Preliminary Ecological Appraisals and Extended Phase 1 Habitat surveys provide baseline ecological information on a site and are generally the initial survey conducted on a site. The main purpose of these survey’s is to determine the potential of the site to support protected species and habitats, and whether any further ecological survey effort is required.
Preliminary surveys involve a general assessment and mapping of the habitats on and adjacent the proposed development site. A detailed species list is compiled for each habitat type and features of conservation importance identified. Preliminary searches will also be carried out to identify the presence, or potential presence, of any protected or Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) priority species such as badgers, great crested newts and bats. The presence of any non-native, invasive species such as Japanese knotweed or giant hogweed will also be noted.
CES provide high quality survey reports which include a full species list for the site, mapping of all habitat types and guidance on any required further survey effort with regards to protected species potentially associated with the site. This report also highlights any features on site which are deemed to be of ecological importance and recommends appropriate actions to mitigate for the loss of habitats on site. This report can be used to inform Land Use and Ecology BREEAM Assessments.
Preliminary surveys involve a single survey visit and, as such, act as a ‘snapshot’ in time, whereby only the species present at the time of the survey are recorded. It can therefore be useful to undertake a desk-based study. This is an optional, but recommended, service which increases the robustness of survey findings and is often requested by the planning department. The desk based study involves consultation with local biological record centres for records of protected species, priority habitats and non-designated conservation sites within 1km of the site. Defra’s online facility ‘Magic Map’ provides information on designated conservation sites within the local and wider area.