Plans showing proposed building in Chester

All creatures great and small: building in a conservation area

Posted on 31/08/22

Whether you have an existing property you’re looking to extend, or are dreaming of building something new, looking around at ground or even up at roof level might reveal a few surprises as to what other living creatures share your space. Some of them might need special considerations when it comes to planning being granted for your building project.

The UK countryside is full of biodiversity, with many animals and plants so engrained into our national identity that we often take them for granted. Sadly, many of these are also on the decline – hedgehogs, voles and bats are all struggling through a loss of habitat. It’s therefore vitally important to understand what flora and fauna shares your environment, so as to better protect these creatures during any property development.

In a flap

Did you know, there are around 17 species of bat in the UK? From the largest – the greater mouse eared bat – to the smallest, the common pipistrelle, bats are protected creatures. So, if your current property currently has a population of bats living within or around it, they legally cannot be removed. However, the Bat Conservation Trust provides ways to rehome them, such as encouraging their relocation to a bat box. Or if you wish to support these amazing creatures further, adding a bat box within your new property’s design can help to preserve this fascinating animal for future generations.

Bee happy

Bees are an essential part of our ecosystem, but sadly these pollinators are also on the decline. Ensuring that wildflower areas are not lost during construction, and encouraging a bee-friendly environment through the planting of pollinator-friendly plants and flowers when landscaping around your property, will help to provide all that bees need to thrive and survive. If you have the land and space, why not invest in a hive or two, to give these busy workers a home too?

Something to pond-er

If your property is lucky enough to have a pond or water area, it may be more than just frogs and toads that reside in it. Special checks are made for the presence of newts, such as for Greater Crested Newts, in and around a development area where water resides. This newt survey can only be completed at certain times of year, so if you miss the breeding season window when checks are made, then your construction will have to wait another year. It also takes time for the survey to be completed, so this must be taken into account in your development schedule.

See the wood for the trees

Protecting native trees and shrubs is also a sure way to help sustain creature populations too. As well as being essential providers of oxygen, these are often perching and nesting sites to all forms of birds – from the common sparrow to the rarer owl, and insect habitats as an essential food source for birds too. Incorporating your construction design around trees, shrubs and hedges, rather than immediately thinking of felling them, will also help to make your new design look more established and already part of the local landscape.

Natural Beauty

If you are lucky enough to live in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this will bring further challenges to your development design. Beyond ensuring it is in keeping with the character of the local area, there might be special aspects of conservation to the area which will need to be reviewed. The government has provided some guidance on traversing legislation for building in these areas.

Get in touch to find out how we can help you turn your property development into a reality, whilst providing a safe haven for all creatures.



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