Phase II Habitat survey

Phase II Habitat Surveys (often referred to as Phase II Vegetation Surveys) are usually required if initial ecological site investigations have identified habitats of potential nature conservation value and confirmation of their status is required. After a preliminary site visit, a consultant ecologist will usually advise whether Phase II Habitat surveys are required on your site.

In order to provide sufficient information in support of a planning application, habitats of potential value need to be assessed in more detail so that their importance and distribution can be determined. The information can then be used for example to assess ecological impacts and to highlight areas of habitat to be protected, enhanced or restored.

If it is recommended that a Phase II Habitat survey is carried out on your site, most frequently, it means that a National Vegetation Classification Survey (NVC) should be undertaken. This is widely recognised survey method for the classification of natural and semi-natural plant communities in Great Britain. It is usually carried out by surveyors with botanical expertise who identify, categorise and map the different habitats found on a site.

Other more specific Phase II Habitat/vegetation surveys could include:

  • Detailed hedgerow assessments
  • Pond surveys
  • Lower plant surveys (e.g. mosses, liverworts and lichens)
  • Rare plant surveys
  • Arable plant surveys
  • Aquatic plant surveys
  • Invasive plant surveys

The results of any Phase II Habitat surveys undertaken are collated into a report which usually includes descriptive text on the habitats/species present together with an assessment of their importance and digitised maps showing location/distribution. If an important habitat/species is likely to be affected by a development, the results are usually incorporated into an Ecological Impact Assessment and mitigation measures are formulated. 

The results of Phase II Habitat surveys can also be used to determine if there are opportunities to restore, enhance or create habitats within developments. At Tor Ecology this is something we strongly encourage, not only for the benefit of wildlife, but also for the wellbeing of local communities who will benefit from access to nature and green space.

Whether you are an individual homeowner, a developer looking to submit a planning application or if you are a member of the project team such as an architect, planning consultant, or landscape architect and require further information on Phase II Habitat surveys, one of our experienced ecological consultants at Tor Ecology will be happy to help.

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