Environmental Management System
Protected Species Surveys
Habitat Surveys
Habitat Creation and Management
Licensing and Mitigation
Expert Witness

Barn owl in flight

Barn Owl Surveys

Barn Owls are protected under Section 1 and section 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).

The act makes it an offence to:

• intentionally kill or injure a barn owl
• destroy or take a nest, eggs or young while the nest is in use or being built
• intentionally or recklessly disturb barn owls whilst nest building
• intentionally or recklessly disturb barn owls at or near the nest with eggs or young
• intentionally or recklessly disturb dependant young

For most birds the breeding season is March to August inclusive. Barn owls will nest at any time of the year when food/prey is plentiful.

The presence of protected species is a material consideration when a planning authority is considering a development proposal. The presence of protected species and the affect of the proposed development must be established before planning permission can be granted.

As a guide Barn Owl Surveys should be carried out when:

• Proposed development which includes the modification, conversion, demolition or removal of any agricultural buildings (e.g. farmhouses and barns), particularly of traditional brick or stone construction and/or with exposed wooden beams greater than 20 cm thick;
• Proposals involving lighting of churches and listed buildings or flood lighting of green space within 50 m of woodland, water, field hedgerows or lines of trees with obvious connectivity to woodland or water;
• Proposed tree work (felling or lopping) and or development affecting:

o old and veteran trees that are older than 100 years;
o trees with obvious holes, cracks or cavities,
o trees with a girth greater than 1 m at chest height;

• Proposed development affecting any locations where barn owls are known to be present.

How are Barn Owl Surveys conducted?

Desk Study
Ecological record searches of the area affected by the development should be carried out with the local record centre.

Field Survey
Building surveys can be carried out at any time of year. Barn owl surveys involve internal and external inspection of buildings for field signs and likely entry / exit points. Field signs of barn owls include feathers, droppings, casts and nest debris and eggs. An assessment of these is made to establish numbers and the level of use of the building.

Case Studies

Bat survey near Chester

April 2012
A bat scoping survey and bird scoping survey of a farm building in Golborne, Cheshire was carried out by UES. Golborne is a small village south of Chester. T... more...

Phase 1 Habitat Survey in Winchester

November 2011
UES recently completed an Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey of an old mill in Winchester. An Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey involves mapping the habitats on the ... more...

Breeding bird survey in Knutsford, Cheshire

August 2011
UES have completed a breeding bird survey of a site in Knutsford, Cheshire in order to meet planning conditions. A breeding bird survey involves recording bird ... more...

Extended phase 1 habitat survey in Deeside

August 2011
UES have completed an extended phase 1 habitat survey of a site in Deeside, North Wales in order to inform the client of any potential impacts their development... more...

Bat scoping survey in Bootle, Liverpool

February 2011
UES have completed a bat scoping survey of a small industrial site in Bootle near Liverpool. The bat scoping survey consisted of internal and external buildin... more...

Great crested newt trapping scheme

November 2010
Project summary In 2008/09, UES were instructed to conduct a Great Crested Newt (GCN) mitigation scheme for Augean PLC at Slipe Clay pits in King’s Cliffe, n... more...

Habitat creation for MMU Crewe

November 2010
United Environmental Services were commissioned to design mitigation measures for birds and bats into the new sports science centre at Manchester Metropolitan U... more...

Breeam Habitat Survey in Birmingham

November 2010
UES were commissioned to provide an Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey of o high rise office complex near Edgbaston in Birmingham. The Survey is to provide informa... more...

Bat licensing and mitigation Oxfordshire

October 2010
Our client approached us for mitigation advice following a bat survey on a former farm barn in the village of Holton in Oxfordshire. The original surveys had be... more...

Ecological Surveys near Nantwich in Cheshire

October 2010
United Environmental Services were commissioned to carry out an Extended Phase 1 Habitat survey, bat surveys, barn owl surveys and to provide advice on any grea... more...

Aerial tree inspections

October 2010
Bats often use cracks and holes in trees to roost. many bat surveyors will only inspect trees from ground level using binoculars. In some cases this is adequate... more...

Extended Phase 1 habitat Survey Crewe

May 2010
United Environmental Services were commissioned to carry out an Extended Phase 1 habitat survey of a farm building and its surrounding habitat Close to Hartingt... more...

Tarbock Hall Golf Course

January 2010
Tarbock Hall is a 86 hectare parcel of land west of Liverpool. The land was used for agriculture until 2000 when it was sold to a team of developers who wanted ... more...