Preliminary Ecological Appraisal 14 - 15 Yeosfield, Riseley On behalf of Ridge and Partners LLP April 2019 - Wokingham Borough Council

 
Preliminary Ecological Appraisal 14 - 15 Yeosfield, Riseley On behalf of Ridge and Partners LLP April 2019 - Wokingham Borough Council
Preliminary Ecological
              Appraisal

         14 – 15 Yeosfield, Riseley

  On behalf of Ridge and Partners LLP

                      April 2019

                      Ecology by Design Ltd,

    Hampden House, Monument Park, Chalgrove, Oxon OX44 7RW.

          Tel 01865 893346   www.ecologybydesign.co.uk
Preliminary Ecological Appraisal 14 - 15 Yeosfield, Riseley On behalf of Ridge and Partners LLP April 2019 - Wokingham Borough Council
Project Code                                 Title                               Date of Issue
       EBD00830                         14 – 15 Yeosfield, Riseley                    11th April 2019

                                                  Name                                     Date
      Prepared by               Emily Power BSc (Hons) MSc Grad CIEEM                 10th April 2019
      Checked by                 Ben Gardner BSc (Hons) MCIEEM CEnv                   10th April 2019

Copyright Ecology by Design Ltd. All rights reserved.

No part of this report may be copied or reproduced by any means without prior written consent from
Ecology by Design Ltd. If you have received this report in error please destroy all copies in your possession
or control and notify Ecology by Design Ltd.

This report has been commissioned for the exclusive use of the commissioning party unless otherwise
agreed in writing by Ecology by Design Ltd; no other party may use, make use of or rely on the contents
of the report. No liability is accepted by Ecology by Design Ltd for any of this report, other than for the
purposes for which it was originally prepared and provided.

Opinions and information provided in this report are on basis of Ecology by Design Ltd using due skill, care
and diligence in the preparation of this report and no explicit warranty is provided as to its accuracy. It
should be noted that no independent verification of any of the documents or information supplied to
Ecology by Design Ltd has been made.
Preliminary Ecological Appraisal 14 - 15 Yeosfield, Riseley On behalf of Ridge and Partners LLP April 2019 - Wokingham Borough Council
Contents

1     Executive Summary ..................................................................................................................... 3
   1.1     Recommendations ...................................................................................................................... 3
Introduction ......................................................................................................................................... 4
   1.2     Background and Survey Objectives ............................................................................................ 4
   1.3     Site Description ........................................................................................................................... 4
   1.4     Proposed Works ......................................................................................................................... 4
   1.5     Limitations/ Constraints ............................................................................................................. 5
2     Methods ...................................................................................................................................... 5
   2.1     Desk Study .................................................................................................................................. 5
   2.2     Preliminary Ecological Appraisal ................................................................................................ 5
3     Results ......................................................................................................................................... 5
   3.1     Desk Study .................................................................................................................................. 5
   3.2     Phase 1 Habitat Survey............................................................................................................. 12
   3.3     Protected Species Survey Results.............................................................................................. 13
4     Discussion .................................................................................................................................. 15
   4.1     Evaluation and Impacts ............................................................................................................ 15
5     Recommendations and Mitigation strategy ............................................................................... 16
6     Relevant Legislation and Policy .................................................................................................. 18
   6.1     European Protected Sites ......................................................................................................... 18
   6.2     Natural Environment & Rural Communities Act 2006 .............................................................. 18
   6.3     National Planning Policy Framework ....................................................................................... 18
   6.4     Local Planning Policy ................................................................................................................ 19
   6.5     Hedgerows ............................................................................................................................... 20
   6.6     Protected Species ..................................................................................................................... 20
7     References ................................................................................................................................. 22

Appendix 1 - Photographs .................................................................................................................. 23
Appendix 2 – Site Plan ....................................................................................................................... 25
Appendix 3 – Species List ................................................................................................................... 26
Appendix 4 – Definitions of the level of Habitat Value ....................................................................... 28
Appendix 5 – Definitions of the level of Species Value........................................................................ 29
Appendix 6 – Enhancements .............................................................................................................. 30
Preliminary Ecological Appraisal 14 - 15 Yeosfield, Riseley On behalf of Ridge and Partners LLP April 2019 - Wokingham Borough Council
1 Executive Summary

Ecology by Design Ltd was commissioned by Ridge and Partners LLP to undertake a Preliminary Ecological
Appraisal of land known as 14 – 15 Yeosfield, in Riseley, Reading, RG7 1SG (SU 71993 63133). The client
seeks planning permission for the construction of a residential dwelling.

      •    The site was formed of amenity grassland, hard-standing, building and species-poor hedgerow.
           Scattered trees overhung the site on the northern boundary;
      •    The site was adjacent to the St Leger’s Copse local wildlife site;
      •    The scattered trees had the potential to provide foraging and commuting opportunities for bats;
           and
      •    The scattered trees and species-poor hedgerow had the potential to support nesting birds.

