About us

The Habitat Co-op has been created specifically to assist developers and homeowners to meet their needs for aesthetic habitat design in residential and commercial landscaping.


Our focus is the physical implementation of work

The Habitat Co-op was created as a sister company to the Ecology Co-op, which had developed an increasing role in habitat creation and management alongside the regular protected species surveys and ecological impact assessment work forming the mainstay of their work. The Habitat Co-op has therefore been established to have a dedicated team that can focus purely upon the physical implementation of work including:

European Protected Species (EPS)

European Protected Species (EPS) licence implementation, including strategic habitat clearance, creation and management.

Reptile and amphibian exclusion fencing

The construction of reptile and amphibian exclusion fencing and installation of pitfall traps as part of translocation programmes.

Habitat creation

Habitat creation measures for ‘net gain’ and ‘no net loss’ development, featuring aesthetically designed and highly biodiverse habitats, including wildflower meadows.

Habitat management

Long-term habitat management, with a specialist focus on pond management, including invasive species control and wildflower meadow management that ensures the value of habitats is appropriately maintained.

SuDS pond creation

SuDS pond creation and planting design that ensures these features are not wasted opportunities to create landscapes of value for wildlife with a high interest for the public.

Ponds and wetlands

The construction, planting and management of ponds and wetland habitat.

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Who's behind The Habitat Co-op?

The focus of the Habitat Co-op is to offer a service that is run by individuals with an understanding of and experience in the requirements of natural habitats, particularly those designed as part of a development scheme.

Paul Whitby - Managing Director and Principal Ecologist

Paul is a Chartered Ecologist with twelve years experience working as an ecologist and environmental consultant. His career began in Chester working for RSK Environment Ltd on a number of large projects including gas pipelines, waste recovery centres, Liquid Natural Gas installations and other commercial developments. After a short spell working back in his home town of Petworth in West Sussex for AEWC Ltd, Paul set up Azure Ecology in 2009, a small independent ecological consultancy working with a network of sub-contractors across south east England.

Paul founded The Ecology Co-operation in March 2014 to replace Azure Ecology and accommodate the expanding team of ecologists. Paul has working experience with a wide variety of British terrestrial wildlife and has managed projects of all sizes including writing Ecological Impact Assessments (EcIA), working as an expert witness at planning enquiries and completing 23 Farm Environment Plans as part of Higher level Stewardship applications across 7 different counties. He has survey licenses for bats, dormice and great crested newts and has submitted a number of European Protected Species licenses.

Aside from ecology, Paul’s interests include Rugby, vegetable gardening, scuba diving and pretending to be good at DIY.

Matt Howard - Director and Site Manager

Matt completed his degree in Conservation & Wildlife Management at Sparsholt College in 2013 following on from a Higher National Diploma in Wildlife Management; he then joined AEWC Ltd in Petworth to work as an ecologist. He set up on his own as a Consultant Ecologist a year later in order to work on a greater variety of projects and focus on his interest in practical ecology.

Matt’s strengths and passion is to be in the field managing and creating habitats for protected species; with a lot of experience with trenchers, diggers and brush cutters he has laid miles of reptile fencing, created wildlife ponds, hibernaculas and badger sets.

Away from work Matt will still be found outside either fly-fishing, clay shooting, growing vegetables or walking the dogs.

Do you need an environmental survey? Visit our sister company The Ecology Co-op