Monitoring is carried out to identify heaths at risk from urban pressure, target mitigation work, establish baseline data for visitor use and gauge opinions on heathlands as well as provide information to allow continuous assessment of the Urban Heaths Partnership (UHP) project.
Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspaces (SANGs) are designed to provide alternative greenspace and to divert visitors from the Dorset Heaths SPA.
SANGs can be strategic or development-linked and are designed to mitigate against the potential increased pressure on the SPA that may arise from new housing development.
In line with the DHPF, SANG monitoring should be established to inform delivery and allow for adjustments as well as demonstrating the SANGs functionality and use by existing local residents. UHP staff work with land owners and developers to carry out monitoring on SANG sites by using a combination of the following methods: installation of remote people counting sensors, on-site visitor questionnaires, observational surveys and car park monitoring. Information and data collected from on-site visitor questionnaires is then summarised and presented in a report.
Wildlife and Habitat Recording
The UHP monitoring and wardening team assist partners as required with all recording of wildlife and habitat information for sites within their area.
Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust (ARC) provide the necessary training and licences for UHP wardens to permit them to collect reptile data. Records are collected across the whole Urban Heaths Partnership area. These records must be submitted to ARC annually for addition to the database and for inclusion in licence returns to Natural England. Persons acting as accredited agents under ARC’s protected species licence and not submitting records will not be re licensed.
Standardised survey and recording methods are being developed to facilitate data exchange across the partnership and to monitor the effectiveness of the Interim Planning Framework.