1.1       Recommendations

      •    An arborist should be contacted to devise a strategy to protect the trees along the northern
           boundary from any impacts of the development;
      •    If any works are required to the trees along the northern boundary, an assessment for bats must
           be undertaken, which may comprise an initial aerial survey and potentially further surveys to
           determine the type of roost present;
      •    A lighting strategy should be devised to ensure that there is no light spill on the trees on the
           northern boundary of the site;
      •    All vegetation clearance of trees and hedgerows should be undertaken outside the breeding bird
           season, which is considered to be March – August inclusive;
      •    Brash piles should be dismantled by hand to avoid injury to reptiles;
      •    Any trenches should be closed overnight, or a ramp installed to allow hedgehogs the opportunity
           to escape;
      •    Recommendations for ecological enhancements are included within Chapter 6 of this report,
           including incorporation of a planting scheme using native plants, construction of log piles and
           installation of bat boxes on mature trees around the site; and
      •    Should potential development not commence within 2 years of this report a resurvey is
           recommended due to the potential for the ecological interest of the site to change.

 Ecology by Design Ltd                               Page | 3                       Reference: EBD00830
Preliminary Ecological Appraisal 14 - 15 Yeosfield, Riseley On behalf of Ridge and Partners LLP April 2019 - Wokingham Borough Council
Introduction

1.2       Background and Survey Objectives

Ecology by Design Ltd was commissioned by Ridge and Partners LLP to undertake a Preliminary Ecological
Appraisal of land known as 14 – 15 Yeosfield, in Riseley, Reading, RG7 1SG (SU 71993 63133). The client
seeks planning permission for the construction of a residential dwelling.

The aim of the survey and supporting desk study was to satisfy the requirements of the National Planning
Policy Framework and relevant legislation and to identify ecological features within or near the site that
could potentially pose a constraint to the proposed works and highlight any opportunities for
incorporating biodiversity enhancements into the proposals.

The objectives of this report are:

      •    To identify designated nature conservation sites within the vicinity of the site;
      •    To identify any records and/or populations of protected, notable or scarce species in the vicinity
           of the site;
      •    To record habitats or features of ecological interest within or in immediate proximity of the site;
      •    To record the presence of, or potential for, protected or notable species;
      •    To make an ecological assessment and highlight potential ecological constraints;
      •    To outline any further survey work and potential protected species requirements if relevant; and
      •    To make suggestions for mitigation and compensation where appropriate.

1.3       Site Description

The site extends to approximately 0.07 hectares and comprises fenced areas of amenity grassland. There
are mature trees outside the site boundary along the northern boundary of the site. The site is situated
on the western side of the town of Riseley, between residential properties on a residential cul-de-sac,
immediately south of St Leger’s Copse local wildlife site. The wider landscape comprises the residential
area of Riseley to the south and east, and woodlands and agricultural fields to the west and north,
interlinked by hedgerows.

1.4       Proposed Works

The proposal is for a two storey detached residential dwelling with associated gardens and car parking.
The building is to be situated to the south of the site and therefore should be clear of the trees along the
northern boundary.

 Ecology by Design Ltd                              Page | 4                            Reference: EBD00830
Preliminary Ecological Appraisal 14 - 15 Yeosfield, Riseley On behalf of Ridge and Partners LLP April 2019 - Wokingham Borough Council
1.5       Limitations/ Constraints

The wildlife and wider ecological interest of a site can change. The report presented here is a statement
of the findings of a survey carried out during April 2019. Any appreciable delay in making reference to this
report may necessitate a re-survey.

Weather conditions were considered suitable to conduct the survey.

2 Methods

2.1       Desk Study

A desk study was carried out to identify statutory and non-statutory designated sites within 7km
(Internationally designated sites) and 5km (Nationally designated sites) and records of protected or
notable species within 2km of the site.

Sources consulted include:

      •    Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre (http://www.tverc.org)
      •    Hampshire Biodiversity Information Centre
           (https://www.hants.gov.uk/landplanningandenvironment/environment/biodiversity/informatio
           ncentre)
      •    MAGIC (www.magic.gov.uk)
      •    Habitats and Species of Principal Importance
      •    Local Planning Policy documents

2.2       Preliminary Ecological Appraisal

A preliminary ecological appraisal was conducted on 3rd April 2019 by Ecology by Design ecologist Emily
Power and assistant ecologist Beth England using standard techniques and methodologies and the
nomenclature of Stace (2010). The PEA includes a survey of the habitats utilising the standard phase 1
habitat survey methodology (JNCC, 2007) as well as a scoping assessment of the presence of, or potential
for protected and notable species. Where potential impacts are identified the PEA is extended to include
an assessment of impact and mitigation required.

3 Results

3.1       Desk Study

There was one internationally designated site within 7km of the search area, three nationally designated
sites within 5km and eleven locally designated sites within 2km.

 Ecology by Design Ltd                            Page | 5                          Reference: EBD00830
Preliminary Ecological Appraisal 14 - 15 Yeosfield, Riseley On behalf of Ridge and Partners LLP April 2019 - Wokingham Borough Council
There are three statutory designated sites within the search area and fifteen non-statutory sites.

Table 1. Statutory designated sites

                      Site Name                       Designations         Distance (km)        Direction

                 Thames Basin Heaths                       SPA                  2.4                  E

          Stanford End Mill and River Loddon               SSSI                 1.3                  W

                       Bramshill                           SSSI                 2.3                  E

                    Hazeley Heath                          SSSI                 4.1                  SE

                Swallowfield Meadow                        LNR                  1.6                  NE

SPA- Special Protection Area
SSSI - Site of Special Scientific Interest
Table 2. Non-statutory designated sites

                      Site Name                       Designations         Distance (km)        Direction

           River Loddon and Lower Mill Fen                 SINC                 1.8                  SW

                  Stratfield Saye Lake                     SINC                 1.4                  W

               The Plantation, Heckfield                   SINC                 1.5                  S

               New Inn Copse, Heckfield                    SINC                 0.6                  S

                  Coldharbour Wood                         SINC                 0.2                  S

                South of Birchen Copse                     SINC                 1.3                  SE

             Birchen Copse and Mill Wood                   SINC                 0.9                  E

            Wellington Country Park Lakes                  SINC                  1                   E

                   River Whitewater                        SINC                 1.9                  E

            St Leger’s Copse, Collin’s Copse               LWS                 0.01                  N

                   Highgrove Copse                         LWS                  0.7                  NW

                Wood and Ditch/Moat                        LWS                  1.7                  NW

 Ecology by Design Ltd                          Page | 6                             Reference: EBD00830
Preliminary Ecological Appraisal 14 - 15 Yeosfield, Riseley On behalf of Ridge and Partners LLP April 2019 - Wokingham Borough Council
The Marshes, Riseley                        LWS                   1.4                   E

LWS – Local Wildlife Site

SINC – Site of Importance for Nature Conservation

Thames Basin Heaths SPA is a complex of heathlands in southern England and was designated for
supporting the following Annex 1 species: Dartford warbler (Sylvia undata), nightjar (Caprimulgus
europaeus) and woodlark (Lullula arborea).

Stanford End Mill and River Loddon SSSI was designated for its waterlogged hay meadows and stretch of
the River Loddon, which support nationally important populations of fritillary (Fritillary meleagris) and the
Loddon pondweed (Potamogeton nodosus).

Bramshill SSSI was designated for its series of shallow acid ponds and mire, and a conifer plantation which
supports nightjar, woodlark and Dartford warbler.

Hazeley Heath SSSI was designated for its range of heathland plant communities.

The site falls within the Impact Risk Zones of the surrounding SSSIs and the SPA.

Swallowfield Meadow LNR was designated for its meadows which are rich in plant and wildlife diversity,
including supporting water vole.

The Local Wildlife Sites were largely designated for supporting hedgerows, woodlands and ponds. The
most relevant local wildlife site to this site is St Leger’s Copse which is an area of ancient woodland located
on the other side of Bull Lane from the site. The SINCs were designated for supporting species including
water speedwell (Veronica anagalis-aquatica), gadwall (Anas strepera), Eurasian hobby (Falco subbuteo)
and tawny sedge (Carex hostiana).

Table 2. Records of selected protected or notable species within 2km of the site from Hampshire
Biodiversity Information Centre:

                                                                Distance
       Species            Type      Designation      Date                  Direction           Location
                                                                    (km)

      Barn Owl            HBIC           WCA1        2010           1.9       SW          Stratfield Saye Park

      Brambling           HBIC           WCA1        2008           0.5        E                Riseley

       Cuckoo             HBIC       BOCC Red        2017
Preliminary Ecological Appraisal 14 - 15 Yeosfield, Riseley On behalf of Ridge and Partners LLP April 2019 - Wokingham Borough Council
Fieldfare          HBIC   BOCC Red     2017     1.9   SW      Stratfield Saye Park

                                WCA1

     Firecrest          HBIC    WCA1        2016     1.9   SW      Stratfield Saye Park

                                HBAP

   Grey Wagtail         HBIC   BOCC Red     2004     1.9   SW      Stratfield Saye Park

  House Sparrow         HBIC   BOCC Red     2011
Preliminary Ecological Appraisal 14 - 15 Yeosfield, Riseley On behalf of Ridge and Partners LLP April 2019 - Wokingham Borough Council
S41

