfish traps. Please feel free to get in contact to discuss crayfish surveys and requirements with one of our team members.

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Natterjack Toads

The natterjack toad is protected under UK and EU legislation, making it an offence to intentionally or recklessly kill, injure, handle or capture natterjack toad. It is also illegal to damage, destroy or obstruct any place a natterjack toad uses for breeding purposes or shelter, including aquatic and terrestrial habitats.\r\n\r\nSurveys should be completed by a suitably experienced surveyor that may also have to be licensed (Naturally Wild holds this licence within the team). The surveys employ a number of techniques including torchlight surveys (night survey between April and September), looking under rufuges (between spring and autumn), looking for eggs/ spawn strings (from April to at least early June) and listening for their calls during the breading season (April until July). These techniques are used to determine presence/ likely absence, which once confirmed may require additional survey visits to establish the population structure and size. Please feel free to get in contact to discuss natterjack toad surveys and requirements.

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There are around 400 invertebrate species of Principal Importance in England that are included on Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and listed as S41 Priority species protected through biodiversity policy. In addition, there are three European protected invertebrate species; large blue butterfly (eggs, caterpillars, chrysalises and adults), Fisher’s estuarine moth (eggs, caterpillars, chrysalises and adults) and the little ramshorn whirlpool snail; making it an offence to kill, disturb or injure these species. It is also against the law to damage, destroy or obstruct access to a breeding, sheltering or resting place and to possess, sell, control or transport protected invertebrates (live, dead or parts of them). Surveys should be carried out at the correct time of year, generally between May to early September, and are conducted following ecological survey and mitigation standards to ensure accuracy. Surveys involve searching for different life stages and also assessing the habitat/ floral community on site to establish if the site could support the species (usually the species have specific flood plant species requirements). Please feel free to get in contact to discuss invertebrate surveys and requirements.

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Fresh Water Fish

Several fish species are protected by being present in Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) or Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) including Atlantic salmon, bullhead, lamprey (brook, river and sea) and spined loach. Consultation is needed with a Natural England Site Officer to survey these species in or near protected sites as SSSI Consent may have to be acquired. Surveys should also be conducted if distribution and historical records suggest their presence; allis shad, twaite shad, vendace, whitefish (also known as powan, gwyniad or schelly and common sturgeon).

Survey methods include riverside or bankside counts, underwater counts using snorkelling or scuba diving, electrofishing, seine netting or trawling the water with a conical net. These surveys should only be carried out by experienced surveys with appropriate licences/ permissions in place. Please feel free to get in contact to discuss fresh water fish surveys and requirements.

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Protected Plants and Trees

There are many plants protected by legislation (Schedule 8, Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981) that makes it an offence to pick, uproot, destroy, sell or possess or transport (with the intention of selling) them. There following plants are European protected species: creeping marshwort, early gentian, fen orchid, floating water-plantain, Killarney fern, lady’s slipper, marsh saxifrage, shore dock and slender naiad. This makes it an offence to pick, cut, uproot, collect, destroy, possess, transport or sell these species.\r\n\r\nIn addition to plant species, ancient woodland and veteran trees are also afforded protection under the National Planning Policy Framework. ‘Ancient woodland’ is any wooded area that has been wooded continuously since at least 1600 AD. It includes:

  • ‘Ancient semi-natural woodland’ mainly made up of trees and shrubs native to the site, usually arising from natural regeneration,
  • ‘Plantations on ancient woodland sites’ ­ areas of ancient woodland where the former native tree cover has been felled and replaced by planted trees, usually of species not native to the site.

‘Veteran trees’ are trees which, because of their age, size or condition are of cultural, historical, landscape and nature conservation value. They can be found as individuals or groups within ancient wood pastures, historic parkland, hedgerows, orchards, parks or other areas. Please feel free to get in contact to discuss protected plants and trees.

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Protected Sites

There are a range of protected sites found in the UK, which can be separated into two categories; statutory and non-statutory designations.

Statutory protected sites include the following:

  • Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
  • Local Nature Reserves (LNR)
  • National Nature Reserves (NNR)
  • Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)
  • Special Protection Areas (SPA)
  • Ramsar sites
  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

SAC, SPA and Ramar sites are also included within the collective term ‘Natura 2000’ sites, which is the name of the European Union-wide network of nature conservation sites established under the EC Habitats and Birds Directives. This affords these sites higher degrees of importance and protection.

Non-statutory protected sites include the following:

  • Local Wildlife Sites (LWS)
  • County Wildlife Sites (CWS)
  • Sites of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI)
  • Country parks

The presence and location of these sites is usually obtained from local records centres, which are found distributed across the country.

Impacts to protected sites are established during an ecological assessment, with an adverse impacts addressed through avoidance, mitigation and compensation where possible.

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