As part of the planning process, Local Planning Authorities require consideration of the biodiversity value of a site. In most cases this involves undertaking a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA), in accordance with CIEEM Technical Guidance.
A PEA comprises two distinct parts, one desk based and one field based. These are:
- A desk study to search for records of any protected species or habitats within the area
- A walkover of the site to evaluate and map the habitats present and to assess any suitability for protected species such as great crested newts or bats.
Any potential ecological constraints will be identified and recommendations made for any further surveys that are required. This type of survey can be carried out at any time of year but the optimum time is April to September.
As the PEA provides the baseline ecological data for a site, it is important to get it right and make any further ecology surveys recommended are fully considered. This is particularly important due to the seasonal constraints of many protected species.
If required, a PEA can be supplemented with further survey information (e.g. protected species survey results) to form an Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA) for planning. This would address in more detail the legislation and planning policy relevant to the ecological constraints affecting the development. The EcIA would also assess the overall impact of the development and provide recommendations for proportionate mitigation necessary to ensure obligations with respect to biodiversity are met and the outcome of the planning application is successful. In addition to this, an EcIA is also often undertaken as part of an Environmental Impact Assessment, where it is presented as an Environmental Statement chapter.
As well as being highly skilled professionals, ADAS ecology consultants take a pragmatic and practical approach to handling ecological issues on a site from the earliest stage possible and pride ourselves in being able to offer sustainable solutions.