What we do

We give advice to Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) on planning applications and to Hampshire County Council departments on their own development

Working with the Local Planning Authorities (LPAs)

Several LPAs employ the Ecology Team under a Service Level Agreement to comment on planning applications. LPAs need to make sure decisions are legal, and meet local and national biodiversity policies. Our advice to LPAs is provided in that context.

  • Legal and policy issues might include protected areas of land and protected habitats and species
  • We have expertise on the correct way to survey and report on these issues, which is important in knowing if development will cause harm
  • Where appropriate, we will also provide advice on the best ways to avoid or lessen any impacts

Our opinion is used by the LPA to determine if a development proposal is acceptable or not.

  • Hampshire County Council itself does not comment on local planning issues
  • Our comments are made as if we were directly employed as an internal consultee by the relevant LPA
  • The Ecology Team only comment under contract on behalf of the LPAs
  • We very rarely carry out site visits relying instead on ecological appraisals carried out by the applicant, and data from Hampshire Biodiversity Information Centre (HBIC)

Please contact your LPA first with any queries about biodiversity and planning. This includes suspected breaches of planning permissions or conditions.

If you believe that any work or actions being carried out on a site may harm protected species, it may not be in the power of the local authority to take any action.

The best course of action is to contact your local Police wildlife crime officer.

Hampshire Highways

Impacts to biodiversity can be caused by:

  • maintenance or improvement of an existing road (from ditch clearance to lane widening)
  • building a new road
  • damaging or removing a habitat
  • machinery which can kill or injure animals (which may be legally protected, or be of local interest)

Habitats or animals outside the footprint of the work can also be affected by disturbance to, or removal of components of, the habitat network.

This is important where, for example:

  • watercourses connect with drainage
  • changes to the road will increase air pollution
  • hedges need to be removed

The Ecology Team are an integral part of the Hampshire Highways team. We: 

  • carry out surveys to understand what features are present at or near a site of proposed roadworks and how these will be affected
  • use survey information and work closely with the Highways team to design measures to avoid impacts specific to each project
  • ensure measures to avoid impacts are built into designing, programming and carrying out of the work
  • pay attention to the correct methods of surveying and reporting to give an accurate assessment of the area being affected

Where impacts cannot be avoided, we work to ensure impacts are minimised as far as possible, and to compensate for any residual impacts.

All our work is carried out following well-established industry methodologies and best practice.

Hampshire property

Hampshire County Council owns and manages a large range of different properties. The portfolio includes:

  • schools
  • care facilities
  • offices

Maintenance, demolition and redevelopment can cause harm to biodiversity if projects are not carefully designed.

Many animals can live:

  • inside buildings
  • within the trees and hedges in the boundaries
  • within other vegetation

Some animals and their habitats are protected by law.

The Ecology Team are an integral part of the teams involved with works to our property. We:

  • carry out surveys and provide advice on avoiding impacts specific to each project
  • ensure this advice to avoid impacts is built into designing, programming and carrying out the work
  • pay attention to the correct methods of surveying, data gathering and usage to give an accurate assessment of the area

One of the main considerations that arise from works to property is the impact to bats. Bat ecology is complex. It requires expert assessment to establish if bats are present within buildings and if they are present, how they are using that building. Where bats or other species are present, we ensure that works are carried out to avoid or lessen impacts.

Advice and further information
Contact the Ecology Team

Email: ecology.group@hants.gov.uk