   Eurasian Badger       HBIC      PBA            2014        N/A        N/A           N/A

  Brown Long-eared       HBIC      EPS            2010        0.9         S            N/A
         Bat                       S41
                                  WCA5

     Myotis spp          HBIC      EPS            2010        0.9         S            N/A
                                   S41
                                  WCA5
                                   HBAP

     Noctule Bat         HBIC      EPS            2010        0.9         S            N/A

                                   S41
                                  WCA5

      Pipistrelle        HBIC      EPS            2010        0.9         S            N/A

                                  WCA5

                                   HBAP

       Serotine          HBIC      EPS            2010        0.9         S            N/A

                                  WCA5

                                   HBAP

  Soprano Pipistrelle    HBIC      EPS            2010        0.9         S            N/A
                                   S41

                                  WCA5

EPS = European Protected Species (Annex 4)
EPS2 = European Protected Species (Annex 2)
PBA = Protection of Badgers Act
WCA5 = Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 Schedule 5 Species
WCA1 = Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 Schedule 1 Species
BOCC: amber/red = Birds of Conservation Concern
S41 = Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act section 41 species
HBAP = Hampshire Biodiversity Action Plan

 Ecology by Design Ltd                        Page | 9                         Reference: EBD00830
Table 3. Records of selected protected or notable species within 2km of the site from Thames Valley
Environmental Records Centre:

                                                              Distance
      Species       Type         Designation           Date              Direction       Location
                                                               (km)

   Great Crested   TVERC             EPS               2015     1.5         N        Basingstoke Road,
       Newt                                                                            Swallowfield
                                    WCA5

                                     S41

   Palmate Newt    TVERC            WCA5               2008     1.4         E          School lane,
                                                                                       Swallowfield

   Smooth Newt     TVERC            WCA5               2008     1.4         E          School lane,
                                                                                       Swallowfield

    Grass Snake    TVERC            WCA5               2010     1.3         W          River Loddon
                                                                                     Stanford End SSSI
                                     S41

     Barn Owl      TVERC            WCA1               2007     1.6         N          Wyvols Court
                                                                                     Farm, Swallowfied

     Bullfinch     TVERC             S41               2005     1.6         N          Swallowfield

                                 BOCC Amber

     Fieldfare     TVERC            WCA1               2004     1.6         N          Swallowfield

                                  BOCC Red

   House Martin    TVERC         BOCC Amber            2005     1.6         N          Swallowfield

  House Sparrow    TVERC             S41               2005     1.6         N        Swallowfield area

                                  BOCC Red

      Linnet       TVERC             S41               2005     1.6         N          Swallowfield

                                  BOCC Red

     Red Kite      TVERC            WCA1               2005     1.6         N          Swallowfield

 Ecology by Design Ltd                         Page | 10                        Reference: EBD00830
Song Thrush      TVERC     S41              2004   1.6   N          Swallowfield

                           BOCC Red

    Spotted        TVERC     S41              2005   1.6   N          Swallowfield
   Flycatcher
                           BOCC Red

 Yellowhammer      TVERC     S41              2005   1.6   N          Swallowfield

                           BOCC Red

 Eurasian Badger   TVERC     PBA              2013
S41

      Noctule spp        TVERC              EPS            2017
3.2.2     Amenity grassland
The majority of the site was formed of amenity grassland, characterised by managed perennial rye-grass
(Lolium perenne) and Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus), with forbs throughout the sward including cleavers
(Galium aparine), nettles (Urtica dioica) and thistle (Cirsium sp.). There were patches particularly around
the site boundaries where forbs were more common, which included red dead-nettle (Lamium
purpureum), lesser celandine (Ficaria verna), lord’s-and-ladies (Arum maculatum) and garlic mustard
(Alliaria petiolata).

3.2.3     Building
There a single shed at the site, which was wooden and used for storage purposes.

3.2.4     Hard-standing
There was an area of hard-standing at the south of the site which comprised gravel for car parking
purposes.

3.2.5     Species-poor hedgerow
There was one species-poor hedgerow on the south-eastern boundary of the site which comprised
cotoneaster (Cotoneaster sp.) and ornamental shrubs.

3.2.6     Fence
Bisecting the centre of the site and surrounding the western and northern site boundaries was a wooden
fence.

3.2.7     Target Notes
Target Note 1 refers to a bonfire heap which was present on site, and Target Note 2 refers to a brash pile.

3.3      Protected Species Survey Results

3.3.1     White-clawed crayfish
There was no suitable habitat for white-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes) and there were also
no records within 2km of the site.

3.3.2     Great crested newts
The amenity grassland on site was of low suitability for great crested newts, as the grassland was
managed, with very few potential resting opportunities. The closest ponds were located over 700m to the
east, on the other side of the residential area of Riseley. There were records of great crested newts,
however the closest of these was located 1.5km to the north.

