The first stage of an ecological survey is to assess the potential of a site for its ability to support protected species and/or habitats. This can be provided by a range of site assessments including an initial ecological appraisal, scoping or walkover survey. A more detailed approach would be a Phase 1 habitat survey.
A Phase 1 Habitat Survey is undertaken to provide a basic ecological audit of a site as part of a wider environmental assessment. It provides valuable ecological information useful for site management and environmental planning (including supporting planning applications).
It consists of recording habitats and basic vegetation information for an area, including a list of dominant species per habitat type, highlighting particularly important features and including a basic habitat assessment. A desk study, prior site visit, sets the context for field study by collecting information on protected and Biodiversity Action Plan species and presence of protected areas nearby or on site.
A Phase 1 survey can be extended to include an appraisal of the likelihood of a site to support protected species, leading to specialist protected species surveys.