Rare Plant Species

There are a number of rare plants in the UK. Some are found fragmented around in a few areas of our country, some are specific to the UK and others may be only found on one site here in Great Britain, but located in a few areas in other countries.

Rare plant surveys can be a general floristic survey to assess a site for rare plant species to more detailed surveys, including population surveys, of a particular rare plant species. There are a variety of survey methodologies, dependent on the type of survey required, such as Common Standards Monitoring (CSM) survey, which is usually used on designated sites, to a survey tailored for a targeted rare plant species. Surveys should be timed for when the plant species will be present, usually between late spring and early autumn.

The surveys can be for projects to inform a proposed construction, such as a proposed new build or wind farm, to provide an assessment for a habitat or conservation management plan or to provide an assessment for a designated site or local wildlife site.

The requirement for rare plant surveys are usually highlighted in an initial Phase 1 Habitat Survey, an NVC survey, past surveys of the site or from previous records collected in the area. For a proposed development detailed surveys of plants should be undertaken where:

a) the development may affect any plant species referred to in:

  • the Red Data Book
  • Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act
  • Appendix 1 of the Bern Convention
  • Annexes II and IV of European Community Habitats Directive
  • Scarce Plants in Britain, published by JNCC

b) there are habitats of statutory significance for vascular plants, especially priority habitats as listed in Annex I of the European Community Habitats Directive.

c) there are vegetation types of potential regional or local (i.e. district) importance.

The surveys should be undertaken by experienced botanists who can identify a variety of plant species, including those groups comprising species that are difficult to identify.

OpenSpace have experienced botanists who can undertake rare plant species surveys. If you require such a survey, for more information or advice please call us on 01228 711841 or email enquiries@openspacegb.com.

Updated April 2017