Species guidance

Natural England has issued standing advice to local authorities on protected species. This provides guidance to planners on what surveys should be undertaken before applications for different types of development are accepted, and how to assess survey results and proposed mitigation. It therefore also provides an indication for developers on what information planning authorities will expect to be provided with applications. This standing advice should be the first port of call in considering protected species in planning, and includes detailed advice on bats, great crested newtsreptiles and breeding birds.

More detailed advice on black redstarts, a specially-protected bird with a stronghold in east London, can be found on the Blackredstarts.org.uk website. The advice on survey methods is particularly useful, as regular bird surveys often miss black redstarts.

The London Biodiversity Partnership has published London-specific guidance on conservation of stag beetles, and on how to incorporate features for bats and peregrine falcons into development, and on the impacts of lighting on bats.

The Bat Conservation Trust website has lots of detailed advice about bats and development. The Trust has also published best practice guidelines for bat surveys, which can be downloaded from the BCT website. The Bat Conservation Trust and Institution of Lighting Professionals have published a joint guidance note on ‘Bats and artificial lighting’, updated in September 2018. This can be downloaded from the Institution of Lighting Professionals website.

The Zoological Society of London has published guidance on conservation of tidal Thames fish in the planning system. The guidance can be downloaded here.

Buglife is a valuable source of information on protected and priority invertebrates, including those on brownfield sites in the Thames Gateway. Buglife’s Brownfield Hub is an excellent resource for planners, developers and ecologists involved with developments on brownfield sites.

Developers seeking information on the distribution of protected species in Tower Hamlets should request a data search from Greenspace Information for Greater London (GiGL), the biodiversity and open space records centre.

Should you require any further information, please contact the Council’s Biodiversity Officer John Archer on 020 7364 7478 or by e-mail.

Header photo: Great Crested Newts (Michelle Sinden)