PHASE 1 HABITAT SURVEYS
UK planning policy under the terms of Planning Policy Statement 9 (PPS 9) sets out the Government’s national policies on different aspects of planning in England that regional planning bodies and local planning authorities (LPAs) are expected to consider. Key components of this policy include:
• Planning decisions should be based on up-to-date information (e.g. surveys) about the environmental characteristics of their areas;
• Planning decisions should aim to maintain, enhance, restore or add to biodiversity interests. In taking decisions LPAs should ensure that appropriate emphasis is attached to designated sites, protected species, and to biodiversity interests within the wider environment;
• The aim of planning decisions should be to prevent harm to biodiversity interests.
• It also emphasis’s that development proposals provide many opportunities for building-in beneficial biodiversity features as part of good design and that when considering proposals, LPAs should maximise such opportunities in and around developments.
PPS 9 requires that LPA’s take steps to promote the conservation of habitats and species of ‘principal importance’ (i.e. BAP habitats and species) through their planning function.
Therefore developments on sites where the presence any ecological features that may be considered of biodiversity value need to be mindful of this planning policy. Cambridge Ecology can tailor its Phase 1 habitat surveys to meet clients’ particular needs in order to achieve the best outcomes as quickly and cost effectively as possible. An extended Phase 1 habitat survey would be a standard ecological survey expected to support a successful Planning Application or perhaps as part of an Environmental Statement. The information provided would help local planning authorities determine Legal or Planning constraints for the application and help get planning permission quicker, which would help to keep development costs and delays to a minimum.
Cambridge Ecology has extensive experience Phase 1 habitat and extended Phase 1 habitat surveys using specific survey techniques to determine the presence or likely absence of features of biodiversity value such as key habitats and protected species within the study area. The data collected is used to devise appropriate mitigation strategies.
Phase 1 habitat and extended Phase 1 habitat surveys allow an initial evaluation of the ecological features present at a site to be made. They are designed to facilitate the rapid identification of potentially important areas of habitat or presence of protected species which may then require further Phase 2 surveys such as National Vegetation Classification (NVC) surveys or protected species surveys.
Our bespoke Phase 1 Habitat and extended Phase 1 habitat surveys assessment could include:
• A search of national and local biological records from appropriate recognised databases to acquire historic ecology data;
• A hedgerow survey if a hedgerow is to be impacted to check whether it is a species-rich important hedgerow under the Hedgerow Regulations;
• A botanical survey (particularly useful for BREEAM/Code for Sustainable Homes);
• A bat inspection of any buildings and trees that may be affected on site;
• A search for signs of badger activity and presence;
• An assessment of waterbodies potential to support Great Crested Newt.
• GIS digital mapping of Phase 1 Habitats types Using ARCGIS software which is compatible with all engineering and construction software such as AutoCAD.
• Evaluation of the biodiversity value of the site and its potential to support protected species and habitats that may result in legal compliance issues;