 Ecology by Design Ltd                          Page | 13                          Reference: EBD00830
3.3.3      Reptiles
The grassland on site was of low suitability for reptiles due to the close management of the grassland.
There were records for grass snake within 2km of the site, however these were from the Stanford End
Mill and River Loddon SSSI.

3.3.4      Birds
There were opportunities for nesting birds within the scattered trees and the species-poor hedgerow.
House sparrows (Passer domesticus) were observed within the hedgerow during the site visit. There were
records of a variety of birds in the vicinity including song thrush (Turdus philomelos) and starling (Sturnus
vulgaris), as well as records of Schedule 1 species including barn owl (Tyto alba) and red kite (Milvus
milvus).

3.3.5      Bats
There were records of common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus), soprano pipistrelle (Pipistrellus
pygmaeus), brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus), myotis (Myotis sp.), serotine (Eptesicus serotinus)
and noctule (Nyctalus noctula) within 2km of the site.

There were mature trees along the northern boundary of the site with the potential to support bats due
to the presence of potential roost features. The shed on site did not have any potential for bats as there
were no roosting features externally, and the only access feature was the open window, however this was
blocked by stored materials within the shed.

The scattered trees along the northern boundary offered suitable foraging and commuting habitat for
bats.

3.3.6      Hazel dormouse
There were no records of hazel dormice (Muscardinius avellanarius) within 2km of the site. There is
potential for dormice to be present within the woodland to the north of the site across the road, however
there is no suitable habitat on the site itself.

3.3.7      Water vole
There were records of water vole (Arvicola amphibius) within 2km of the site associated with the River
Loddon, however there were no waterbodies suitable for water vole on the site itself.

3.3.8      Badger
There were no signs of badger (Meles meles) noted during the survey such as setts, runs or latrines,
however there were records within 2km of the site.

 Ecology by Design Ltd                             Page | 14                         Reference: EBD00830
3.3.9    Otter
There were no records of otter (Lutra lutra) within 2km of the site and no suitable habitat for otter at the
site.

3.3.10 Other species
There were records for hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) and brown hare (Lepus europaeus) within 2km.
There is suitable habitat for hedgehog on the site but not brown hare.

No other notable species are likely to occur.

4 Discussion

There was one internationally designated site, three nationally designated sites and one locally designed
site within the search area, and the site falls within the Impact Risk Zones of the SPA and the SSSIs.
Additionally, there were thirteen non-statutory designated sites, with nine SINCs and four LWSs. The site
does not contain any of the species or habitats for which these statutory and non-statutory sites were
designated, and the proposals comprise a small residential development within a similarly residential
area. The closest LWS is St Leger’s Copse, which is an area of ancient woodland, however the site is
separated from the LWS by Bull Lane, and the trees along the site boundary are due to be retained and
protected during works. Therefore, the development is unlikely to impact the nearby designated sites.

The amenity grassland at the site was of low suitability for great crested newts, however, due to the lack
of waterbodies and nearby records, it is highly unlikely that the site supports great crested newts.

There were records for six bat species within 2km of the site. The mature trees around the site have
features that could potentially be used by bats for roosting, and the trees offer suitable commuting and
foraging opportunities for bats.

The brash piles offered low suitability foraging and sheltering opportunities for reptiles.

The trees and hedgerows are likely to be utilised by nesting birds.

In the absence of any change to the management regime or the implementation of enhancements, the
ecological value of the site would be unlikely to significantly change.

4.1     Evaluation and Impacts

Using the criteria in the table (appendix 4), the habitats on the site are considered to be of negligible value
due to the habitats found on site being of low grade and widespread.

 Ecology by Design Ltd                            Page | 15                           Reference: EBD00830
The species value (appendix 5) of the site is considered to be of negligible value due to the species found
on site being common and widespread.

5 Recommendations and Mitigation strategy

In order to ensure that the development does not impact St Leger’s Copse LWS, it is advised that an
arborist is consulted to ensure that the trees along the northern boundary are sufficiently protected
during works.

Bats may roost in the trees and using the tree line as a commuting and foraging route. Therefore, no works
should be undertaken to the trees. If works are necessary, a survey for the potential of the trees to support
a bat roost should be undertaken, to comprise an aerial survey of any potential roost features that may
be impacted. Following this survey, further surveys may be recommended in order to determine the type
of roost and species present.

A sensitive lighting scheme should be designed to ensure that there is no light spill on the tree line, and
that any necessary lighting is motion-activated and set to a sensitivity that will not be triggered by small
mammals.

Reptiles may be present within the brash piles, and therefore the brash piles should be dismantled by
hand.

