For any development which may require planning permission from your local planning authority (LPA), the LPA need to fully consider the likely ecological impacts of the proposed works.

All wild birds including their nests, eggs and young are afforded special protection throughout England, Scotland and Wales by the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).  In addition, rarer species are afforded extra protection from disturbance to their roost or nest and are listed under the Schedule 1 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 Act and Annex I of the Birds Directive. All bird nest checks of Schedule 1 species can only be carried out by licensed ecologists. There is up to 400 species of wild birds in the UK, these species are summer/winter visitors or resident species that occur in the UK all year round. All bird species occupy habitats of scrub, unmanaged grassland, heathlands, trees and hedgerows. They are negatively impacted by development and must be considered for planning applications and construction works.

What can affect bird species or their nests or roosts?                 


  • Demolishing buildings

  • Extensions to buildings

  • Renovations to buildings

  • Barn/outbuilding conversion

  • Removal of trees or hedgerows

  • Clearance of scrub or hedgerows

  • Change of use of a site

  • Development of roads or bridges

  • Bridge works

  • Wind turbines

  • Overhead power cables


What needs to be done?

  • Preliminary Ecological Appraisal – This initial survey confirms the potential of a site to be utilised by birds and recommends what type of further surveys are required

  • Bird surveys - Seasonal bird surveys which provides an understanding of how the site is utilised by birds

  • Mitigation Strategy - A strategy that outlines avoidance, precautionary methods of work and compensation or enhancement measures to ensure construction works and developments provide habitats or nesting opportunities for wild birds


In order to assess if wild birds maybe affected by a development, a survey will be required to assess the constraints and impacts.

Breeding Bird surveys

enims Ltd provides breeding bird surveys that are conducted within suitable habitat using a methodology based on Best Practice Guidelines published by the British Trust Ornithology BTO, called the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) and Common Bird Census (CBC). These guidelines are available online at the following websites: https://www.bto.org/about-birds/birdtrends/2011/methods/common-birds-census and  https://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/bbs. A minimum of four site visits are required and each visit commences at dawn. The BBS surveys are carried out between March to August and involves walking a pre-determined transect route within suitable habitats to record the locations of birds observed or heard. This data will identify locations of bird territories and possible nesting activity.

Over-wintering bird surveys


The over-wintering bird surveys apply Common Bird Census (CBC), Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) and Wintering Farmland Bird Survey methodology to record birds seen on a predetermine transect route during the over-wintering and migration period of November and March. A minimum of four site visits are required and each visit commences at dawn. This work will be carried out in accordance with the Best Practice Guidelines published by the British Trust Ornithology (available online at: https://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys).

Mitigation Strategy

enims Ltd provides expertise in writing mitigation strategies to implement species-specific mitigation measures such as implementation of replacement Barn owl nesting opportunities. We provide high quality advice on habitat enhancements for birds on-site, using nest boxes and habitat restoration, creation or management. 

Nesting Bird Ecological Watching Brief

Birds are known to nest within areas of vegetation, scaffolding, buildings and equipment. If this happens the vegetation clearance, demolition and use of equipment cannot commence until the birds have finished nesting. These bird nests require exclusion zones to protect the birds from disturbance, mortality, injury and destruction of a nest.

Birds are known to nest primarily during March to October, however, nesting birds can occur at any time of the year it may be appropriate to have a pre-works check on nesting bird presence 24 hours prior to works being conducted and ecological supervision may also be required. At enims we can provide suitably qualified ecologists to carry out a pre-work check for nesting birds.

If you require support for your project please call the enims team on 0845 644 0196.