When an eco assessment is required

The Local Planning Authority needs to fully understand all the impacts - both negative and positive - of a proposed development, including the impacts on wildlife and biodiversity.  When submitting a planning application, it may be necessary for you to include an ecological assessment (sometimes referred to as a Biodiversity Survey and Report) to provide this information.  The validation checklist for each application type provides information on whether you may need this type of assessment for your application to be validated and processed.   

When will a nature conservation/ecological assessment be required?

You should submit an ecological assessment with a planning application when the development proposals (including any associated off-site works) will affect the following:

  • Designated sites 
  • Priority habitats 
  • Other biodiversity features 
  • Species protected by law 
  • Priority species 

If, during the course of pre-application discussions, you have agreed with the Council's Biodiversity Officer that an ecological assessment is not required, this should be made clear on the completed validation checklist form.

Designated sites

The designated sites are illustrated on the proposals map of the Cotswold District Local Plan 2001-2011 and listed in appendices 1 and 2, and include:

Priority habitats

These are wildlife habitats that are listed at section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 as being "habitats of principal importance for biodiversity".  In Cotswold District this includes:

  • ancient and/or species-rich hedgerows
  • floodplain grazing marsh
  • fen, marsh, swamp and reedbeds
  • lowland beech and yew woodland
  • lowland calcareous grassland (e.g. species-rich chalk and limestone grasslands)
  • lowland meadows (e.g. species-rich flower meadows)
  • lowland mixed deciduous woodland (ancient woodland)
  • lowland wood-pasture and parkland
  • rivers and streams
  • standing open water and canals (e.g. lakes and flooded gravel pits)
  • wet woodland

Other Biodiversity Features

There are other important habitats and features that are not included in the national list of priority habitats, but are of great local importance, for example they may be included in the Gloucestershire Biodiversity Action Plan or the Cotswold Water Park Biodiversity Action Plan.   These include:

  • secondary woodland
  • mature, ancient or veteran trees
  • caves, mines and disused tunnels
  • trees and scrub (potential bird nesting areas)
  • previously developed land with biodiversity interest
  • urban green space (such as allotments, disused railway lines)
  • ponds

Protected species

There are a number of species that are protected by law, for example under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as amended and the The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010.  There are a wide range of protected species that occur in Cotswold District, including:

  • bat species
  • great crested newts
  • water voles
  • otters
  • nesting birds
  • badgers

For a full list please:

An ecological (protected species) assessment will be required for development that could affect protected species - for more information please visit:

Priority species

These are species that are listed at section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 as being "species of principal importance for biodiversity".  In Cotswold District these species include:

  • Hare
  • Common lizard
  • A number of bird species

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Cotswold District Council
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