HiDef recently successfully completed a commercial-scale aerial Phase 1 Habitat survey over a large site in north-east England for specialist consultancy EcoNorth.
The site had proved challenging in relation to access, timescales and land use and HiDef was approached to design and undertake the survey using our bespoke, high-resolution video rig. Predefined strip transects were flown at a non-intrusive height over the site, and objects were then identified and data analysed by professional ecologists at HiDef’s offices in Cumbria. Several terrabytes (TB) of ecological data was collated, analysed and safely stored for future review. The coverage achieved by the HiDef team was well in excess of what would have been possible by traditional terrestrial methods and means that the data can be revisited at any point in the future, a massive improvement over traditional practices.
Habitat types were classified as per the Joint Nature Conservation Committee’s (JNCC) guidance, with the HiDef ecology team also identifying locations of water bodies suitable for protected great crested newts. The high degree of spatial accuracy and exceptional ground resolution provided EcoNorth with the best scientific evidence possible in relation to this European protected species and allowed follow-up surveys to be conducted using eDNA water sampling techniques to clarify presence of newts at ponds.
The project was completed within six weeks, from start to report submission and will form part of the planning submission for the development proposal.
“Utilising new technology to resolve environmental challenges has become a trade mark of our work” said HiDef Managing Director Kit Hawkins “It is good to see our team again leading the field of innovation which help clients, planners, developers and the environment”
“We needed an innovative approach to providing a swift, accurate habitat map to inform the next phase of ecological surveys and HiDef’s aerial survey provided just that” explained Vicki Mordue Managing Director at EcoNorth. “The level of detail was such that we were able to see fish in ponds which allowed us to scope out ponds for great crested newts”.