In 1995, the six Warwickshire local authorities plus Solihull and Coventry unitary authorities, English Nature (Natural England) and the Environment Agency established the Habitat Biodiversity Audit (HBA) Partnership under the management of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.

The purpose of the audit

The HBA’s remit was to survey every field and boundary in the sub-region to provide up-to-date biodiversity data. The data is held on a Geographical Information System (GIS), which provides high-quality coded maps and linked site notes with a powerful tool for interpretation and statistical analysis.

In 2006 the Committee of the Region, European Union report on Halting the loss biodiversity by 2010 stated that "This ground-breaking initiative is being used by all unitary, county and district authorities in the sub-region for influencing policies and for subsequent monitoring in development control, forward planning, biodiversity action plans, mineral extraction, land restoration/creation plus agri-environment schemes."

Surveying

Surveying is ongoing, and we will update the HBA on an annual basis. The aim is for each field and boundary to be re-surveyed at least every five years. Volunteer surveyors have made a valuable contribution to updating the survey.

The data is invaluable in protecting and enhancing habitats across the sub-region. The planning authorities use the information for a range of purposes, including spatial planning and development control. As the longest continual running survey of its kind. The Phase 1 Habitat survey for Warwickshire has become an invaluable research data set for land-use change and landscape enhancements across the region. A Guide to Phase 1  Habitats and Hedgerows in Warwickshire is available for anyone who wants to find out more about surveying.

The HBA data has been used for Green Infrastructure and Ecological ConnectivityBiodiversity Offsetting and Ecosystem Services as well as providing evidence to partner strategy formation.

The benefits of the HBA 

To read more about the benefits of the HBA, select the following link.

Warwickshire wildlife sites project – local wildlife sites designation

The Wildlife Sites Project began in 1999 to develop and maintain a formalised local wildlife sites system for Warwickshire, made up of wildlife sites and local geological sites as part of a wider initiative with Coventry and Solihull. Originally developed for the West Midlands by Natural England, the Wildlife Sites Project is now part of the HBA Partnership. 

The designation of Local Wildlife Sites is considered by a panel of experts including representatives from Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, Natural England, Solihull MBC & our Ecological Services plus local independent experts.

To read more about the project, view the ‘Green Book

2016 HBA anniversary – 20 years of valuing nature

In June 2016 The HBA celebrated its 20th Anniversary at Ryton Organic Gardens. In 1995 John Craven personally endorsed the HBA which featured on BBC’s Countryfile as “The launch of an exciting new initiative to map the rich variety of wildlife in Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull.” Presentations from the event can be found below: