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Last edited 15 Dec 2021
BREEAM Ecological value of site
To encourage development on land that already has limited value to wildlife and to protect existing ecological features from substantial damage during site preparation and completion of construction works.
 When to consider
Before RIBA stage 1 where possible. A site inspection by an ecologist must be carried out before any works begin on the chosen site. Where there is a choice of sites, inspections will be required of each and where able the site with the lowest ecological value should be selected. If an area of the site needs to be protected then the design and works will have to work around that and the earlier this is known the better.
The ‘BREEAM checklist for defining land of low ecological value’ can be used by the Assessor. Where a project wishes to achieve a BREEAM Very Good rating an ecologist will need to be involved as part of the minimum requirements and so would be best placed to advise on the ecological value of the site too.
Where the BREEAM checklist is being used the assessor will need to be provided with the following information:
- If planning required an ecological survey or statement? (Most likely yes)
- Where exactly the site is located and the assessor can investigate or design team can provide evidence to show if there are any special areas of conservation, special protection areas, sites of special scientific interest or Ramsar sites nearby. http://www.magic.gov.uk/ can be used for sites in England.
- What kind of habitats and features are found on the site.
If using an ecologist, they will need to carry out a site inspection prior to any works beginning on site and at appropriate times of the year to determine if there is any ecological value in the site. If the overall value of the site is low the credit will be achievable but if there is value the site cannot gain the credit. See compliance notes in the BREEAM manual if the site was cleared prior to purchase.
Where the ecologist confirms the overall value is low but there are some features that should be retained and protected during construction these should be highlighted to the design team as early as possible.
 Questions to ask while seeking compliance
- What state is the site in?
- Is it mostly hard standing?
- Is it a greenfield site or a brownfield site?
- What surrounds the site, urban, semi-rural, rural?
- Are there any derelict buildings?
- Are there trees on site, if so are they established?
- Knowledge base - http://kb.breeam.com/section/new-construction/uk/2014-uk/landuseandecology/le02/
- https://www.gov.uk/check-your-business-protected-area which provides links to sites such as - http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/protectedsites/sacselection/SAC_list.asp?Country=E, gov.uk/sitelink/index.jsp and http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-162
 Tips and best practice
 Typical evidence
- Ecology report produced by a suitably qualified ecologist.
- Confirmation the ecologist is suitably qualified.
- Correspondence from the local authority to demonstrate if an ecology statement was needed.
- Maps and extracts from websites and authorities on the location of protected areas.
- Site photographs.
 Applicable Schemes
The guidelines collated in this ISD aim to support sustainable best practice in the topic described. This issue may apply in multiple BREEAM schemes covering different stages in the life of a building, different building types and different year versions. Some content may be generic but scheme nuances should also be taken into account. Refer to the comments below and related articles to this one to understand these nuances. See this document for further guidelines.
- UK New Construction 2014
--Emma Houston 11:15, 18 Jan 2018 (BST)
- Biodiversity in the urban environment.
- Biodiversity offsetting.
- Biodiversity net gain consultation.
- BREEAM Enhancing site ecology.
- BREEAM Protection of ecological features.
- BREEAM Minimising impact on existing site ecology.
- Ecological baseline.
- Ecological impact assessment.
- Ecological network.
- Ecological survey.
- Ecology compensation.
- Habitat Suitability Index.
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