Extended Phase 1 Habitat Surveys
Extended Phase 1 habitat survey is an industry standard, and is the basic starting point for most Ecological Impact Assessments (EcIA) and Preliminary Ecological Appraisals (PEAs). jh ecology has carried out numerous Extended Phase 1 habitat surveys across a wide range of habitat types throughout the UK. We work extensively across core areas of the South-west including: Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire; the South-east including: Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, London, Oxfordshire, Surrey and Sussex; and the Midlands including: Birmingham, Herefordshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire.
Extended Phase 1 habitat survey involves a site survey, comprising a Phase 1 habitat survey following the methodology outlined in the ‘Handbook for Phase 1 Habitat Survey: A technique for environmental audit’, which provides information on the condition of the habitats present on a site. The survey is ‘Extended’ to assess the suitability and availability of habitats for protected species. A desk study is often carried out in conjunction with an Extended Phase 1 habitat survey to collect existing ecological information on protected or notable habitats and species that may potentially be affected by a project. The results of the desk study and Extended Phase 1 habitat survey may highlight the need to complete further protected species surveys to fully inform planning applications. Please refer to our Ecological Survey Calendar for seasonal constraints to undertaking the various protected species surveys.
We also have the expertise to carry out more detailed botanical survey work including National Vegetation Classification and Hedgerow surveys. This allows jh ecology to provide clients with high quality survey results coupled with appropriate evaluation and assessment.
Botanical & Hedgerow Surveys
jh ecology has the capability to carry out a variety of botanical surveys; details of specific surveys that may be required are provided below.
National Vegetation Classification (NVC) Surveys
The National Vegetation Classification (NVC) survey is a comprehensive and systematic classification and standardised description of British plant communities. It provides additional detail to the broader-scale Phase 1 habitat survey and is the standard methodology used to assess the character and nature conservation value of plant communities.
NVC surveys are typically carried out at sites where a Phase 1 habitat survey has identified habitats of higher conservation value and / or legally protected / notable plant species. The results of NVC surveys are informed by quadrat data collected in the field, and will generally include plant community maps, and descriptions and species composition of plant communities present, as well as an assessment of their conservation value.
The information collected as part of NVC surveys is an important tool in the identification of key areas of plant interest so that these areas may be avoided, and / or subject to targeted translocation as part of development planning and design. The NVC information can also be used as baseline data for future habitat monitoring and / or to inform site management plans.
A hedgerow survey will be required to determine whether any hedgerows on a site are classified as ‘Important Hedgerows’ under The Hedgerows Regulations 1997, and also assess the hedgerows potential to support protected species, such as bats, breeding birds, dormice and great crested newts. Hedgerow surveys collect information about the condition of a hedgerow, the species richness and features present (i.e. age of hedgerow, connectivity to other habitat features and presence of hedgerow trees etc.), allowing an assessment to be made as to whether the hedgerow should be classed as ‘Important’ under the Regulations. As such, it is against the law to remove or destroy certain hedgerows without permission from the local planning authority.
Hedgerows are a valuable wildlife resource and are a Priority habitat under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP), and therefore identifying those hedgerows that are of particular importance for wildlife, and so particularly worthy of protection within the design of a development project, may be a material consideration when submitting a planning application.
jh ecology can undertake hedgerow assessments in line with the ecological criteria within the Hedgerows Regulations. We can also identify and advise which hedgerows are of particular ecological value, although not classified as ‘Important’ under the Regulations, and should be retained or their loss compensated for within the design of a development project.
Invasive Plant Species Surveys
Invasive species of ‘alien plants’ (also called non-native species) are those that do not originate from the UK. It is mainly humans, for various reasons (i.e. ornamental planting in gardens), that introduced them to the UK. Such alien plants can escape from gardens into our native habitats, where they can rapidly colonise and out-compete our native plant species, posing a threat to our native biodiversity and ecosystems.
Under Section 14(2) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (WCA) 1981 (as amended) it is illegal to plant or otherwise cause to grow (i.e. spread) in the wild invasive non-native plants. Such plant species for which surveys may be required include: Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica), Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) and Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum). Japanese knotweed is regarded as the most invasive plant in Britain. It can colonise most habitats including grassland and river banks and can grow through walls, tarmac and concrete. Once established these alien species are difficult to control and / or eradicate.
Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01823 530 084 for further advice or help.