Habitat and Landscape Assessments

Habitat Surveys
Bernwood Ecology has extensive experience carrying out habitat surveys to meet any planning needs. We survey a variety of habitats, including lowland neutral, acid and calcareous communities, woodlands, and urban. Bernwood Ecology can also undertake Priority Habitat assessments.

Preliminary Ecological Appraisals
Preliminary Ecological Appraisals (or PEAs) are often requested by Local Planning Authorities to evaluate the impact of a development or land use change on biodiversity. They can be carried out as standalone surveys or supplemented with other surveys, such as Preliminary Roost Assessments for bats or otter surveys. PEAs can include a data search carried out with the Local Records Centre, Local Bat Group and online resources.
PEAs are carried out in line with published guidelines (e.g., JNCC, 2010; BSI, 2013; CIEEM, 2017; UKHab, 2020), recording habitats and features of ecological interest. The information gathered is used to assess impacts on habitats and wildlife from development proposals.

Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) Assessments
DEFRA released a Biodiversity metric to calculate whether or not Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) is achieved. The metric is designed for ecologists, developers, local planning authorities, etc., to quantify changes in habitat value as a result of planning proposals or land management changes. It considers a range of characteristics such as biodiversity value, extent, and ecological condition.
The Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull biodiversity offsetting strategy includes a Biodiversity Impact Assessment Calculator, measuring how impacts from development and mitigation/enhacement measures will affect habitat condition.
Bernwood Ecology is trained in the use of both metrics, and can advise on applications requiring these calculations.

Land Management
Environmental Land Management Scheme
Bernwood Ecology can advise on any of the three schemes being piloted by DEFRA as they become avaliable: the Sustainable Farming Incentive, the Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery schemes.

Countryside Stewardship Grants
Bernwood Ecology can undertake farm and woodland surveys and prepare applications for Countryside Stewardship grant schemes, including woodlands, on behalf of the landowner or land agent.

BREEAM Reports
A BREEAM report can be prepared for clients wishing to include the ecological credits within their application. Bernwood Ecology are “Suitably Qualified Ecologists” (SQE) experienced in completing the ecology section of BREEAM applications. We use a combination of approaches to ensure a maximum number of credits is gained for your development in relation to ecology. Getting an ecologist involved from the start of a project allows us to ensure the best options are deliverable for biodiversity, however, if this is not possible, we can offer retrospective assessments with additional features where possible to boost the ecological credit potential.

Other Services
We also provide:
– Environmental audits collating existing and historical data for village and parish apppraisals, including Neighbourhood (or Local) Plans;
– Strategic Environmental Assessments where impacts of projects and plans need to consider the natural environment and ecology; and,
– Rewilding and landscape management plans.