Following an initial assessment and site visit, we may request a survey to assess specific natural heritage aspects of the site. It may be aimed at a particular species of an animal protected by law, such as the badger or it may be for a more general survey that includes all plants and animals present.

Risk evaluation

The purpose of these surveys is to inform us what species of plants and animals occupy and/or use a site; to evaluate the risk created by the proposed development and to recommend how any adverse impact may be reduced or avoided.

Planning applications accompanied by appropriate surveys can be processed more quickly. Applications may be delayed when a request for a survey has to be made.

It is recommended that large scale applications, such as those for housing developments are accompanied by an extended Phase 1 Habitat survey.

We are not able to recommend particular environmental consultants. You may therefore wish to look in the yellow pages or check the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management web page. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that any submitted survey meets our survey specifications.

We have issued a series of survey guidelines. These may be viewed on the links below. You may also contact us if you would like further advice when a survey is requested.

Some survey specifications will be site specific, for example breeding bird surveys. Bespoke specifications will be provided by us in our consultation response to Planning Service.

Some guidelines are detailed in the documents listed below but for any further details please contact our Natural Heritage Development Management Team for guidance; -

The applicant should be aware that NIEA reserves the right to update all survey specifications and/ or request further survey work in the light of new research and information. The applicant should ensure that the most up to date survey specifications are applied to all surveys.

Surveys required for proposed Windfarm Developments

For windfarm proposals it is our current policy to use the guidelines developed by Scottish Natural Heritage to determine the impact on important bird populations.  These bird survey guidance notes are available on the Scottish Natural Heritage website.

Wind Energy Development and Active Peatland

Active peatland is a determining factor when assessing wind energy applications. The following internal reference document to guide NIEA staff on the identification of active peatland in relation to PPS18 is made available for the reference of developers and their agents and consultants when preparing applications for renewables on peatland sites.

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