Planning and Ecology

Phosphates Guidance from National Resources Wales

Phospates Guidance

Guidance for Planning Authorities from Natural Resources Wales regarding phospates levels in SAC Rivers in Wales published 2021 is below:

Advice and guidance for planning applications affecting phosphorus sensitive river Special Areas of Conservation

Phosphate overview map for Western & Eastern Cleddau

Phosphate overview map for The River Teifi

Phosphates Process Diagram

Phosphate position statement

ID: 7516, revised 25/04/2022
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European Protected Species (EPS) Otters and Planning

Introduction to otters

Otters are semi aquatic, living mainly along rivers and are fairly shy, solitary animals, most active around dusk and into the night. Otter numbers were in severe decline due in part to habitat loss and as a result of poor water quality but as conservation measures have taken hold population numbers are recovering. 

The otter is still at risk and as a result is a UK and European Protected Species afforded protection under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). It is an offence to capture, disturb, injure or kill an otter or to damage or destroy a breeding site or resting place.

Planning Applications and Surveys

When considering a planning application the presence of an otter as a European Protected Species (EPS) is a material consideration if the proposals are likely to result in disturbance or harm to the species. The Local Planning Authority will consider the potential impact of the development upon the species based on information provided by the applicant to support their application.

If there is evidence of otters on site an Otter Survey will be required to accompany any submitted planning application.  The survey can confirm if otters are present and recommend mitigation to protect the otters and reduce or remove the impact of development. This report along with plans showing the mitigation should be provided with the planning application at the time of submission.    

Otters as a feature of a Special Area of Conservation 

The Cleddau Rivers Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Pembrokeshire Marine SAC and Pembrokeshire Bat Sites and Bosherston Lake SAC management plan lists otters as a qualifying feature.  As a result if a development site is close to either of these SACs, or connected via a watercourse additional information may be required in the assessment of the proposal on the species. For further information see Protected Sites or consult the Planning Ecologist.

Licensing

If you are undertaking development or an activity that will affect otters or any other European Protected Species then it is likely you will require a licence from Natural Resources Wales (NRW). If the development requires planning permission this must be granted prior to obtaining a licence. Once approved it is the applicant's responsibility to apply for a licence and further information can be found by searching "European Protected Species licence" on the Natural Resources Wales website

Any queries relating to protected species and sites should be directed to:
Planning Ecologist
01437 776376
ecology@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

ID: 1968, revised 25/01/2022
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European Protected Species (EPS) Dormice and Planning

Introduction to dormice

Dormice are recognisable for their bright golden colour and thick furry tail. They are nocturnal and are commonly found in woodland and hedgerows, favouring coppiced woodland with hazel. These habitats provide a varied diet throughout the year and allow the dormice to move through the trees as they seem to avoid travelling over open ground. 

Dormouse populations are rare in Pembrokeshire and are threatened by the loss and fragmentation of habitat and poor woodland management. As such they are afforded protection under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).

Planning Applications and Surveys 

When considering a planning application the presence of a dormouse as a European Protected Species (EPS) is a material consideration if the proposal is likely to result in disturbance or harm to the species. The Local Planning Authority will consider the potential impact of the development upon the species based on information provided by the applicant to support their application.

If there is evidence of dormice on or adjacent to the development site a Dormouse Survey will be required to accompany any submitted planning application.  The survey can confirm if dormice are present and recommend mitigation to protect the dormice and reduce or remove the impact of development. This report along with plans showing the mitigation should be provided with the planning application at the time of submission.   

Licensing

If you are undertaking development or an activity that will affect dormice or any other European Protected Species then it is likely you will require a licence from Natural Resources Wales (NRW). If the development requires planning permission this must be granted prior to obtaining a licence. Once approved it is the applicant's responsibility to apply for a licence and further information can be found by searching "European Protected Species licence" on the Natural Resources Wales website 

Any queries relating to protected species and sites should be directed to:
Planning Ecologist
01437 776376
ecology@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

ID: 1972, revised 25/01/2022
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Planning and Ecology

In the role of Local Planning Authority (LPA) Pembrokeshire County Council has a responsibility to protect, conserve and enhance the natural environment when considering proposed development, planning applications and land use changes.

