Bird Survey and Assessment Guidance in preparation
New guidance on bird survey and assessment will be released in 2019, according to an update from CIEEM.
They report that
guidance for ecological consultants and decision makers working in planning and built development is in preparation. A steering group consisting of consultants and representatives from CIEEM, Natural England, RSPB and the BTO is developing the guidance to provide consistency of approach and effort to bird survey and assessment within the industry.
The current issue with bird survey practices is that commonly used methodologies (such as the common bird census) were not designed for assessing the potential impacts of development on wildlife within a site, but for long-term monitoring. This has created a certain amount of guesswork when designing surveys and a risk that an LPA ecologist won’t agree with the approach taken. Having a common set of guidance will reduce this risk, whilst improving the quality of data used in assessment. There isn’t an indication whether the survey effort requirement will be higher than that used at the moment, but I suspect that we will be moving from a minimum of three visits in the breeding season to four or five and something similar for winter bird surveys. I hope that the guidance will also set out at what point surveys for birds are required for planning applications, so that a similar treatment can be applied across sites.
We will report back when the bird survey guidance is released and provide guidance to our clients.