BNG | 19 November 2023
Can Satellite Imagery Data Be Used For Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG)?
With the big shift in ecology currently underway, large-scale development projects in England will need to achieve Biodiversity Net Gain by January of next year. Already being used to measure environmental variables for many different surveys, GES is currently trialing the use of satellite imagery data to give us an indication of the habitats likely to be encountered on a site, which will then be confirmed by a site visit. We are also using this data to tailor habitat condition assessments to target areas (where site visits are required) and to advise our client base on the viability of future land purchases.
Recently one of our senior ecologists, Chris Bawler, attended a webinar exploring the potential pros and cons of using satellite imagery for assessing and monitoring BNG. An all-round interesting seminar, Chris has suggested the key takeaways are as follows:
- While satellite imagery can be a useful tool for BNG, it needs to be used in the right way and checked by ecologists in the field, therefore it cannot completely replace site visits.
- The data can’t be more accurate than a 5m radius due to resolution and technology limitations. Additionally, they can make a rough guess for 50m2 sections as to what the condition of certain habitats could be, but a field survey is still needed to increase the confidence level.
- Some companies are now offering BNG screening services which combine freely available data such as that available from OS and the living England map to give an indication for what a site could be worth in terms of biodiversity units.
There is no doubt that the guidance from this webinar will be beneficial to us as we continue to offer a range of BNG services to our clients. Serving to ensure that we continue to offer cost-effective and accurate advice that complies with forthcoming legislation requirements, whilst also ensuring our reports fulfill our client projections and planning policy requirements.
Should you require assistance with BNG, then why not get in touch as we would be more than happy to talk things through.
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