The checklist below was devised for review of LEMPs submitted for quarry sites i.e. it includes requirements for restoration and aftercare. However, it contains principles that can be applied to review of LEMPs for a wider range of development types.
Does the LEMP comprise written information linked to a plan identifying specific vegetation/habitat compartments/plots, and a summary schedule showing timings? Is it clear how these relate to each other? Is the whole site included i.e. not just newly restored areas but also existing vegetation? Is the whole document fit for purpose as a guide for site managers responsible for creation and management of vegetation, so that they know what needs to be done where, when, how and why?
TOP TIP: On the plan drawing, make sure the symbol used for each vegetation type is clearly distinguishable from others without ambiguity. Avoid using lots of different shades of green. A LEMP is a working document that requires implementation and is not for presentation purposes or to simply satisfy a planning condition.
Is it clear why the vegetation is required, what its purpose/objective is? Is it clear what the intended structure and composition of the habitat/vegetation type should be that would fulfil its purposes?
TOP TIP: Think about the multiple functions that vegetation can perform at the specific location where it is proposed. For example, a woodland belt could help screen views of operations from particular locations, maintain a wildlife corridor, filter dust from neighbouring properties, and / or contribute to reducing surface water runoff.
Is it clear how the vegetation will be established? Has consideration been given to sufficient ground preparation, appropriate planting or seeding mix for the conditions and intended purpose and anticipated maintenance regime ? Is the proposed method technically achievable, practically deliverable and able to be sustained into the future?
TOP TIP: Where the sole purpose of new vegetation is to enhance biodiversity, carefully consider whether the plot/compartment could be left to regenerate or colonise with plants naturally. Consider how long the intended vegetation is likely to take to establish if left to nature, and state clearly the anticipated coverage of vegetation likely at key points during the 5 year aftercare period, together with any remedial action that may be required should natural regeneration not meet stated targets.
Have key management tasks been identified that will ensure successful vegetation establishment and ongoing management? Are these sufficient to ensure the functions/purpose of vegetation types is sustained for the life of the development? Is it clear when such operations should be carried out? Do the management actions take into account any legal requirements e.g. protected species, felling licences? Is it clearly stated when professional input or supervision is required e.g. ecologists, arboriculturalists?
Is it clear who is responsible for carrying out the LEMP? Is there a procedure set out (including a template for progress reports) that will allow DCC to check how the LEMP is being implemented on an annual basis? Are arrangements in place for ongoing protection and management of vegetation?
Natural Environment team, Devon County Council