Why do I need a PSYM survey?

PSYM surveys may be requested by an LPA or highlighted during a Phase 1 Habitat Survey if there is evidence that the pond may be of high ecological quality. As a Priority Habitat within the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP), ponds are a material planning consideration.

What does a PSYM survey involve? 

In line with current best practice, our expert surveyors will assess each pond using the Predictive System for Multimetrics, also known as PSYM (pronounced “sim”) methodology. PSYM uses the location of a pond and geographical data, as well as its plant and invertebrate composition, to determine the overall ecological quality of the waterbody.

All samples are analysed and identified by our trained ecologists to family or species level.

What happens next?

Our PSYM report will tell you if your pond is ecologically important by comparing the observed plant and animal assemblages to those predicted under unimpacted conditions by PSYM.

To ensure a positive outcome for your planning application, we provide advice on how ponds can be protected, maintained, enhanced or replaced during and after development.

Are we the right surveyors for you?

Our surveyors undergo an annual botanical exam (field identification skills certificate), run by Manchester Metropolitan University and the Botanical Society for Britain and Ireland (BSBI). All our surveyors have a level four FISC or above, which certifies them to undertake complex botanical surveys. Furthermore, our surveyors undergo bespoke training to enable them to confidently identify all invertebrates to an appropriate level, and to calculate the PSYM scores.

Our surveys follow the methodology developed by the Environment Agency and the Ponds Conservation Trust set out in ‘A guide to monitoring the ecological quality of ponds and canals using PSYM’ (Ponds Conservation Trust, 2002). This method currently constitutes the only biological tool for assessing pond quality.

For more information on the importance of ponds and other Priority Habitats, please click the below link: