Terrestrial Phase I Habitat Assessment
Local Planning Authorities are increasingly requiring Phase I Habitat Assessments or Wildlife Reports to accompany planning applications for development proposals. The aim of a such assessments are to provide a basis for determining the nature conservation value of a proposed development site by mapping the habitats and listing the main plant species present. Particular emphasis is placed on identifying whether a development proposal may impact on protected or priority habitats or species.
A number of widespread species such as badgers, slow worms, bats and great crested newts are protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, and/or The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010. Badgers are specifically protected under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. Consequently, Extended Phase I Habitat surveys are often required to assess the site’s potential to support protected species (and the necessity for further assessment) as well as identifying and mapping the presence of different types of habitat.
An Extended Phase I Habitat Survey includes:
- A desktop study of the site during which relevant ecological and environmental organisations are contacted to obtain further information such as relevant designations (statutory or non-statutory), and previously identified habitats and records of species of specific interest within or in close proximity to the site.
- Recording the semi-natural vegetation and wildlife habitats present documenting dominant and noteworthy species of flora and fauna in accordance with the methods set out in the JNCC (1993) standard.
- Recording evidence of protected species, or habitats with the potential to support protected species.
- Recording rare species and Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) species and habitats present.
- Presenting all relevant information in the form of a report which if necessary, provides a basis from which Phase II Habitat Surveys may be targeted to specific protected habitats and species within the study area.
A Phase I Habitat Survey will provide a conclusion as to whether a development project is likely to impact upon nature conservation, and highlight any requirement for mitigation works. By identifying such issues early on in a project, costly delays later can be avoided.
- (Extended) Phase I Habitat Surveys.
- Hedgerow Surveys.
- River Corridor and River Habitat surveys.
- Invasive plant surveys including Himalayan balsam, Japanese knotweed and Giant hogweed.
- Data handling, interpretation and report writing.
- GIS data output and presentation.
- Planning and Development Applications.
- Baseline and Biodiversity survey and assessment.
- Scoping/feasibility assessments.