Wildlife and Habitat

Wildlife and key policies

The development will disastrously affect local wildlife and some protected species. It will result in wildlife loss when we should be looking for Biodiversity Net Gains. Please quote some of the Planning Policies LISTED AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE if possible. They will make the objection carry more weight.

Badgers- Planning Policies CP7, CP1, and TB23 extracts  can be used to support these points ( see below)

There are at least six badger setts in total spread through the site, which have been in place since at least 2012 (recorded by TVERC).

 This large badger clan uses them at different times for different purposes, which will be severely affected by the construction work. The developers have outlined ways to protect the badgers e.g. badger tunnels, but the badgers will be profoundly disrupted by the construction work for the road and its subsequent use by cars and buses. It takes many years for badgers to start using a tunnel. They will continue to be killed on the new road during this period.

The developer’s Ecological Survey states that there ‘is likely to be a net habitat loss as well as loss of continuity in the badger community across the area.’

Badgers are an important connection to the countryside for many people living in the area. They are a well-known, well-loved group of animals routinely seen locally in gardens. 

Badgers are protected by law (Protection of Badgers Act 1992) and are an important part of the wildlife in this area. Building a new road through the Bottle Copse woods will destroy their setts, and we will lose these key animals from our countryside. 

Bats – Planning Policies quotes from  CP7, CP1, CC03, and TB23 extracts can  be  used to support these points ( see below)

There are six species of bats recorded across the site. Some are very rare, and others are in decline nationally. 

There are 12 confirmed bat roosting sites and three more confirmed as having high potential for roosting sites.  Two of the confirmed roosts trees will be in the direct route of the new access road and will likely have to be destroyed, taking the roosts with them.  Many more confirmed roost trees will be very close to new houses adjacent to Viking Field and disturbed by the construction work.  

A lot of the bats foraging hedgerows will be lost in the development through the site next to Viking Field and the fields near Folly Court. Newly planted ones will take approximately five years to establish new foraging sites/corridors. By this time, the bats will have died out in the area.

Reptiles- Planning Policy CP7, CP1, CP3, and TB23 extracts can  be used to support these points ( see below)

Regarding reptiles, the Ecological Survey for Berkeley Homes assessed the site as having local value for slow worms and that protections for reptiles will apply. It recorded a good score of slow worms. 

The Ecological Assessment survey for the developer states that there is ‘potential for the works to contravene nature conservation legislation by killing or injuring reptiles’. This is because there has been no consideration of how to deal with the slow worms. 

The assessment states that the developer needs to have sites ready on the SANG to translocate the slow worms before construction starts. Still, the developer’s plans do not mention constructing the SANG before starting on housing.

Invertebrates/Insects – Planning Policy CP7, CP3, CP1, TB23 can be used to support these points 

There are three notable species of insect recorded on the site and one of Principal Interest. 

The survey commissioned for the developer states that there is a complete absence of avoidance measures and mitigation for invertebrates, which will affect the local populations of protected and notable species.

This area of our wildlife has been completely overlooked.

Birds- Planning Policy  CP7, CP3, CP1, and TB23 extracts  can  be used to support these points (see below)

The site is rich in bird species, including tawny and barn owls, kites, buzzards and kestrels. RSPB Red List species are found across the whole site. Ten notable species from the RSPB conservation list are recorded here.

A large flock of Starlings (more than 85 individuals), a Red List species, are recorded on the fields suggested for development.  Amber List species recorded here include Greenfinch and Redwing.

These species will be almost entirely lost from the site.

An owl box is located on the edge of Viking Field, and Barn and Tawny Owls are regularly seen and heard on the surrounding fields. Even though there is at least one barn owl box in the area, a barn owl survey and mitigation strategy have not been included in the plans.

Important Planning Policy Documents regarding wildlife from Wokingham Council


Core Policy CP7 – Biodiversity

Sites designated as of importance for nature conservation at an international or national level will be conserved and enhanced and inappropriate development will be resisted. The degree of protection given will be appropriate to the status of the site in terms of its international or national importance.


Which may harm county designated sites (Local Wildlife Sites in Berkshire), whether directly or indirectly, or

A) Which may harm habitats or, species of principle importance in England for nature conservation, veteran trees or features of the landscape that are of major importance for wild flora and fauna (including wildlife and river corridors), whether directly or indirectly, or

B) That compromises the implementation of the national, regional, county and local biodiversity action plans will be only permitted if it has been clearly demonstrated that the need for the proposal outweighs the need to safeguard the nature conservation importance, that no alternative site that would result in less or no harm is available which will meet the need.

Core Policy CP1 – Sustainable development Planning

Permission will be granted for development proposals that:

d) Maintain or enhance the high quality of the environment

c) Maintain or enhance the ability of the site to support fauna and flora including protected species

Point 4.2 It is therefore important that any proposals for development do not harm this or adversely affect the quality of life of residents, workers and visitors. The Council’s Landscape Character Assessment highlights the areas of the borough with landscapes which should be protected or enhanced by development.

Core Policy CP3 – General Principles for development

Development must

c) Have no detrimental impact upon important ecological, heritage, landscape (including river valleys) or geological features or water courses.

 d) Maintain or enhance the ability of the site to support fauna and flora including protected species

Policy TB23: Biodiversity and Development

Statement: ‘Local Wildlife Sites are non-statutory sites of significant value for the conservation of wildlife. These sites represent local character and distinctiveness and have an important role to play in meeting local and national targets for biodiversity conservation.’

Core Policy CP8 – Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area

 Development which alone or in combination is likely to have a significant effects on the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area will be required to demonstrate that adequate measures to avoid and mitigate any potential adverse effects are delivered

b. The proposal provides 50 or more residential units within 7km (linear). In this case, the proposal will be individually assessed for whether a significant effect upon the SPA is likely either on its own or in combination with other plans or projects around the site. Where avoidance and mitigation measures are required to address likely significant effects, this is likely to involve SANG together with funding towards monitoring the effectiveness of the solution agreed

Policy CC03: Green Infrastructure, Trees and Landscaping  

d) Protect and retain existing trees, hedges and other landscape features

3. Development proposals which would result in the loss, fragmentation or isolation of areas of green infrastructure will not be acceptable.