April is only just upon us, but the HiDef team has already completed and delivered our first Phase 1 habitat survey of the year. To those in the planning business this is a well-known term, but to those who are not it is perhaps more jargon!
Phase 1 habitat surveys are undertaken to map an area under consideration for development, based on the habitats and species present. Planners, developers and conservationists use it as a first-step tool to inform the requirement for any specialised surveys. In a nutshell, it tells us what is there.
The technique is a broad one, detailing vegetation communities using a set of standardised habitat definitions. The output from a Phase 1 survey is essentially a detailed (and colourful) map, with complimentary notes to provide further information on points of interest and habitats, with a supporting explanatory report.
A Phase 1 survey is often the first survey undertaken on a new site. From viewing the habitats, an experienced ecologist can identify what protected species may be using the area. What is a protected species? Well, otter, water vole, badger, bats, breeding birds and great crested newts fall into this category, while rabbits and grey squirrels for instance do not.
Phase 1 surveys are best conducted between April and October when deciduous and annual plant species are easier to identify, so we were glad to get our first survey in the bag so soon, at a site in Derbyshire. For our ecologists, it means an early season trip out of the office and getting back to basics, while for our clients it’s a source of comfort that another hurdle is successfully cleared in the planning process.
At HiDef, we have the capability to undertake Phase 1 surveys with boots on the ground, or from the air, for those sites with access issues. Give us a call to see if we can help you out.