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Will Your Development Project Affect Protected Species?
When planning a construction project using scaffolding contractors in Leeds or elsewhere, you should always make sure that you carry out survey reports and mitigation plans if the work you have in mind could affect a protected species.
Surveys have to show whether these species are present in the area in question or nearby, and how they use the site. Your mitigation plans will have to show how you plan to avoid, reduce or manage potentially negative effects of the work you’re going to do.
These are necessary steps that Ed Sheeran may well find he has to take after discovering that there may be colonies of great crested newts living on his Suffolk estate and his plans to build a little chapel could well be put on hold as a result.
According to the BBC, the singer already has a planning application in place with Suffolk Coastal District Council for the structure but concerns about the wider area’s population of newts have now been raised.
The Suffolk Wildlife Trust has said that back in 2015 there were records of these newts in the local area and it’s possible that some of the ponds on Sheeran’s land could actually be breeding sites. It’s illegal to obstruct access to areas the newts live and breed, as well as to disturb them.
Apex Planning Consultants’ Paul Smith explained: “The applicant has responded promptly to this matter and has also commissioned an appropriate survey that will identify the presence of great crested newts or otherwise, propose mitigation measures as appropriate and recommend measures to enhance biodiversity.
“We were not aware of the historical presence of great crested newts nearby and certainly believe that none exist in the pond nearby to the application site.”
You should opt to have a survey carried out if historical records show that newts might be present, if there’s a pond within 500m of the development or if the development site includes scrub, grassland, hedgerows, woodland or refuges like log piles or rubble.
However, you may be able to exclude certain areas from the survey if the development won’t affect the newt population or if they’re highly unlikely to be present (if, for example, because the habitat isn’t suitable or because records reveal that no newts live nearby).
According to the official government website, you should adjust your survey timings based on your location and local weather conditions. For environmental DNA, search between mid-April and late June, conduct egg searches between April and June, set bottle or funnel traps between March and May and carry out torch surveys from mid-March to mid-June (or August to find larvae). You’re probably not going to find any eggs or larvae between November and January.
You’re advised to use three methods per visit and go to the site four times if you can’t find evidence of newts on the first visit. You can assume that there are no great crested newts if you can’t find them after four visits.