Ecological Surveys and Protected species

Vegetation and Habitat Surveys

The first thing which is required on any site is a survey to find out what habitats and species are present.  CEL are able to carry out many surveys including:

  • Phase 1 habitat surveys.
  • Phase 2 National Vegetation Classification (NVC) surveys
  • Hedgerow surveys
  • Invertebrate surveys

We often work in conjunction with other ecologists and ecological consultancies to carry out these surveys.  We work particularly closely with The Ecology Consultancy Limited ( who have staff with a wide range of ecological expertise which complements that of the CEL staff. 


Protected Species Surveys

A number of plant and animal species are protected under various UK and European Legislation (e.g. the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 etc). Some of these species can be found on many sites even in the heart of cities (slow worms, bats, badgers, great crested newts) and there are severe penalties for injuring or disturbing them. 

Protected species have to be taken into account when managing a site and particularly in planning applications and developments so it is vital to carry out surveys. 

Surveys for most protected species can only be conducted when the animals are active. So, it is critical that such surveys are carried out at the correct time of year and under appropriate weather conditions.  We are able to work with clients to conduct protected species surveys and to help them stay within the law. Again we often work closely with other consultancies, especially The Ecology Consultancy Limited.

Some of the surveys we can do are: 

  • Protected species risk assessments
  • Reptile surveys
  • Great crested newt surveys
  • Breeding bird surveys
  • Badgers
  • Bats


Stag beetles

The stag beetle Lucanus cervus is a globally threatened species, protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, as amended, and listed as a priority species for theUK Biodiversity Action Plans. London and the South East is one of the most important areas in the UK for this species which has declined in the last 40 years.  Destruction of its key habitat (dead wood) through the ‘tidying-up’ of woodlands  is thought to be one of the main reasons for its decline. 

The eggs are laid underground on logs or stumps of dead trees so stag beetles require dead wood to complete their lifecycle.  The larvae live inside the dead wood for up to seven years but do not eat the wood of live trees and shrubs.  They are therefore not a pest but play important part in the cycle of  decay helping to return the minerals of dead plant material to the soil.  Adults emerge from mid-May until late July and can often be seen flying on summer evenings.  Then adults usually live a short time (just long enough to mate and lay eggs) but occasionally some may over-winter in places such as compost heaps. 

To encourage this species it is therefore important to have suitable dead wood  The practice of leaving dead stumps standing and the creation of ‘loggeries’ are important for conservation of stag beetles. 

When carrying out woodland management CEL try to leave stumps dead wood where ever possible and have installed many loggeries and other dead wood habitats.