Wild birds, their young, eggs and nests are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 with some birds (schedule 1) provided additional protection from disturbance. As licencing authorities will not issues protected species licences in relation to development, birds do have the potential to have significant adverse effect on operations.
NBC Environment are the country's leading experts in helping clients navigate these issues liaising with ecologists, licensing authorities and other stakeholders to ensure our clients are compliant and any impact minimised.
Government advice is to avoid, mitigate or compensate potential wild bird conflict. Below we detail our approach established following thirty years experience delivering many large projects successfully ensuring that there were no costly delays due to nesting birds, such as Skylarks, Lapwings, Little Ringed Plovers and Peregrines etc.
Our experts will support the client liaising with ecologists, planners and the authorities to minimise impact producing Integrated Management Plans (IMP), Precautionary Working Method Statements (PWMS) and dealing with licence applications where necessary.
Although not always possible it is always preferable to operate outside the breeding season or to prevent the birds access to the areas by some form of exclusion method. NBC have experienced proofing teams who can provide temporary or permanent barriers to nesting birds.
When it is not possible to postpone operations to outside that of the bird nesting season (March to August) and physical barriers are not practical it can often be possible to prevent birds from nesting by establishing a mitigation program. NBC has many different options available although the most effective of these has proved to be the use of specially trained falcons and dogs. These if used early enough in the year provide a disruptive presence that encourages birds that may otherwise nest in the development area into an area where they can nest successfully without conflict.
It is always favourable to establish an area of diversion habitat away from the development site where birds can nest without conflict and as a result their populations will remain unaffected. NBC can support in identifying these areas and advise on measures such as nest boxes that may make them more attractive reducing pressure on the development site and there for reducing risk.
Whilst all nesting birds have the potential to impact or be impacted by developments our experience is that these species listed below are those most likely to come into conflict;
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Our experienced wildlife management operatives digitally record their activities and observations recording bird species, behaviour and location that is then available to transpose onto GIS mapping for analysis if required. They will advise the client on any changes in risk and measures that can be taken to reduce it providing a positive, proactive and auditable approach to protect and minimise the impact to our client.
Although licencing authorities will not issues protected species licences in relation to development, you may be able to rely upon an exemption listed in the legislation, or there may be a risk to health and safety or flight safety that may satisfy licencing tests. We have also in some occasions been able to obtain disturbance licences in situations where birds had already nested during construction.
We are always proud of our high standards and love our client feedback.
“It’s very rare for a such a large site to start at this time of year and not have an issue with nesting birds. The developer here had the foresight to appoint NBC to carry out mitigation on the site prior to us starting work there. Our dealings on site with NBC have been very easy and they professionally manage the site and worked with us.”