An Introduction to the Phase 1 Habitat Survey

June 25th, 2015

The Phase 1 habitat survey is a very common occurrence in the industry, however a lot of you may be wondering just what it involves. This type of survey is used to map an area under consideration based on the habitats present. As a service that provides ecological solutions we can use the information that we gather from the survey in different ways. This includes using it to help in the impact assessment of a potential new development, or as a way to record an area’s current state.

In this Phase 1 survey, habitats are assigned a type according to guidelines from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee. These guidelines set standardised habitat definitions and map colour schemes, so that areas can easily be compared at a national level. These large habitat areas have boundary features that are assessed and classified, while hedges and ditches can also be important habitats. After a Phase 1 survey you are likely to be left with a colourful map that provides plenty of useful information.

This type of survey is often the first to be undertaken at a site. Ecologists can use it to decide if any protected species are in the area, and assess the need for any further targeted surveys. The common protected species include badgers, bats, breeding birds, great crested newts, otters and more, so it’s imperative to have this survey carried out on your site. Phase 1 is usually best conducted between April and October, when deciduous and annual plant species are identifiable.

If you want to go into things in a bit more detail then an extended Phase 1 habitat survey could be required. This adopts the same methodology as the normal Phase 1 survey, but it produces more exhaustive results. Target notes can be produced from the extended survey, which provide detailed descriptions for habitats and also identify precise areas with the potential to support legally protected species.

Overall the Phase 1 habitat survey provides a relatively rapid system to record wildlife habitats and vegetation. The fact that each habitat type can be defined with a brief description and a unique mapping colour makes it much easier to analyse, and it’s for this reason that the system has been so widely used across the UK. If you ever need a Phase 1 survey carried out on your site then get in touch with Southern Ecological Solutions today, as we can provide the expert resolutions you’re seeking.

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