Terrestrial ecology

Terrestrial ecology

Expert advice for a robust and pragmatic approach to ecological issues

Our land-based ecology services cover a broad range of habitats and species within the context of wildlife legislation and policy. Wherever your organisation’s activities have potential to affect the ground, vegetation or built structures that support notable species, we have the knowledge and experience to help you avoid or manage such impacts to achieve your aims in a responsible and legally-compliant way.

We are pleased to provide the Ricardo Ecological Surveys Calendar , which covers most surveys in both terrestrial and aquatic environments. Click here to download the calendar for free.

Our services include:

Preliminary ecological appraisal

Our ecology team members are highly skilled in undertaking preliminary ecological appraisals, in accordance with the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) methodology, as part of planning applications and permitted development for a wide range of projects. Such services include:

  • Extended Phase 1 habitat surveys.
  • Bat roost potential assessments of trees and buildings.
  • Habitat Suitability Index assessments for great crested newts.

Detailed plant surveys

Our ecology team is regularly involved with projects that have the potential to support species-rich plant communities that may be adversely affected by a project and is highly experienced in undertaking detailed flora surveys in a range of habitats. Our services include:

  • Hedgerow surveys in accordance with the Hedgerow Regulations 1997.
  • National Vegetation Classification surveys and analysis of data using proprietary software.

Detailed surveys of protected species

Our ecologists hold a wide range of protected species survey licences, and many are highly-regarded specialists in their field. 

In addition to detailed survey work, the team also provides expert advice about protected species mitigation and holds European protected species mitigation licences and/or conservation licences for:

  • Great crested newt.
  • Bats.
  • Water vole.
  • Otter.
  • Badger.
  • Dormice.

Our team is also experienced in designing bespoke procedures to protect species and habitats that are not subject to statutory licensing procedures such as:

  • Reptile habitat enhancement, translocation and displacement.
  • Nesting bird displacement (that is, installing measures to discourage bird nesting prior to the start of the breeding bird season), avoidance measures and habitat enhancement.
  • Hedgerow translocation.
  • Grassland restoration/creation.
  • Woodland soil translocation.
  • Design of detailed management plans to maintain or enhance the biodiversity of a development site or adjacent area.

Ecological Impact Assessment and Habitat Regulations Assessment

Our support is fully informed by recent best-practice guidance (notably CIEEM guidance) and we have experts who are preparing ecological impact assessments (EcIA) for formal and informal environmental impact assessments (EIA) and strategic environmental assessments (SEA). The team has a wide range of habitat and species specialisms, and a robust understanding of wildlife legislation and government policy. We are able to deliver all stages of ecological impact assessments, including screening, scoping, full assessment and mitigation design. In addition, we have experience in conducting all stages of Habitat Regulations assessments from initial screening through to informing full appropriate assessment, to consideration of imperative reasons of overriding public interest (IROPI) and associated compensation strategies.

Construction site support

In addition to the above, our team provides expert Ecological Clerk of Works (ECoW) services for projects that require the provision of toolbox talks and/or onsite supervision to enable works to proceed without contravening relevant wildlife legislation.

Strategic planning

We are very experienced in helping clients to develop strategic plans and policies, and preparing and delivering associated formal guidance.  From the writing of biodiversity strategies, to the development of site conservation management plans, our team brings an enviable breadth and depth of ecological knowledge and communication skill to such projects. We also provide bespoke training to organisations to help raise ecological awareness and reduce operational risks.

Relevant resources