Ecologists at Harris Lamb have been working with a leading house-builder to ensure that sites earmarked for residential development aren’t at risk of delays due to protected species.

The business’ Environmental team has been working with Bloor Homes to survey a number of sites prior to planning applications being submitted to ensure that protected species are identified and considered in the scheme design.

Dr Holly Smith, who heads up the business’ Environmental team, said: “There are very strict guidelines surrounding the protection of certain species and how they can be dealt with – and they can seriously derail a project if they’re not adhered to.

Dr Holly Smith

“Plenty of developers – both commercial and residential – have unintentionally fallen foul of wildlife having ‘first dibs’ on their development site; great crested newts, bats and nesting birds being being typical species recorded; and the impact, if not identified early in the scheme design, both in terms of time and financially, can be significant.

“Bloor Homes retained us to carry out inspections at a number of potential residential sites prior to planning applications being submitted to ensure that ecological constraints are identified early and taken into consideration at the design stage to avoid impact on forthcoming developments and therefore on the business’ forecast construction and delivery phases,” she said.

The business has most recently worked with the developer to carry out assessments at the North Worcestershire Golf Course near Northfield, Birmingham, the West Worcestershire Urban Expansion and at land off Oak View Way, Worcester,  to ensure that Bloor Homes has up to date  comprehensive reports of each site from early site promotion and planning activity through to  site starts.

Nick Rawlings, Planning Director at Bloor Homes, commented: “Ecology often presents biodiversity opportunities as well as constraints. The key is to establish at the outset what the baseline position is and then identify any necessary mitigation measures which can be incorporated into land use and spatial considerations at the earliest opportunity.

“ In this respect Harris lamb’s professional, pro-active approach is valued by Bloor.”

Holly added: “An increasing number of developers are realising the impact that environmental issues can have on their reputation and their bottom line now, and with such a high demand to deliver new homes across the region, they are being conscientious in ensuring environmental impacts are minimised and enhancements created before they proceed.

“Ultimately it’s the environmentally responsible thing to do; it simply saves costly delays further down the line.”

The business will be supporting Bloor Homes in the coming months with assessments in Lower Bullingham, Hereford, and is in talks with a number of other house-builders with a view to providing support at forthcoming sites.