Used extensively, often as one of the first site surveys to establish planning constraints, a Phase 1 Habitat Survey (P1HS), Extended P1HS or Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) is a baseline appraisal of a site’s ecology.
It includes a desk study, site survey and report. The report categorises the habitats on the site and whether the site is likely to support protected species.
In addition to holding Natural England protected species licences, our in-house staff are in the enviable position of having excellent botanical skills, which means our habitat surveys and ecological appraisals are robust and will withstand close professional scrutiny.
The difference between a standard Phase 1 Habitat Survey (JNCC 2010) and an Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey is usually understood to be the inclusion of protected species, and their association with the mapped and observed habitats on the ground.
Perhaps the most useful output from the P1HS are the ‘target notes’ which pin-point potential ecological constraints within the site boundary, and occasionally just outside the curtilage. Each target note is specific to an identified risk to development, such as; invasive weeds, nesting birds, badger etc., and these constraints can then be used to start informing a planning application.
Frequently, the P1HS is used to inform secondary surveys for protected species which may have seasonal constraints to survey associated with them, such as bats. For example, if bat droppings are present within a building on the site scheduled for demolition, then planning permission is unlikely to be granted until a bat survey has been undertaken. The extended P1HS will identify this risk to project delivery, and allow recommendations for further work to be made.
If no potential ecological constraints are found to be present, the client can of course use the survey as evidence, in its own right, to be taken forward in the planning process.
Further information can be found on the website at http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-4258.