The purpose of this Guidance Note is to provide asset managers, property managers and facilities managers with information relating to the use of Landscape Habitat Management Plans to monitor and maintain installed green spaces.
Due to the constantly changing nature of plants and ecological habitats, monitoring and maintenance is essential to ensure the long-term benefits and sustained functionality of green space installations.
Landscape Habitat Management Plans (LHMP) set out a structured method of positive action to maintain the functional value of an installed green space.
A LHMP should:
Monitoring and maintaining green spaces is important to optimise their value over the long-term and throughout its lifetime. Proactive monitoring and good maintenance practice enable asset owners to:
The table below summarises the key activities associated with monitoring and maintenance of green spaces through Landscape Habitat Management Plans, and highlights where asset managers, property managers and facilities managers are likely to have a responsibility or specific interest.
1. LHMP scope
2. Identify potential maintenance risks
3. Enabling a consistent approach to monitoring and maintenance
5. Stakeholder engagement
Establishing a Landscape Habitat Management Plans for a property involves input from a range of specialists during the process of undertaking an ecological survey. The process will usually be coordinated by a property manager with support and input from a facilities manager.
Establishing a Landscape Habitat Management Plans involves consideration of the following elements as part of undertaking an ecological survey:
It is recommended that a LHMP is provided for newly installed green spaces, any retrofitted green spaces, and existing spaces which have undergone significant redesign.
For newly installed spaces, a LHMP should be prepared as part of the detailed design stage, ahead of the construction stage, to accommodate the arrangements for the long-term management of the green space. The LHMP should be updated post-completion to ensure alignment with the delivered installation.
For newly installed green spaces, a Landscape Habitat Management Plan (LHMP) should cover a minimum five-year period following the completion of installation.
As many green space installations, for example planting schemes, can be susceptible to failure in the first five years of the installation, a LHMP can respond to any defects from the installation or poor species selection during this initial period.
LHMPs should be prepared in accordance with section 11.1 of British Standard BS 42020:2013 Biodiversity Code of Practice for Planning and Development and should include the following information, some of which will be produced during the ecological surveys:
It is important to consider any risks associated with the maintenance of green space. The following questions may be useful when considering maintenance risks:
It is important to deliver continuity of maintenance so that green spaces provide continual value throughout their lifespan.
For new installations, it is recommended that the landscape contractor who installed the space is retained for a minimum of one year, preferably three to five years for more significant projects, to maintain the scheme. This will help to ensure successful establishment of the planting.
When any change in maintenance contractor occurs, it is important to ensure that an appropriate handover period is arranged, and that the new contractor has access to the relevant information, including access to an up-to-date version of the LHMP.
Where multiple green spaces are maintained as part of a larger development or wider portfolio, a strategic management plan could be developed to enable consistency in maintenance across all features.
A strategic management plan can support the strategic objectives of the portfolio or property by:
Monitoring and reporting provide opportunities to assess the ongoing state of green space installations, and to and present findings to management for action.
Day-to-day checks on green space installations should be encouraged. Regular checks on condition and functionality of the space can help to identify any potential issues early, and before they become a greater problem.
Other checks should be carried out on a monthly basis, for example:
Any concerns noted during these visits should be raised with the landscape maintenance contractor or ecologist.
Specialist monitoring can be undertaken to provide further information and expert guidance or recommendations. This may include more detailed species monitoring, for example:
General maintenance activities, such as checking and cleaning drainage outlets for green roofs, should be undertaken by the landscape maintenance contractor on a regular basis to the timings set out in the LHMP.
Feedback from users of a green space can be valuable to ensuring the success of the installation. This could be done in the format of user questionnaires or by providing a named contact for users to provide any informal suggestions.
Reporting and review
Information collected through monitoring a property’s biodiversity or green spaces should be fed back to the property manager as part of the overall maintenance plan for a property. Findings relating to biodiversity risk should be captured within the environmental risk register.
Sharing management and maintenance responsibilities with stakeholders and users of the green space can be a good way to engage on the long-term objectives and to review the continued value of the installation.
Some examples of engagement opportunities include:
The following Guidance Notes contain related information:
Ecological Master Plan in London
As part of The Crown Estate’s ecological master plan for its holdings in Regent Street and St James’s, the organisation is creating a green corridor linking Regent's Park and St James's Park. Plans include green roofs, brown roofs, green walls, pocket habitats, community gardens, street trees, window boxes and planters, as well as bird boxes, bat boxes and bee hives. Through its estate-wide approach, The Crown Estate is creating valuable habitats for wildlife and improving the experience for people living, working and visiting the area. It will also kick start the 'Wild West End’, a unique collaboration by London property owners to promote green infrastructure in the capital, supported by the Mayor of London, the London Wildlife Trust and Arup. Read the case study here.