Habitat surveys are a way of establishing the baseline ecology of a site. There are different types of habitat survey that can be undertaken, depending on your site and proposals. Habitat surveys are more commonly known as a Ecological Appraisals.
Ecological Assessment (Walkover Survey) – this method is not used that often, but is designed to provide an initial ‘feel’ of what habitats may be present on site, or indeed what ecological receptors may be harmed by the project proposals.
Ecological Appraisal (Phase 1 Survey) – The phase 1 survey is a standard survey undertaken for many development sites. The survey provides a standard record of habitats and ecological receptors on a site. It is a key assessment required for the majority of planning applications and often helps to determine the need for any specific protected species surveys. The process is also a way of mapping an area, visually demonstrating the various habitats present on a site.
Extended Phase 1 Survey – This survey is based upon the phase 1 habitat survey, but incorporates more details about the habitats present on site and identifying areas that may support legally protected species.
Although habitat surveys can be undertaken at any time of the year, the optimum survey season is between mid March and mid September. Surveys outside the optimal survey season could lead to some specifics of the site not being fully identified, such as dominant species or evidence of some protected species.
A desk study is usually undertaken as part of the phase 1 process. This also includes a biological records data (BRD) search, obtained from your local records centre. The results from this identify things like notable/protected or important plant and animal species within the local area of the site being surveyed.
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