Biodiversity Net Gain and Urban greening Factor Support
With the updated NPPF and proposed Government Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) mandate, it’s becoming increasingly necessary to establish how new development results in measurable gains for biodiversity. The emerging new London Plan also embeds requirements for BNG with an added need to meet improvements in green space coverage using the Urban Greening Factor (UGF) tool.
Generally speaking BNG can be easily achieved however greater forethought and understanding are required from design teams at planning. Greengage’s ecologists are experienced in the delivery of BNG both at the corporate and project level. Our expert team can help provide policy compliance advice, undertake calculations and inform design interventions to help maximise improvements.
Green Infrastructure (GI) describes the strategically planned network of multifunctional green space that exists in our towns and cities. Our urban ecologists have a wealth of knowledge surrounding the design and implementation of innovative GI solutions for developments across London and the UK, undertaking GI Audits and producing GI Strategies. We work with design teams to provide bespoke GI advice and design that can feed into site wide management plans, address planning conditions or complement CSR targets, building on our understanding of UK wide policy drivers and LPA requirements.
Greengage employ some of the UK’s leading specialists in GI and living roof design, having specified and monitored green roofs across the UK. We aim to deliver innovative multifunctional solutions, working with architects and landscape teams to also maximise BREEAM Land Use & Ecology credit achievement.
Corporate Biodiversity Strategy
Greengage are experienced in the production of Corporate Biodiversity Strategies and Biodiversity Action Plans. We have worked with a range of major landholders and developers, designing long term nature conservation targets which reflect wider climate change adaptation objectives and industry trends. As part of this we have utilised our ecological survey experience alongside innovative ecosystem service valuation techniques, GIS mapping and sustainability, energy efficiency and arboricultural expertise to provide holistic Climate Change Resilience Plans. We have also supported in the production of industry and academic guidance on urban biodiversity and green infrastructure. Greengage run corporate training sessions for green infrastructure and biodiversity and can help encourage a businesses’ engagement with nature.
Ecosystem Service Valuation
Greengage are experienced in undertaking Ecosystem Service Valuation (ESV) assessments using a range of tools including the Green Infrastructure Valuation Toolkit and iTree Eco. Such assessments can assess a site’s value with respect to ecosystem service provision, such as carbon sequestration, flood water attenuation, biodiversity gain and urban heat island effect reduction. Benefits can be described in financial terms or through qualitative appraisals. ESV can help identify climate resilience risk factors and inform actions for management and intervention at sites, either to support new development and planning requirements, or contribute towards CSR objectives.
Preliminary Ecological Appraisals/Biodiversity Assessments
Preliminary Ecological Appraisals (PEAs) are the industry standard baseline ecology assessment. PEAs are usually expected as a minimum to support planning submissions where natural habitats or features of potential value for certain species are present on a site. Our team of field ecologists have extensive experience of undertaking PEAs (otherwise known as Phase 1 Ecology Surveys or Biodiversity Assessments). These surveys aim to identify and map the ecological features of a site and the potential for protected/notable species or habitats to be present. This allows us to provide advice on next steps, further survey work and, where possible, mitigation, compensation and enhancement measures. We can provide strategic advice relating to planning submission timeframes and design approach to help ensure legislative and policy compliance, helping your scheme through planning.
Ecological Impact Assessment & HRA
Following baseline biodiversity surveys, our ecology experts will undertake a detailed analysis of a site’s ecological quality and significance. Our team can identify and quantify the potential ecological impacts associated with a proposed development; and recommend measures to avoid, reduce or mitigate against potential impacts and enhance biodiversity value. The findings are presented in an Ecology Chapter as part of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). We also provide strategic advice and support regarding development and the need to undertake Appropriate Assessment as part of a Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA), should your development stand to impact a European designated site.
Bat Surveys & Protected Species Surveys
Our ecology team can assess the potential for protected, rare or notable species to be present at a site, identifying the need for phase 2 protected species surveys to help ensure legislative and planning policy compliance.
For bats we offer support throughout the planning process providing a range of bat survey types including Emergence/Re-entry Surveys, Activity Surveys and Preliminary Roost Assessments. Greengage hold a Natural England Class Bat Survey Licence enabling detailed assessments of development sites with roosts. Our experience with bats and the built form allows bespoke and focussed advice through the creation of mitigation strategies and the successful and timely achievement of European Protected Species Mitigation Licences.
Among others, we also offer specialist Reptile, Dormice, Great Crested Newt, Invertebrate, Bird and Water Vole survey and mitigation support. Many protected species surveys are seasonally constrained and we can provide advice on what surveys can be carried out over the year and how this may influence the planning and construction programme. We strongly advise that early consultation with us is sought to avoid delays to the project programme.
Greengage can help maximise BREEAM Land Use and Ecology credit achievement, providing advice relating to the required actions and associated timeframes needed to meet credits LE02-LE05. Our in house “Suitably Qualified Ecologists” can undertake baseline surveys and evaluate the ecological value of sites, advising on design evolution and engaging with design teams to help address credit requirements relating to biodiversity protection and improvement. This may include production of Ecological Management Plans or GI Strategies which can help secure successful establishment and long term management of habitats and biodiversity features. We can undertake site visits during construction to monitor the protection of ecological features and provide bespoke ecology training workshops to construction contractors and site managers. Our BREEAM Ecology Reports are compliant with the BRE evidence requirements.
Biodiversity Construction & Ecological Clerk of Works
We carry out ecology training for construction teams and conduct site visits during construction to monitor the protection and enhancement of ecological features on sites. We also provide an Ecological Clerk of Works (ECoW) watching brief role that is required to comply with legislation or the discharge of planning conditions, and support the achievement of BREEAM credits.
Bespoke Biodiversity Advice
We use our ecological landscaping expertise to create biodiversity strategies for masterplanning of developments. These aim to promote the delivery of multifunctional biodiverse landscapes, integrating blue and green infrastructure, adaptating to climate change, reducing surface water flooding and minimising the urban heat island effect. We can also help identify habitat restoration and creation requirements (including naturalised amenity and play space) and provide bespoke, multifunctional solutions, tailored to the location and mix of a proposed development. Examples of our bespoke advice include production of masterplan living roof strategies, ancient woodland management strategies, calcareous meadow restoration schemes, and the design of nature education programmes and engagement strategies.
We also provide bespoke training programmes and CPD sessions which can cover any aspect of ecology or GI, tailored to fit your practice. Click here to read more.