Vulnerable species and habitats can be adversely affected as a result of development and it is the responsibility of the LPA to consider the potential impact of the proposal upon the ecology of the site. If there is potential for any adverse impact, mitigation or compensation may need to be incorporated into the scheme to offset any negative consequences.

European and UK legislation, national and local plans place responsibilities on the LPA which include the protection of European Protected Species (EPS), UK protected species and Sites and Species of Principle Importance. The level of protection afforded to these species and habitats varies but it is a material consideration that their protection be considered at all stages of the planning and development process.

Relevant plans and legislation include:

Local Planning Policy

Pembrokeshire County Council Local Development Plan
GN.1 and GN.37

National Planning Policy

  • Planning Policy Wales (Edition 5, November 2012) Chapter 5
  • Technical Advice Note 5 (TAN 5), Nature Conservation and Planning (2009)

National Legislation

  • Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (transposes European legislation, the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive, into UK law)
  • Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
  • Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000
  • Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006

The Local Development Plan for Pembrokeshire County Council considers the potential impact of proposed development on the natural environment, species and habitats, under the headings GN.1 and GN.37.

GN.1 General Development Policy, criterion 4 provides that
Development will be permitted where it respects and protects the natural environment including protected habitats and species.

GN.37 Protection and Enhancement of Biodiversity
All development should demonstrate a positive approach to maintaining and, wherever possible, enhancing biodiversity. Development that would disturb or otherwise harm protected species or their habitats, or the integrity of other habitats, sites or features of importance to wildlife and individual species, will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances where the effects are minimised or mitigated through careful design, work scheduling or other appropriate measures.

The British Standards for Biodiversity - Code of practice for planning and development (BS 420202:2013) amalgamates best practice and guidance for those in the planning and development sector. Pembrokeshire County Council will take into account the British Standard for Biodiversity and would encourage those in the planning, development and environmental sector to adopt the processes and recommendations as published.

Validation

In accordance with Town & Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (Wales) Order 2012 and the British Standards for Biodiversity applications which require ecological surveys will not be validated until such information can be provided. The level of information should be necessary, relevant and proportionate to the development and adequate to inform the determination of the application.

The Trigger List for bats provides further information on proposals likely to require bat surveys, other activities likely to require ecological surveys include wind turbines, hydroelectric schemes and development adjacent to internationally and nationally important sites (see Protected Sites). Pre-application discussions provide an opportunity for applicants to identify if surveys are required and are recommended at an early stage.

For more information regarding ecological issues in relation to planning and development contact:

Planning Ecologist
Conservation Team
Planning
County Hall
Haverfordwest
SA61 1TP
01437 776376
ecology@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

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Pembrokeshire County Council Local Development Plan

ID: 1934, revised 19/01/2022
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Protected Species

A surprising number of unique species can be found in Pembrokeshire and more information about this can be found through the Biodiversity pages.

Species commonly affected by planning applications in Pembrokeshire include:

European Protected Species (EPS)

UK Protected Species

  • All wild birds, their nests and eggs
  • Barn Owl (additional protection from disturbance)
  • Badger
  • Reptiles

European Protected Species

When determining a planning application the presence of a European Protected Species (EPS) is a material consideration if the proposal is likely to result in disturbance or harm to the species and in some cases their habitat.

TAN 5 states:
"It is essential that the presence or otherwise of protected species, and the extent that they may be affected by the proposed development, is established before the planning permission is granted, otherwise all relevant material considerations may not have been addressed in making the decision."

The Local Planning Authority will consider the potential impact of the development upon the species based on information provided by the applicant to support their application. This may include a Protected Species or Extended Phase 1 Survey, proposals for compensation, mitigation or enhancement and drawings to support the inclusion of such features. Consultation will also take place with Natural Resources Wales (NRW), the Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation for the Welsh Government.

Having protected species on site rarely prevents development but the applicant will need to take steps to secure the protection of the species and that they comply with relevant legislation and licensing.

Consider ecological issues early to ensure they do not result in avoidable delays!

 

Any queries relating to protected species and sites should be directed to:

Planning Ecologist
01437 776376
ecology@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

ID: 1937, revised 19/01/2022
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Protected Sites

A surprising number of unique habitats and sites can be found in Pembrokeshire and more information about this can be found through the Biodiversity pages.

