Where developments may affect the habitat which could potentially support breeding birds, a survey will be requested by your local planning authority. Our experienced ecology team understand your requirements at every stage of the planning process and are able to supply you with the necessary surveys and reports in order to find the perfect balance between achieving planning permission and protecting wildlife.

Breeding Birds

Why are Breeding Birds protected?

All wild birds in Great Britain are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), making it an offence, with certain exceptions, to intentionally:

  • Kill, injure or take any wild bird species
  • Take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while the nest is in use or being built
  • Take or destroy an egg of any wild bird

Further protection is given to some rarer species and to species vulnerable to disturbance and/or persecution. This is done through various schedules attached to the Act.

  • Intentionally or recklessly disturb birds or dependent young at, on or near an active nest of any bird listed in Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act. Such species include barn owl (hyperlink) and kingfisher.
  • Take, damage or destroy the nest of any bird included in Schedule ZA1, even when not in use (golden eagle, white-tailed eagle and osprey).

These laws are in place to protect wild birds and ensure their populations aren’t jeopardized; failing to comply with legislation could cause sharp declines in wild bird populations.

The latter half of the 20th century saw serious countrywide, decline in the numbers of many birds owing to greater anthropomorphic pressure on the habitats of wild birds as a result of changing agricultural practices, land use, and policy. The most recent evidence indicates that this downward trend is likely to continue.

The latest birds of conservation concern report [1]  show a troubling continual decline in the status of UK bird populations. Since the last review in 2015, the number of red-list species (species of the highest conservation concern) has grown by three and at 70 species, is longer than ever before and almost double the length of the first review in 1996. This highest level of conservation concern includes a number of common species such as house martin, house sparrow and greenfinch.

The number of amber species likewise continues to increase with seven species added since the previous review and there are now nine UK bird species globally threatened with extinction.

By protecting wild birds and ensuring they are able to breed in peace without risk to their nests or young, we conserve populations of wild birds and maintain the vital role birds play in the effective functioning of ecosystems.

Please refer to our Ecology Survey Calendar for further information on Breeding Birds and other protected species surveys.

[1] Stanbury, A.J., Eaton, M.A., Aebischer, N.J., Balmer, D., Brown, A.F., Douse, A., Lindley, P., McCulloch, N., Noble, D.G. and Win, I., 2021. The status of our bird populations: the fifth Birds of Conservation Concern in the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man and second IUCN Red List assessment of extinction risk for Great Britain. British Birds, 114, pp.25.

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Wharton undertook an initial bat survey which identified suitable areas for roosting bats and evidence of bat activity (droppings).



Wharton undertook a preliminary ecological appraisal, bat activity and emergence/return to roost surveys, and completed a shadow Habitat …

Wharton undertook an initial bat survey which identified suitable areas for roosting bats and evidence of bat activity (droppings).

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