UK Habitat Classification Levels
- Level 1: Provides a broad overview of habitat condition and can be based on existing data, and aerial photographs. This level of assessment is used only for initial investigations to see where further detailed assessments may be required.
- Level 2: This involves more in-depth field surveys and data collection, often using industry-standardised assessment criteria and methodologies which allow for a more quantitative assessment of habitat condition.
- Level 3: These assessments include intensive, rigorous field surveys and data collection which provides a thorough and scientifically robust evaluation of habitat condition.
- Level 4: This requires the use of advanced scientific techniques, extensive data collection, and specialised expertise of industry-certified professionals. This level is usually only completed on critical habitats where precise and thorough condition assessments are essential for building an assessment.
Which assessment to choose comes down to the objectives for the information produced, and factors including the habitat type to be assessed. The data collected is used to inform strategies for habitat restoration and management, supporting land managers to make informed decisions about enhancing biodiversity on their land.
There are a number of reasons that an HCA may be required of a landowner or land manager:
Legal Obligations under environmental legislation; to access grants or funding; to maintain and enhance habitat condition to contribute to land value appreciation.