Internationally Important Sites and Planning  

Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protected Areas (SPA) have been designated in Pembrokeshire under the EC Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive respectively as sites that will make a significant contribution to conserving habitat and species identified as most in need of conservation throughout Europe.

There are several designated SACs in Pembrokeshire and certain aspects of development may impact upon features of the SAC. The Local Planning Authority must make an assessment of the implications of development on the SAC before approving any plan or project by screening the proposals through a Test of Likely Significant Effect (TLSE). If the proposals are likely to have a significant effect an Appropriate Assessment may have to be carried out.

Nationally Important Sites and Planning  

Within the UK sites that are nationally important for plants, animals or geological or physiographical features are protected by law as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). Within Wales there are 1,019 SSSIs and the smallest of these, a Lesser horseshoe bat roost, is to be found in Pembrokeshire.

Any proposed development that has the potential to harm nationally, regionally or locally important sites will be carefully assessed in accordance with national planning policy guidance. This is to ensure that sites and species dependent on the sites are protected from any potentially adverse impacts as a result of proposed development.       

Any queries relating to protected species and sites should be directed to:
Planning Ecologist
01437 776376
ecology@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

ID: 1947, revised 19/01/2022
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European Protected Species (EPS) Bats and Planning

Introduction to bats

Bat populations have declined drastically in recent years, many of our bats are under threat and several are very rare. This decline is due to a range of factors including loss of roosting sites and foraging habitat and the fragmentation of commuting routes. Image of one bat on a wall.

Each species of bat has its own preferred types of roost including buildings, churches, caves, mines, cellars, hollow or damaged trees and bridges. Bats feed on insects and will catch thousands every night while foraging in areas such as traditional pasture, gardens, woodland, marshes and ponds.

Bats breed slowly, producing only one offspring per year, or every other year with the females gathering in maternity colonies to give birth and rear their young. Consequently changes to their breeding site, brought about by development, can significantly impact a local population for a long time.

Bats are creatures of habit and return to the same roost sites year after year and for this reason the sites are legally protected, even when bats are absent. All bats and their roosts are fully protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010.

It is an offence to:

  • Deliberately kill, injure, catch or keep bats
  • Damage or destroy bat roosts
  • Deliberately disturb bats, for example by entering known roosts

Planning Applications and Surveys

  • Consider bats EARLY on in the planning process to avoid delays
  • Seek advice from the Planning Ecologist and Natural Resources Wales if you think your application will impact on European Protected Species
  • Commission a local licensed bat surveyor early - some surveys can only be done from May-September
  • Remember to carefully read your survey report - it may identify further work required prior to the submission of your planning application
  • Ensure your architect has incorporated all aspects of any mitigation on your final drawings prior to submission

If there is evidence of a confirmed roost on the site to be developed, or the development is listed on the following Trigger list then a Protected Species Survey for Bats will be required as part of your planning application. This should be included at the time of submission and cannot be conditioned.

The optimum survey period is between May and August however in limited circumstances scoping surveys can be undertaken outside this period. If you are in any doubt contact the Planning Ecologist for pre-application advice or contact a Licensed Bat Surveyor.

The following list details local Licensed Bat Surveyors (Consultants list) and Ecologists however inclusion on this list does not constitute a recommendation by Pembrokeshire County Council. For further guidance on survey reports see Ecological Survey Report Guidance.

Bats as a feature of a Special Area of Conservation 

The Pembrokeshire Bat Sites and Bosherston Lake Special Area of Conservation (SAC) management plan lists the Greater horseshoe and Lesser horseshoe bat as qualifying features. The North Pembrokeshire Woodlands SAC management plan lists the Barbastelle bat as a qualifying feature.  Image of a group of bats

If a development site is close to or directly affects any of the SAC features additional information may be required in the assessment of the proposal on the species. For further information see Protected Sites or consult the Planning Ecologist.

Licensing

If you are undertaking development or an activity that will affect a bat roost or any other European Protected Species then it is likely you will require a licence from Natural Resources Wales (NRW). If the development requires planning permission this must be granted prior to obtaining a licence. Once approved it is the applicant's responsibility to apply for a licence and further information can be found by searching "European Protected Species licence" on the Natural Resources Wales website

Any queries relating to protected species and sites should be directed to:
Planning Ecologist
01437 776376
ecology@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

ID: 1948, revised 25/01/2022
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