Phase 1 Habitat Survey
Distinct habitats within a site are mapped in accordance with Phase 1 Habitat survey methodology (JNCC, 2010), based on the plant species present. From this mapping of habitats, the Phase 1 Habitat survey is often extended to assess the sites’ potential to support protected species such as bats, breeding birds, and great crested newts.
A Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) is usually required early on in the planning process to determine the ecological impacts of a proposed development and inform the need for any further species-specific surveys. A Phase 1 Habitat survey forms the basis of a PEA, which is extended to assess the sites’ potential to support protected species.
As part of a PEA, Habitat Suitability Index assessments are undertaken on waterbodies to determine their potential to support great crested newts, structures and trees are assessed for their potential to support bat species, field signs of notable species are recorded, and the site is checked for the presence of invasive non-native species.
Under the Hedgerow Regulations 1997 it is against the law to remove most hedgerows without permission. Carried out either as part of a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal or a stand-alone survey, a hedgerow survey assesses each hedgerow against a set of criteria to determine if it is ‘important’ or ‘not important’. To qualify as ‘important’ a hedgerow must be at least 30 years old and meet at least one of the main criteria.