New Construction / UK / 2014 / 08-Land Use and Ecology /

Le 03 - Minimising impact on existing site ecology

Information correct as of 23rdJuly 2024. Please see for the latest compliance information.

Change in ecological value- Larger post-development area - KBCN0299

Where the post-development area is larger than the pre-development area, for example due to green undercrofts or green facades, the extra area should be included as hard landscaping before development with no species present. Post development this area should be given its own habitat type with the species numbers verified by the suitably qualified ecologist.  

Change in ecological value- non-native species - KBCN0221

Non-native species specified by the Suitably Qualified Ecologist (SQE) can be included in ecology calculations. There are no requirements set for LE 03 relating to the specification of non-native species (this differs from the requirements in LE 04). If an SQE specifies non-native plants for the development and confirms the species count pre and post development, then non-native species can be included in the ecological change calculation.

Ecological enhancements – large mixed use/multi-building developments - KBCN0588

At the Post Construction stage of assessment, for large mixed use/multi-building developments, where the whole site has not been completed and ecological enhancements have not yet been added, or where features are being added at a later date in an appropriate planting season: evidence from the client or principal contractor confirming planting will be completed within 18 months from completion of the development is acceptable.

Ecological value – timing of planting - KBCN0479

Where the 18 month deadline for the completion of the planting is likely to be exceeded due to the timing or phasing of the construction, the project team will need to clearly justify the reason for this variation, and provide a written commitment to carry out the planting within a reasonable and justifiable timescale.

GN13 Relating ecologist’s report and BREEAM - KBCN0626

Introduction This guidance note is to be used for registered BREEAM UK New Construction 2014 and RFO 2014 and International New Construction 2016 and RFO 2015 assessments, where an ecologist has been appointed by the client and has produced an ecology report for the proposed development. The purpose of this guidance note is to help the BREEAM Assessor relate the content of the ecologist’s report to the BREEAM Land Use and Ecology section criteria (assessment issues LE 02, LE 03 (UK only), LE 04 and LE 05). The guidance within this document has been produced to support the assessment of the aforementioned BREEAM issues and should not be interpreted as criteria. If the BREEAM Assessor chooses to use the template provided within this guidance note as evidence in the assessment (use of this document is optional) the assessor or the appointed suitably qualified ecologist must complete all relevant sections View full Guidance Note (licensed assessors only) View all Guidance Notes (licensed assessors only)
01/04/2020 Clarified applicability to UK RFO 2014 and International RFO 2015 schemes

Green walls – recognition of ecological value - KBCN0869

Green walls cannot be considered compliant for the, 'Minimising impact on site ecology' Issue due to concerns over high maintenance requirements, whereby the plants are not self-supporting and cannot, therefore, be considered as a sustainable solution in themselves or in mitigating the impact of the loss of ground-based planting. In terms of 'Enhancing site ecology', however, where a specific green wall system and species mix are supported by the SQE's recommendations and there is evidence that a comprehensive on-going maintenance strategy will be in place, this can be recognised. In such cases, a separate calculator tool may be completed for this Issue to demonstrate the species richness of the site, including the contribution of the green wall. The following methodology may be used:
30/11/17 Guidance on methodology added

LE03 / LE04 calculator – number of habitat types rows - KBCN0880

Unfortunately, due to the complexity of the calculator tool it takes a significant amount of time to add additional rows, but in cases where there are more than 20 habitat types, the following method can be followed to calculate the overall ecological value and number of credits achieved:
  1. Open two LE03&LE04 calculator tools (LE03&LE04 Ecology Calculator 2)
  2. Enter 20 habitat types into the first tool
  3. Take the total Ecological Value for pre-development (cell H51) from the first tool and enter this into the first habitat row of the second tool (cell F8 in NC 2011 v1.10 and cell F9 in NC 2014 v.2.0)
  4. Take the total site area for pre-development (cell H49) from the first tool and enter this into the first habitat row of the second calculator (cell H8 in NC 2011 and H9 in NC 2014)
  5. Take the total Ecological Value for post-development (cell K51) from the first tool and enter this into the second habitat row of the second calculator (cell F10 in NC 2011 and cell F11 in NC 2014)
  6. Take the total site area for post-development (cell K49) from the first tool and enter this into the second habitat row of the second calculator (cell K10 in NC 2011 and cell K11 in NC 2014)
  7. This will combine 20 species types into 2 rows, leaving space for a further 18 habitat types
  8. Send in both tools as evidence at QA, including this compliance note.
For a project which needs even more rows, this process can be repeated using a third tool if required. In this case all tools need to be send as evidence to QA, including this KBCN.

Risk to Ecologist’s safety - KBCN0704

In some situations a significant safety risk may prevent a suitably qualified ecologist from attending the site to undertake a site survey. In these cases a desktop study can be used to demonstrate compliance, where the ecologist confirms that it is an acceptably robust substitute. In these cases, the assessor must provide evidence to confirm the type of significant safety risk present.  

Suitably Qualified Ecologist – Other recognised organisations - KBCN0192

With regards to the definition of a Suitably Qualified Ecologist, in addition to the organisations already listed within the manual, full members of the following organisations are also deemed SQE's; Provided the individual meets all other requirements as outlined in the definition of a Suitably Qualified Ecologist (SQE).

Suitably Qualified Ecologist – Professional membership - KBCN0743

With reference to the definition provided in the technical guidance, ecologists can be considered as meeting Requirement 3 based on full membership of the organisations listed.

Those who are not full members may be considered as meeting Requirement 3, however the assessor must ensure and demonstrate, that the ecologist is covered by a professional code of conduct and is subject to peer review.

In all cases, Requirements 1 and 2 must also be met.

24 May 2024 - Updated to clarify that where ecologists who are not full members of a professional body meet the above guidance for Requirement 3, other than also meeting Requirements 1 and 2, no additional evidence or confirmation is required.

Temporary ecological enhancements prior to development - KBCN00065

Where a site has been acquired but development is not scheduled to start immediately, it is possible to determine the baseline ecological value of the site at this point. Furthermore, to recognise where positive measures to enhance ecology have been taken to manage the site until development starts, these enhancement measures will not impact on the baseline value for the purposes of the BREEAM assessment, provided that the following have been met: Clarification: This guidance is currently under development. Please contact BRE Global with specific project details for confirmation of whether this approach may be used. The aim of these issues is to demonstrate the impact that a project has had on the site ecology, but comparing the site pre and post development. BREEAM does not want to penalise sites that have put in temporary ecological enhancements that enhance the ecology while waiting for development to begin.
Information correct as of 23rdJuly 2024. Please see for the latest compliance information.