A Phase 1 and Extended Phase 1 Survey may be carried out at any time of the year but are best done between the months of April to October.
An ecological walkover survey is normally requested at one of the early stages of a development. This may apply to a single building site, a large commercial development, a wind turbine or a wind farm – basically almost any development which will involve changes to a natural site. It is the baseline survey which describes the vegetation types and general habitat and determines the conservation value of the site. The report produced helps to define work practices on site or any mitigation required post development.
More usually, ecologists are asked to carry out an Extended Phase 1 Survey. This uses the same methodology as a Phase 1 Survey, but with particular attention being paid to habitats that may be used by protected species or species of conservation concern. It would also record invasive species or any other ecological feature within a site which may need special consideration.
In both types of survey, the habitats present will be presented in a report in map format with a description of the vegetation and any habitat features of note. These surveys are also backed up with a desktop study of biological records for the area to assess likely use of the site by various species groups throughout the year.
The field survey work will identify if any specific species surveys may be needed on the site. Usually this is only required when there are protected species present either on the site or nearby. Examples might be where signs of badgers are found on site or where dormice are known to be present locally.
In some bigger sites where the vegetation cover is diverse or there are multiple issues then additional work may be needed to satisfy planners and NRW that adequate precautions to protect wildlife have been made.