Site audit: Vegetation, fauna, landscape and heritage context

Assistance from a qualified botanist or professional ecologist may be needed if the site is already vegetated, large or complex. Even small buildings and brownfield land can be of wildlife value, and protected species may be present. It is strongly recommended to follow the Ecological Impact Assessment guidance issued  by the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.
The wildlife audit should investigate:
  • Plant communities and habitat types present; for large and complex sites this will involve a phase 1 habitat survey, which should be carried out between May and August so that important habitats and plant species can be correctly identified
  • Whether protected species are present (commonly encountered are badger, water vole, great crested newt, reptiles and breeding birds)
  • Whether the site is covered by statutory or non-statutory designations, e.g. Local Wildlife Site, Site of Special Scientific Interest
  • The presence of other wildlife heritage features such as old trees.
The audit should also consider:
  • How the site fits with local landscape and natural character
  • For England, you could also consult any relevant landscape character assessments  that are available and the Magic website to find out information about the Joint Character Area that the restoration site lies in
  • The presence of any wildlife or other heritage features on adjoining land.
  • How the site could be developed to help meet Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) or other targets for habitat and ecosystem restoration: see www.ukbap.org.uk for the LBAP for your area (although LBAPS however may no longer be 'live', as the UK BAP process ended in 2010, they contain information that remains very relevant today)
  • Whether statutory conservation bodies or other conservation organisations could (or should) be contacted or involved and which ones they might be.

The historical and archaeological context may need to be investigated by contacting the local archaeologist (usually based with the County Council or local planning authority).



Page last modified on Friday 22 of June, 2012 22:20:53 BST