Any vegetation clearance of trees or hedgerows should be undertaken outside the breeding bird season,
which is considered to be March – August. If this is not possible, a check should be undertaken by an
ecologist and any active nests must be left in situ until the chicks have fledged and the nest has been
abandoned.

Any trenches should be closed overnight, or a ramp should be installed so that any animals such as
hedgehogs that fall inside have the opportunity to escape.

To enhance the site for biodiversity, various optional enhancements to the site are recommended below:

    •   Planting plans for the site should include a wide variety of native plants of local provenance to
        increase the foraging opportunities for bats as well as for moths. Native nectar-rich plants should
        be planted in the soft landscaped areas. These may include trees, shrubs and climbers such as
        hawthorn, field maple, honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum), dog-rose (Rosa canina agg.) and
        bramble, and flowers such as common mullein (Verbascum thapsus), black knapweed (Centaura
        nigra), ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare), primrose (Primula vulgaris) and yarrow (Achillea
        millefolium);

 Ecology by Design Ltd                           Page | 16                           Reference: EBD00830
•   Log piles may be created which will benefit amphibians, invertebrates, reptiles and hedgehogs;
  •   Bird boxes and bat boxes may be placed on mature trees to provide nesting and roosting
      opportunities (see examples in Appendix 6).

Ecology by Design Ltd                        Page | 17                         Reference: EBD00830
6 Relevant Legislation and Policy

6.1       European Protected Sites

Habitats of European-wide importance (other than for birds) are listed under Annex I of the Council
Directive 92/43/EEC (1992) on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (EC
Habitats Directive) (Ref. 8.5).

Habitats designated under this Directive are Special Areas of Conservation (SAC’s).

Habitats of European-wide importance for birds are listed under the EC Wild Birds Directive (1982)
(Ref.8.6). Habitats designated under this Directive are Special Protection Areas (SPA’s).

6.2       Natural Environment & Rural Communities Act 2006

Section 40 of the NERC Act, 2006 places a duty upon all local authorities in England to promote and
enhance biodiversity in all of their functions. Section 41 lists habitats and species of principal importance
to the conservation of biodiversity. These are all the habitats and species in England that have been
identified as requiring action in the UK. These species and habitats are a material consideration in the
planning process.

6.3       National Planning Policy Framework

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was updated in July 2018 thereby replacing the older
version of March 2012. The new framework sets out in section 15 that to protect and enhance biodiversity
and geodiversity, plans should:

      •    Identify, map and safeguard components of local wildlife-rich habitats and wider ecological
           networks, including the hierarchy of international, national and locally designated sites of
           importance for biodiversity; wildlife corridors and stepping stones that connect them; and areas
           identified by national and local partnerships for habitat management, enhancement, restoration
           or creation and
      •    promote the conservation, restoration and enhancement of priority habitats, ecological networks
           and the protection and recovery of priority species; and identify and pursue opportunities for
           securing measurable net gains for biodiversity.

When determining planning applications, local planning authorities should apply the following principles:

      •    if significant harm to biodiversity resulting from a development cannot be avoided (through
           locating on an alternative site with less harmful impacts), adequately mitigated, or, as a last resort,
           compensated for, then planning permission should be refused;

 Ecology by Design Ltd                               Page | 18                           Reference: EBD00830
•    development on land within or outside a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and which is likely to
           have an adverse effect on it (either individually or in combination with other developments),
           should not normally be permitted. The only exception is where the benefits of the development
           in the location proposed clearly outweigh both its likely impact on the features of the site that
           make it of special scientific interest, and any broader impacts on the national network of Sites of
           Special Scientific Interest;
      •    development resulting in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats (such as ancient
           woodland and ancient or veteran trees) should be refused, unless there are wholly exceptional
           reasons and a suitable compensation strategy exists; and
      •    development whose primary objective is to conserve or enhance biodiversity should be
           supported; while opportunities to incorporate biodiversity improvements in and around
           developments should be encouraged, especially where this can secure measurable net gains for
           biodiversity.

The following should be given the same protection as habitats sites:

      •    potential Special Protection Areas and possible Special Areas of Conservation;
      •    listed or proposed Ramsar sites; and
      •    sites identified, or required, as compensatory measures for adverse effects on habitats sites,
           potential Special Protection Areas, possible Special Areas of Conservation, and listed or proposed
           Ramsar sites.

The presumption in favour of sustainable development does not apply where development requiring
appropriate assessment because of its potential impact on a habitats site is being planned or determined.

6.4       Local Planning Policy

The Wokingham Local Plan comprises a Core Strategy which sets out the Council’s vision for development
in the borough.

Policy CP7 – Biodiversity

This policy states that ‘Development:

      A) Which may harm county designated sites (Local Wildlife Site in Berkshire), whether directly or
           indirectly, or
      B) Which may harm habitats or, species of principle importance in England for nature conservation,
           veteran trees or features of the landscape that are of major importance for wild flora and fauna
           (including wildlife and river corridors), whether directly or indirectly, or

 Ecology by Design Ltd                               Page | 19                            Reference: EBD00830
C) That compromises the implementation of the national, regional, county and local biodiversity
             action plans

      Will only be permitted if it has been clearly demonstrated that the need for the proposal outweighs
      the need to safeguard the nature conservation importance, that no alternative site that would result
      in less or no harm is available which will meet the need, and:

      i)         Mitigation measures can be put in place to prevent damaging impacts; or
      ii)        Appropriate compensation measure to offset the scale and kind of losses are provided.

6.5         Hedgerows

Hedgerows are protected by the Hedgerows Regulations 1997, under which it is an offence to remove or
destroy certain hedgerows without permission from the Local Planning Authority.

These regulations do not apply to any hedgerow within the curtilage of, or marking the boundary of the
curtilage of, a dwelling house.

6.6         Protected Species

6.6.1        Great crested newt
Great Crested Newts are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and the EC
Habitats Directive, implemented in the UK by the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 1994
(as amended). It is illegal to kill, injure or disturb Great Crested Newts and to damage or destroy their
breeding and resting places.

6.6.2        Reptiles
Slow-worm, adder, grass snake and common lizard are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act
1981 (as amended). It is illegal to kill or injure them.

It is not illegal to capture, disturb or to damage their habitats. However, the reptiles themselves are
protected so any works to damage their habitat could risk causing harm to reptiles and hence could be
illegal.

In addition, smooth snake and sand lizard receive additional legal protection making it an offence to
disturb them or to cause damage to their habitat.

6.6.3        Bats
Bats and their roost sites are protected by UK and European legislation.

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) makes it an offence to:

 Ecology by Design Ltd                             Page | 20                         Reference: EBD00830
•   Intentionally or recklessly disturb a bat while it is occupying a structure or place which it uses for
        that purpose.

Additionally, the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 make it an offence to:

    •   Deliberately capture or kill a bat;
    •   Deliberately disturb a bat;
    •   Damage or destroy a breeding site or a resting place of a bat; and
    •   Keep, transport, sell or exchange or offer for sale or exchange alive or dead bat or any part of a
        bat.

6.6.4   Birds
Wild birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). It is illegal to take or
harm them, their nests (whilst in use or being built) or their eggs.

Additionally, for some species it is an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb the adults while they
are in and around their nest or intentionally or recklessly disturb their dependent young (schedule 1
species).

 Ecology by Design Ltd                           Page | 21                           Reference: EBD00830
7 References

Collins, J. (ed.) (2016) Bat surveys for Professional Ecologists: Good Practice Guidelines (3rd edn). The Bat
Conservation Trust, London

JNCC, (2007). Handbook for Phase 1 Habitat Survey. A technique for environmental audit (reprint). Joint
Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough.

Oldham R.S., et al. (2000). Evaluating the suitability of habitat for the Great Crested Newt (Triturus
cristatus). Herpetological Journal 10 (4), 143-155

Stace, C. (2010) New British Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press.

Wokingham Borough Council (2010). Wokingham Borough Core Strategy (adopted 29 January 2010)

 Ecology by Design Ltd                           Page | 22                             Reference: EBD00830
Appendix 1 - Photographs

                             Photo 1: Site showing amenity grassland

        Photo 2: Species-poor hedgerow                        Photo 3: Hard-standing

              Photo 4: Brash pile                             Photo 5: Wooden shed

Ecology by Design Ltd                         Page | 23                          Reference: EBD00830
Photo 6: Extent of trees overhanging the site       Photo 7: Bull Lane separating the site from St
                                                                    Leger’s Copse LWS

Ecology by Design Ltd                             Page | 24                          Reference: EBD00830
Appendix 2 – Site Plan

Next page.

 Ecology by Design Ltd   Page | 25   Reference: EBD00830
Appendix 3 – Species List

                Common Name                                         Latin

                                       Trees and Shrubs

                        Ash                                   Fraxinus excelsior

                   Bramble                                  Rubus fruticosus agg.

                Butterfly-bush                                Buddleia davidii

                 Cotoneaster                                   Cotoneaster sp.

                        Elm                                    Ulmus procera

                Rhododendron                              Rhododendron ponticum

                        Oak                                    Quercus robur
                                            Forbs

                   Bluebell                               Hyacinthoides non-scripta

                   Cat’s-ear                                Hypochaeris radicata

                   Cleavers                                    Galium aparine

             Creeping buttercup                              Ranunculus repens

               Common nettle                                    Urtica dioica

                     Daisy                                     Bellis perennis

                  Dandelion                               Taraxacum officinale agg.

                     Dock                                        Rumex sp.

            Dove’s-foot crane’s-bill                          Geranium molle

                Garlic mustard                                 Alliaria petiola

                 Herb-Robert                               Geranium robertianum

               Lesser celandine                                 Ficaria verna

               Lord’s-and-ladies                              Arum maculatum

                  Mouse-ear                                     Cerastium sp.

               Red dead-nettle                              Lamium purpureum

               Ribwort plantain                             Plantago lanceolata

                  Speedwell                                     Veronica sp.

                 White clover                                 Trifolium repens

Ecology by Design Ltd                       Page | 26                           Reference: EBD00830
Grasses, Rushes and Sedges

              Perennial rye-grass                                Lolium perenne

                Yorkshire-fog                                    Holcus lanatus

Ecology by Design Ltd                         Page | 27                       Reference: EBD00830
Appendix 4 – Definitions of the level of Habitat Value

 Geographic level
                                                       Examples
     of Value

 International      Ramsar Sites, Special Protection Areas, Biosphere Reserves, Special Areas of
     value          Conservation. Sites supporting populations of internationally important species.
 National value     SSSIs or non-designated Sites meeting SSSI selection criteria, NNRs, Marine
                    Nature Reserves, NCR Grade 1 Sites. Sites containing viable areas of key habitats
                    identified in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.
 Regional value     Sites containing viable areas of threatened habitats listed in a Regional BAP (or
                    some Natural Areas), comfortably exceeding SINC criteria, but not exceeding
                    SSSI criteria.
   County /         Sites meeting the criteria for county or metropolitan designation (SINC, CWS,
  Metropolitan      etc.). Ancient semi-natural woodland, LNRs or viable areas of key habitat types
                    listed in county BAPs/Natural Areas.
    District /      Undesignated Sites or features considered to appreciably enrich the habitat
    Borough         resource in the District or Borough.

     Parish /       Undesignated Sites or features which appreciably enrich the habitat resource
 Neighbourhood      within the Parish or Neighbourhood.

 Negligible value   Low grade and widespread habitats.

Ecology by Design Ltd                           Page | 28                          Reference: EBD00830
Appendix 5 – Definitions of the level of Species Value

 Geographic level
                                                          Examples
     of Value

  International     Any regularly occurring population of an internationally important species,
                    which is threatened or rare in the UK. i.e. it is a UK Red Data Book species or
                    listed as occurring in 15 or fewer 10km squares in the UK (categories 1 and 2 in
                    the UK BAP) or of uncertain conservation status or of global conservation
                    concern in the UK BAP.
                    A regularly occurring, nationally significant population/number of any
                    internationally important species.
    National        Any regularly occurring population of a nationally important species which is
                    threatened or rare in the region or county (see local BAP).
                    A regularly occurring, regionally or county significant population/number of any
                    nationally important species.
    Regional        Any regularly occurring, locally significant population of a species listed as being
                    nationally scarce which occurs in 16-100 10km squares in the UK or in a Regional
                    BAP or relevant Natural Area on account of its regional rarity or localisation;
                    A regularly occurring, locally significant number of a regionally important
                    species.
   County/          Any regularly occurring, locally significant population of a species which is listed
  Metropolitan      in a County/Metropolitan “red data book” or BAP on account of its regional
                    rarity or localisation;
                    A regularly occurring, locally significant number of a County/Metropolitan
                    important species.
    District /      A population of a species that is listed in a District/Borough BAP because of its
    Borough         rarity in the locality or in the relevant Natural Area profile because of its regional
                    rarity or localisation;
                    A regularly occurring, locally significant number of a District / Borough
                    important species during a critical phase of its life cycle.
     Parish /       Species that are not threatened but are valued at a local level on intrinsic
 Neighbourhood      appeal.
   Negligible       Common or widespread species.

Ecology by Design Ltd                            Page | 29                             Reference: EBD00830
Appendix 6 – Enhancements

                   Products                              Description

                                 1B Schwegler Nest Box
                                 A box that provides a home for a range of species from a
                                 durable wood-concrete mix which is breathable and long
                                 lasting. It can be fitted onto a suitable wall on all types of
                                 housing.

                                 There are two entrance hole sizes to suit different sized
                                 birds.

                                 https://www.nhbs.com/1b-schwegler-nest-box

                                 2F Schwegler Bat Box (General Purpose)

                                 A box that provides a home for summer roosting bats, made
                                 of durable wood-concrete mix which will last for 20 – 25
                                 years. This bat box is best sited 3 – 6m high in an open,
                                 sunny position.

                                 https://www.nhbs.com/2f-schwegler-bat-box-general-
                                 purpose

Ecology by Design Ltd         Page | 30                            Reference: EBD00830
You can also read
NEXT SLIDES ... Cancel