From small local projects to large‐scale national projects such as HS2, the team at Ardent has considerable experience in gaining access to land.

Surveys are a key part of any project; they provide the baseline environmental conditions that determine the characterisation of an area prior to development. While many surveys can be completed in one visit and from publicly accessible land such as footpaths and rights of way, most involve accessing private land and, in some cases, require repeat visits. In order for this process to run smoothly, the cooperation of landowners and occupiers is essential.


Non‐Intrusive Surveys:

The majority of environmental surveys are classed as ‘non‐intrusive’. These typically involve observations, measurements and the taking of notes and photographs. These surveys do not cause any significant disturbance to the environment or to land or property.

Common Surveys:

  • Phase 1 Habitat (Preliminary Ecological Appraisal)
  • Ponds / Amphibians / Great Crested Newts / Water Invertebrates
  • Habitats and Vegetation / Hedgerows / Invertebrates
  • Mammals (Badgers, Dormice, etc.)
  • Breeding and Winter Birds / Barn Owls / Bats
  • Reptiles
  • River Corridors and Habitats / Fish / Otters / Water Voles
  • Topographic Assessments
  • Ground Penetrating Radars
  • Surface and Groundwater
  • Soil
  • Noise and Vibration
  • Traffic and Pedestrian
  • Cultural Heritage
  • Visual Impact / Landscape Character Assessment

Intrusive Surveys:

Intrusive surveys are typically Ground Investigations (GI) and involve the examination of soil, rocks and groundwater below the surface. These surveys can cause significant disturbance to land or property. Common survey techniques and methodologies include:

  • Cable Percussion Boreholes
  • Rotary Core Boreholes
  • Cone Penetration Testing
  • Trial Pits and Trenches
  • Hand Augering
  • Archaeological Trenching


We pride ourselves on achieving access for our clients. We were recently congratulated by HS2 for being the most successful land team in gaining access, after successfully completing over 2,000 landowner licences within a short timeframe. We have historically achieved access to vast areas of land. An example of this is one DCO project that required access to a 1km buffer area over a large number of route options – the Ardent team achieved access to over 120km2 of land within a four‐week window. Whether it be informal walkover ecology surveys or intrusive investigations requiring formal licences, our team has the experience you need.

For more information regarding our Land Referencing and survey access services, please contact Mike Crowther at:


The AGI team at Ardent make use of their bespoke land information database, Atlas, to facilitate a digital, data driven approach to Survey Access. Utilising GIS web applications and a centralised database for land information we are able to manage complex datasets relating to survey access. The integrated GIS allows a real time view of land parcels that are available for survey, access to all related information regarding payments, land owner information and survey schedules. Dashboards provide a visual breakdown of key performance indicators and can be designed to fit the reporting requirements of the project.

For more information regarding our Atlas services, contact our Atlas & Geospatial Insights Lead, Adam Hankinson at:

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