Temple was commissioned in 2018 by the London Borough of Ealing to carry out a review of 96Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) in the Borough of Ealing, London, as part of the evidence base for a forthcoming revision of the Local Plan. The aim was to identify and categorise any changes to the extent, habitat composition, condition and management of these SINCs since the last review was completed in 2008. This data was used to assess the current ecogical value of the sites, threats and opportunities for enhancement that informed a review of each site using the criteria for SINC selection in London. In addition, the project included survey of 80 sites proposed as new SINCs and evaluation to establish their value for nature conservation.
The project brief demanded four key requirements:
Our dedicated project team managed the challenges of surveying a large number of sites over the four phases of the project, and resourced strategically and combined surveys to help reduce costs for the client. We carried out effective staff briefings and quality assurance checks throughout the project to ensure a high standard of delivery.
Our team conducted both desk studies and field surveys for each site to assess their importance for nature conservation alongside other benefits/services such as provision of access to nature for local residents. This provided justification for any revision to the SINCs status and boundaries, as well as targeted recommendations to inform current and future management to maintain and enhance the collective importance of these sites. Of the proposed SINCs, 35 have been recommended for designation.
The project required to use biodiversity metrics for data collection and interpretation, which are relatively new to the industry, of which Temple is at the forefront. The baseline biodiversity value of each SINC was calculated using the Defra Biodiversity Metric 3.0 and bespoke biodiversity heatmaps were produced by our Digital Delivery Team to provide an easily interpretable, novel and innovative output for the client, displaying biodiversity hotspots within each site. These will help inform site management decision-making and will support the ongoing SINC review and designation process .