Information and guidance on how to integrate planning and development while looking after our ecological assets in Dorset.

Dorset’s natural environment is home to a wide range of rare and special habitats and species. This is recognised through the large number of designated and protected sites, and the number of protected species which are found in the County, such as sand lizards, nightjar, dormice, great crested newts and all 17 species of bats. Dorset Council’s aim and purpose is to protect and enhance nature for the wildlife and people in the county.

Planning applications

In order to comply with all relevant government legislation on biodiversity the Dorset Biodiversity Appraisal Protocol (DBAP) scheme operates in the Dorset Council area. A simple guide to the DBAP for planning applicants is available  or you can find more detailed information on the Dorset Biodiversity Appraisal Protocol, including links to the guidance documents for consultants.

You may need to have ecological surveys carried out prior to applying for planning permission.  

Ecology surveys

Even if a planning application is not necessary works involving the following should be subject to an ecological assessment:

  • hedgerow removal
  • works within 10 metres of a watercourse or 500 metres from a pond
  • works to bridges, underground structures and tunnels
  • works on a designated wildlife site
  • works involving demolition
  • barn conversions

    works involving internal and external alterations to roof structures

Ecological Survey Season Guide provides a summary of the optimum periods for surveys according to species.

Advice notes and guidance sheets

A series of advice notes and guidance sheets are available on protected species (for example, bats, otters and badgers), non-native invasive species and habitats in Dorset, with best practice guidance.