The Ecology Consultancy’s Daniel Connaghan describes the newly launched Wildlife Assessment Check online tool from Partnership for Biodiversity.These days many of us are trying harder than ever to improve our impact on our environment and to conserve biodiversity. Thankfully in the UK we have a legislative framework that helps planning authorities prioritise and protect our natural neighbours. However, smaller developers and home owners may be unaware that it is a statutory requirement for planning authorities to consider the ecological impact of developments. This uncertainty can translate into delays and unforeseen costs, both of which are undesirable for developers and home owners. That’s why the new Wildlife Assessment Check from the Partnership for Biodiversity in Planning is so welcome. The free online tool removes much of the ambiguity and allows effective planning to ensure protected and priority species and statutory designated sites for nature conservation are considered early in the pre-planning process. After filling out an easy to use questionnaire, useful advice on whether the proposed development requires a consultation with a professional ecologist, as well as relevant information about the development’s proximity to nearby nature conservation sites, is clearly displayed. This tool will help to improve the quality of applications to local authorities and help ecologists by getting them involved early in the planning process on relevant sites. Its main benefit to homeowners and smaller developers must surely be getting the jump on any necessary ecological work early in the planning process. This makes a much greater degree of forward planning possible and reduces the chances of getting caught out as ecological surveys are often seasonal. To help you plan your ecology and mitigation works and keep up-to-date with current ecological advice, the Ecology consultancy has released the new edition of the Ecology Survey Calendar and Mitigation Calendar for 2019. Download here. The clarity this tool brings is a good example of technology put to good use to help an already overburdened planning process. By increasing the quality of applications going into the process, the Wildlife Assessment Check offers a valuable method for avoiding harm to protected and priority species and statutory designated sites for nature conservation, and increases the robustness and accuracy of planning decisions in this regard.