Barn Owl survey

A large A-shaped Barn Owl box (part of mitigation)I’m delighted that my recommendations for Barn Owl conservation have been approved in a planning application this week. The case was approved by the planning officer and county ecologist, including the ecological impact mitigation I devised as part of my Barn Owl survey and report.

I made careful consideration of the evidence of owls, the habitat, and the design and placement of permanent nesting provision. Discussion with the project manager and landscape architect was vital – and they had excellent ideas for improvements at the site.

I use this excellent Barn Owl Trust publication and recommend it highly. They make the decision-making process very clear for any developer or planning officer trying to figure out what to do about commissioning a Barn Owl survey and how to interpret the evidence that a Barn Owl survey presents.

Planning guidance – “Barn Owls and Rural Planning Applications”

Barn Owl surveys

Many rural buildings with planning proposals need a Barn Owl survey and a bat survey done. My best advice for developers is this: get advice at the soonest opportunity, ideally from somebody who has experience of a similar situation.

I am experienced in Barn Owl conservation and I can carry out your Barn Owl survey (if it’s too far from me I can find a local expert through the Barn Owl Conservation Network or my Natureheads Network). As an experienced owl conservationist and qualified BTO ringer I am able to judge the best methods for survey and if necessary I can inspect the nest during the breeding season.

When it comes to planning authorities and Barn Owls they often like to ‘play on the safe side’ and request a Barn Owl survey for structures which are ‘unlikely’ – but that’s good for the owls! Believe it or not this is good for you too – because a survey and sound advice should help you avoid delays and can conform to the legislation that protects Barn Owls and their nest sites.

One of the easiest sites I have ever surveyed was an agricultural store which was in excellent condition and after a very quick survey session it was obvious that a Barn Owl could not access the building. There was no need for a big survey effort or a complex report. My fee was correspondingly small of course!

If your planning officer requests a survey for Barn Owls please contact and we can source an ecologist with the relevant experience and skills.

Jason Ball BSc (hons) MCMI (DipMan)
m: 07719 225965

Free download: has sourced the guidance from Natural England’s website and here it is – get the Barn Owl guidance for planning authorities approved by Natural England for free.


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