Ecological surveys and impact assessment - Planning validation requirements

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Planning document information


An ecological survey and impact assessment is a two stage process through which you assess the potential ecological impacts of your proposed development. 

In stage one you complete a bio diversity checklist. The results you get from the checklist will tell you if you need to complete stage two, a full ecological survey and assessment. 


You must complete and submit a Biodiversity checklist if your application is for a development that; 

  • is within the Impact Risk Zone 
  • within a Site of Special Scientific Interest 
  • within 100m of a national nature reserve or local nature reserve 
  • triggers a financial contribution (RAMS) 
  • has a local wildlife site, special roadside verge or priority habitat within 100m 
  • has protected or priority species located on or adjacent the site 
  • involves a conversion, modification, demolition or removal of buildings (including hotels, schools, hospitals, churches, commercial premises and derelict buildings 

You need to complete the biodiversity checklist for the type of development that your application is for; 

You can find full guidance of when you need to submit a biodiversity checklist at the start of each document.  

If your biodiversity checklist identifies that an ecological survey and assessment is needed, you must submit these before we can validate your application. 


You can ask us for an exemption to submitting a full survey and assessment in three situations. 

  1. If we have given you pre-application advice and told you in writing that it is not needed. 
  2. You must submit a copy of this advice as part of your application. 
  3. If it is clear that no protected species, priority species or habitats are present and your proposal is not for a designated site. 

You must provide evidence with your application to demonstrate that there are such protected species, priority species or habitats on the site. The evidence you provide, may be in the form of a letter, or a brief report from  

  • a suitably qualified and experienced person 
  • a relevant local nature conservation organisation 

You can still ask for an exemption, if you have said in your bio diversity pro forma that protected, priority species and habitats are present. 

You can get help and advice from our Duty Planner on ecological surveys and impact assessments and planning applications. 

You can get detailed feedback on your proposal by using our pre-application advice service

Personal and confidential statement 

We may publish any information you submit as part of your application. You must tell us if there is any information you do not want us to publish when you submit your application.  

If however, we believe that this information is in the public interest, we reserve the right to publish it.  

We may also decide parts of your submission are not in the public interest and may redact this information. This information may include telephone numbers, email addresses and signatures. 

When you need to submit this information

You must submit an ecological survey and impact assessment if your application is for: 

You may also have to submit an Ecological Survey and Assessment for applications not listed above. You can find full guidance of when you need to submit a biodiversity checklist at the start of each document.  

Validation requirements

Required by 

  • National requirement. You can find details of this requirement in section12 of the National Planning Policy Framework 
  • Local requirement. You can find details of this requirement in: 
  • Local plan policy - LPP63
  • Local plan policy - LPP67
  • Local plan policy - LPP65
  • Local plan policy - LPP64

These policies can be found in the Local Plan 2013 - 2033 document