Habitat Condition Assessment
A big factor in determining the baseline ecological value of the site is not just the types of habitats present but also their condition.
Habitats are entered into the Defra Metric as poor, moderate, or good condition. The technical supplement for the metric includes different condition criteria for each type of habitat. The number of criteria the habitat meets, will determine its condition. This allows for more standardisation of assessing habitat condition. This is very important as the condition of habitats on site can have a big impact on the biodiversity value of the site, and what is achievable to attain a biodiversity net-gain post development.
Using a proforma for condition criteria, our ecologists can ensure that all relevant information is captured in the field, at the time of the Phase 1 Habitat Survey ensuring accurate condition assessments. We will include a digitised version of this proforma within our Biodiversity net-gain report to accompany the metric to ensure transparency. Where habitats are in poor or moderate condition, we will highlight any opportunities for enhancement. For example: a hedgerow may be falling short of a good condition based on gaps along its length, however, we would highlight that by planting up the gaps with new hedgerow species, it would achieve this criteria, pushing it over the threshold into good condition, helping the overall biodiversity net-gain calculation.