Wildlife and Planning

Why does my application need to consider wildlife?

The first purpose of Dartmoor National Park is to conserve the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage.  As a local planning authority Dartmoor National Park Authority is required to ensure that development is appropriate and does not damage the special protected landscape and wildlife around us.  Buildings and land even in built up areas have the potential to support important wildlife including nesting birds, bats, reptiles, badger setts and dormice. These species along with many others are protected by law or by planning and National Park policy and must be safeguarded during development.

Many areas of land in the National Park are also legally protected as designated sites or by planning and National Park policies (such as County Wildlife Sites and priority habitats).  

Species and habitats not protected by law are also important for wildlife and should be protected and enhanced whenever possible.

Will wildlife affect my planning application?

Before you submit your planning application you will need to check whether or not your proposals could affect protected species or designated sites.

If your property has the potential to support protected wildlife species or sites you will need to employ an ecological consultant to provide a letter or survey report to confirm whether or not protected wildlife is likely to be impacted. If protected species could be disturbed or harmed by the development then the survey report will be able to detail measures to avoid, mitigate or compensate impacts on wildlife. This information will need to be submitted with the application for it to be registered. In some cases the Authority Ecologist may request additional survey information in before the application is considered.

Bear in mind that in some cases there may be a delay before your application can be submitted. Some survey work such as bat emergence and reptile surveys can only be completed at certain times of year and over several months.

We may require additional detailed survey information or details of measures to safeguard wildlife and we will attach conditions to make sure these are put in place.  In the case of internationally protected species (which includes all bats, dormice, otter and salmon) your ecologist may advise that a licence is required from Natural England if it is likely that species could be disturbed. Where a licence is required the Authority must carry out an assessment against the tests of the wildlife legislation and refuse permission if these tests cannot be satisfied.