In a relatively small area the British Isles have a great diversity of habitats, most of which are the result of human intervention, sometimes many centuries ago.  Sites and habitats in the UK are protected under the Conservation Regulations, the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949.   Important habitats in the UK are protected through a system of designations from international to local importance:

  • Internationally designated sites include; Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) (designated for habitats and / or species), Special Protection Areas (SPA’s) (designated for importance to birds) and Ramsar sites (important wetlands), which are all strictly protected
  • Nationally designated sites include; Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and National Nature Reserves (NNRs), which represent the most important examples of a type and are strictly protected
  • Local Natures Reserves (LNRs) are usually owned and managed by the local authority and are protected
  • County / Local wildlife sites, etc. are sites which have been assessed of importance and may be included in local plans and polices
  • Ancient woodlands are those known to have been continuously present since 1600.  As habitats that are particularly difficult to mitigate for the loss of their importance they are specifically noted in the new National Planning Policy Framework http://communities.gov.uk/planningandbuilding/planningsystem/planningpolicy/planningpolicyframework/
  • Important hedgerows are protected under the Hedgerow Regulations 1997.  Importance is identified by a combination of cultural heritage and ecological factors

Richard Graves Associates can provide the following habitat advice and survey:

  • Walkover survey, Preliminary Ecological Assessment
  • Phase I and Extended Phase I survey
  • Biodiversity survey
  • Urban habitat survey
  • Habitat mitigation
  • Habitat management planning
  • Habitat translocation
  • Habitat creation and restoration
  • Advice on protected and designated sites
  • Woodland survey
  • Hedgerow survey and assessment
  • Pond survey and assessment
  • Canals, rivers and wetlands


Useful and important information about habitats can be obtained at any time of year.  However certain habitats and some species will be more apparent at certain times of year.  The optimum timing for Phase I Survey is between March and September.