What is a Habitat Survey?

Habitat Survey: this involves the study, identification and mapping of important wildlife habitats on a site and in the surrounding area.

Undertaking a survey of this nature is a baseline method for assessing the ecological importance and significant habitat features of a site (property, plot of land, established boundary area) and can inform the necessity for additional survey work.

A Phase 1 Habitat Survey [often referred to as a Habitat Survey, Eco Phase 1 or Wildlife Survey] is the industry standard for UK ecologists when classifying and mapping British habitats in accordance with the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC).

During the survey, a record is made of important ecological habitat features which can be indicated as target notes of important site observations, i.e. rare plants/animals or special habitat features such as ancient hedgerows; these are illustrated on a Phase 1 Habitat Survey Map.

The typical process for a Phase 1 Habitat Survey is thus:

  • Site Survey (ecological assessment of the site’s habitats)
  • Phase 1 Habitat Map (detailing major habitat types and valuable ecological site components)
  • Ecological Assessment Report (produced to JNCC standard phase 1 habitat survey classification)

Some consultants will undertake an Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey – this is always a recommendation of Indigo Surveys Ltd.

Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey: this is more detailed undertaking than the standard Phase 1. It will include the sourcing of detailed Ecological Records Data from your local records centre and surveying the site for evidence and the potential presence of protected species and/or suitable habitats for those species, i.e. Bats, Newts, Invertebrates, Reptiles etc.

This form of survey will allow for definitive advice regarding any additional species specific surveys and will provide guidance where protected species are identified on/around the site. These are often subject to seasonal constraints and are required in order to fully inform and support a planning application and are a stipulation of many planning authorities.

Whilst obtaining the correct information early on at the design stage of a project can save considerable time and reduce cost, a survey of this nature can be carried out throughout the year. However, it should be noted that restrictions to live vegetation may hinder the findings and additional survey works have to take account of optimum survey periods for protected species; factoring these in at an early stage can streamline design scheduling.

Your emails are welcome with comments and queries to info@indigosurveys.co.uk.

More details coming soon…

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