National Vegetation Classification survey

National Vegetation Classification 

The National Vegetation Classification (NVC) is the most detailed habitat classification available in Britain and serves to characterise communities of plants and some fungi into a broad spectrum of discrete habitat types. In addition to its ability to  classify habitats, the NVC provides important information on environmental context for habitats, including information on soils, community composition, distribution of habitats, rare species associates and more.

The NVC is particularly useful in the identification of important habitats which are materially important to development schemes. These include:

  • Priority habitats: Habitats of Principal Importance for the conservation of biodiversity nationally.
  • Annex I habitats: Habitats of international importance recognised under Annex I Habitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC) 1992
  • Irreplaceable habitats: Including ancient woodlands, blanket bog and lowland fen as some examples.

The NVC is also useful in the identification of Ground Water Dependent Terrestrial Ecosystems (GWDTEs) which may be impacted by a scheme and can also be used as a monitoring tool in many situations for a range of sites.

Where a full view of a site’s botanical value is required, it may be appropriate to consider NVC survey in tandem with an Important Plant Survey. This is particularly the case where European Protected Species, priority and other important plants may stand to be impacted by a project.

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