Legislation and Policy
Various invertebrates are protected through inclusion in Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, which consolidates all the various amendments made to the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 in respect of England and Wales. The 1994 Regulations transposed Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (EC Habitats Directive) into national law. Taken together, these legislative instruments make it illegal to carry out the following activities:-
• intentional kill, injure, or take a scheduled animal;
• damage, destroy, or obstruct access to any structure or place used by a scheduled animal for shelter or protection; and
• disturb of any scheduled animal occupying such a structure or place.
UK planning policy under the terms of Planning Policy Statement 9 (PPS 9) sets out the Government’s national policies on different aspects of planning in England that regional planning bodies and local planning authorities (LPAs) are expected to consider. Key components of this policy include:
• Planning decisions should be based on up-to-date information (e.g. surveys) about the environmental characteristics of their areas;
• Planning decisions should aim to maintain, enhance, restore or add to biodiversity interests. In taking decisions LPAs should ensure that appropriate emphasis is attached to designated sites, protected species, and to biodiversity interests within the wider environment;
• The aim of planning decisions should be to prevent harm to biodiversity interests.
• It also emphasis’s that development proposals provide many opportunities for building-in beneficial biodiversity features as part of good design and that when considering proposals, LPAs should maximise such opportunities in and around developments.
PPS 9 requires that LPA’s take steps to promote the conservation of habitats and species of ‘principal importance’ (i.e. BAP habitats and species) through their planning function. Various Invertebrates are also Priority species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and is a Species of Principal Importance in England under Section 41 of the NERC Act 2006 (section 42 in Wales) and the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act in Scotland. It is government policy that local authorities consider the conservation status of such species when determining planning applications.
Therefore developments on sites where Invertebrates may be present need to be mindful of this legislation and policy.
Cambridge Ecology has extensive experience in surveying for various Invertebrates using specific survey techniques to determine the presence or likely absence, population sizes and identifying key habitats within the study area. The data collected is used to devise appropriate mitigation strategies.
Cambridge Ecology has a wide range of skills required in this specialist area. The optimum period to survey for invertebrates is between April and September. However, basic assessments of the potential for the on-site habitat to support important communities of invertebrates can be carried out throughout the year. The surveys include the use of various standard and specialised methods such as:
• Site assessment survey – involves a single site visit to search for key habitat features for invertebrates and important invertebrate assemblages.
• Active Surveys – involves direct searching techniques, using sieves, beating trays and trowels to record invertebrate species from various habitats.
• Light Trap Surveys – involves using light traps to attracts night flying insects especially moths.
• Pitfall Trap Surveys – involves the use of pots into which invertebrates fall and cannot escape. This technique is useful for sampling ground living invertebrates.
• Sweep Netting Surveys – involves the use of a net to sweep through low vegetation, bushes and tree foliage, in order to dislodge any invertebrates within the vegetation. Suitable for invertebrates that live on vegetation.
• Transects – involves slowing walking a specific route in good weather conditions on repeat visits throughout the season to detect and record flying invertebrates. Suitable for butterflies and adult dragonflies and damselflies
• Aquatic Invertebrates – involves netting or kick sampling water bodies to collect aquatic invertebrates.
Habitat Creation and Mitigation
• Mitigation strategies and management plans have been developed in order to protect invertebrate populations and assemblages. Habitats created for invertebrates are fundamental to creating good biodiversity value to a site and provide a vital link in the food chain.
• Creation, maintenance and management of new invertebrate habitats and refugia and hibernacula.