Guidance on Ecological Survey and Assessment in the UK During the Covid-19 Outbreak (Version 1) was published by our professional body (the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management – CIEEM) on 07 May 2020. Here we summarise what that means for our clients, suppliers and employees.
The CIEEM document provides guidance on temporary alternative approaches to ecological survey and assessment in scenarios where field surveys cannot be undertaken for a given site or area, or only limited survey effort is achievable, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. It has been produced under the highly constraining environment necessitated by movement restrictions and is not intended to replace existing guidance and best practice. This guidance is aimed at those:
- undertaking ecological surveys and assessments, particularly in relation to planning applications (ecological consultants in most cases);
- tasked with reviewing the adequacy of the ecological information provided in relation to a planning application (such as Local Planning Authorities and Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies);
- compiling and reviewing species licence applications; and
- undertaking or relying on pre-construction surveys.
On 11 May the UK Government (after a broadcast by the Prime Minister the day before) issued further guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, the government issued guidance on ‘construction and other outdoor work‘ (such as ecological surveys and supervisory roles).
We will, therefore continue to undertake an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment in addition to our normal risk assessment to ensure that social distancing measures are implemented to protect clients, suppliers, members of the public and our employees.
Both the CIEEM and UK Government guidance confirms that our own position we adopted early on during this crisis is the right course of action to take and we will continue to work with our clients, suppliers and employees to ensure that all are kept safe during our operational activities. You can download our policy statement below.