I was engaged by a major house builder to identify ecological issues for a proposed development site in south Wales. The site was a large area of rough grassland with patches of bramble scrub.
This is suitable habitat for common reptiles and so I carried out a survey placing 20 squares of roofing felt around the site in suitable locations. These were left in place for a week and then checked over six visits, which had to be timed for suitable weather.
Because no reptiles were found the client was able to obtain detailed planning permission without the extra cost of mitigation. A perfect example of how early use of an ecologist can benefit a development project.