About Habitat / Botanical Surveys & Biodiversity Metric

Phase 1 Habitat Survey is the standard method of identifying and classifying higher plant communities and species in the UK, and involves the mapping of habitats and collation of target notes that describe each habitat type and its broad floristic features.

This method can be ‘extended’ to include collation of full species lists and abundance values of species within the habitats surveyed. This information can be used to evaluate sites in a planning context, and to address issues such as the level of biodiversity interest, protected species issues, potential ecological impacts and mitigation.

National Vegetation Classification (NVC) Surveys sometimes form a component of an ecological report, especially where particularly sensitive habitats could be affected by development. The NVC is a highly detailed classification of natural, semi-natural, and some major artificial vegetation communities in England, Wales and Scotland, and requires experience and skill in its application. We can also use and apply the new UK Habitat Classification system where required: https://ukhab.org/

The Biodiversity Metric provides a way of measuring and accounting for biodiversity losses and gains resulting from development or land management change. For certain developments it is a requirement to compensate for habitat losses by achieving a net biodiversity gain of at least 10%. This is based on a calculation of the existing ecological value of habitats on site compared to what is being lost / proposed. If it is not possible to achieve a net gain of 10% on site then the developer / client must either acquire and manage additional land off site to mitigate for the losses, or enter into a land management agreement with a landowner who has agreed to manage land for biodiversity enhancement / gain.

Our Habitat / Botanical Services & Biodiversity Metric

Pennine Ecological can undertake habitat / botanical surveys of any habitat in the UK, terrestrial or aquatic.

We consider that an extensive knowledge and experience of habitat and botanical surveys is a key requirement in ecological consultancy. Accurately classifying habitats based on their plant species composition is of critical importance, since the unique species composition and structure of individual sites and habitats is intimately associated with the species of fauna that they potentially support. A deep understanding of these associations and niches together with their natural succession, evolution and management over time is a skill that we consider essential and underpins every survey on every site.

Our surveyors are skilled field botanists capable of identifying and auditing vegetation throughout the full range of habitats of the UK, including some difficult plant groups.

Recognised as a leading regional consultancy in respect of botanical surveys and assessment, we are often commissioned by government bodies such as Natural England, the Environment Agency, in addition to charitable trusts including; The Wildlife Trusts and The Woodland Trust to undertake definitive botanical / habitat surveys to inform and guide future site / reserve management.

Where required our consultants undertake Biodiversity Metric Calculations and guide our clients through the process.

Examples of our Habitat / Botanical Services & Biodiversity Metric

Appletons for Satnam Millennium Ltd. – Peel Hall, Warrington

Pennine Ecological undertook Extended Phase 1 Surveys of a 69ha site, comprising abandoned farmland, woodland, ponds, and amenity land.

BAE Systems Ltd

Pennine Ecological have undertaken several Extended Phase 1 Surveys of the disused aerodrome at Samlesbury. The surveys have been used to inform the ongoing development of the factory site since 2008. Site-specific surveys have been applied to inform a management plan for part of the site, formulated to promote floristic diversity whilst maintaining prime breeding habitat for ground-nesting birds.

Lancashire Wildlife Trust for Natural England

NVC Survey and Extended Phase 1 Surveys of Longworth Clough and Oak Field SSSIs for condition assessment.

The Woodland Trust

Habitat and botanical surveys of Smithills Estate, Bolton, the trust’s largest estate in England. The surveys were required to inform the trust of suitable woodland planting areas and importantly areas to avoid planting, based on, botanical and habitat diversity / value.

Chorley Borough Council

Extended Phase 1 Survey and NVC of Withnell Local Nature Reserve.

SITA UK Ltd

Biennial monitoring of new habitats created in response to planning conditions associated with a major landfill site. Surveys include Extended Phase 1 Survey and NVC Survey, Reedbed development monitoring.

United Utilities Plc

Numerous Extended Phase 1 Surveys have been undertaken in relation to UU site remediation works throughout the North-West region, including Manchester Ring Main Phase 4 & 6.

Lancashire County Council

A Phase 1 based survey was undertaken at Brockholes Wood. Surveys included mapping of streams, flushes, dry and wet woodland, and all stands of Rough Horsetail Equisetum hymale with estimated population size.

APEM Ltd

UWWTD Aquatic Macrophyte Survey of Warping Drain. Pennine Ecological undertook a detailed study of the aquatic flora of several fenland drains in north Lincolnshire. The survey focussed on all higher plants especially pondweeds, with voucher specimens collected identified and submitted to the Environment Agency.

Gleeson Homes (Cumbria)

Biodiversity Metric Calculations for the Deer Park, Carlisle.

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