Ecology and biodiversity advice for developers

The Vale of White Horse has a rich diversity of wildlife habitats and species which make the district an attractive place to live and work and contributes to the quality of life of all residents.  This variety of wildlife we see around us is known as our local biodiversity.

The council is responsible for ensuring potential impacts of planning decisions on biodiversity are fully considered.  Specialist advice on nature conservation and biodiversity enhancement is provided by the council's ecologist.

In order to protect, maintain and enhance our local biodiversity we need planning applications to be accompanied by the correct information outlining the ecological impact your proposed development will have. If you do not provide us with adequate information to allow us to fully consider your application, you run the risk of delays and possible refusal.

What you need to consider when making a planning application?

When submitting a planning application you will need to consider if there are any ecological constraints on or likely to be affected by your proposal and think about the following issues:
 
- will the proposal involve impacts on protected species?
- will the proposal impact on land designated for its nature conservation value either directly or indirectly?
- is it possible to design ecological enhancements into your proposal?
 
If you think that there may be ecological issues on your site then you should talk to a qualified ecologist to get appropriate advice. A list of qualified ecologists is maintained by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) please see their web site http://www.cieem.net for more information.
 
In order for the council to make an informed decision on your planning application you should provide the following information in support of your planning application:
 
• up to date surveys to an appropriate degree of detail carried out by a suitably qualified ecologist
• where appropriate, information on how the development will avoid harming the species in its existing location
• details of measures to enhance the provision of species within the development or create new additional opportunities for that species
• details of mitigation measures employed to mitigate the harm caused by the development to that species where avoidance is not possible
• details of the compensation measures to be provided where mitigation is not possible.
 
If you do not provide the appropriate level of information this can lead to significant delays in determining your planning application.

Pre-application advice

Pre-application discussions with the Planning Department will highlight potential ecological issues at the earliest possible stage and may help to avoid unnecessary delay later in the planning process.  Please refer to the pre-application advice pages.  
For further information and guidance applicants can refer to the following documents; 

Last reviewed: 24 - 07 - 2013

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