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Back to News & Views 8th November 2017

Preliminary Ecological Appraisal

Preliminary Ecological Appraisals (PEAs) establish baseline conditions and evaluate the importance of any ecological features present (or those that could be present) within the specified site.  It has two main elements; an ecological desk study and an extended Phase 1 habitat survey.

When undertaking the desk study, MEL collates data on statutory designated sites, such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and priority habitats. We also contact the local biological records centre to obtain details of locally designated sites for wildlife and existing records of protected and priority species in the vicinity of the site. The data from these and other sources is brought together using GIS to provide a printed map.

With  regard  to  habitats  and  vegetation  PEAs follow Phase  1  Habitat  Survey  guidelines  as  set out by  the  Joint Nature Conservation Committee of the UK (JNCC, 2010; IEA1995).

The Appraisal will:

The  results of baseline appraisals will often  form the  basis  for more  detailed  or  specific ecological surveys,  and  for  the  setting  of  site management objectives.

As part of the PEA, MEL are able to advise on any initial ecological issues that we identify, for example, in relation to designated sites and priority habitats, and also what is likely to be required in order to complete the ecological assessment, for example, surveys for protected species. Initial guidance on measures that could be incorporated into the development design to avoid and mitigate ecological impacts can also be provided at this stage. The PEA can therefore be an extremely useful tool for development masterplanning and can also form the basis of an ecological impact assessment later on in the project.

It  is  important  to  note  that  most,  if  not  all, planning  applications  will  require  an  assessment of ecological effects. In most cases a  PEA  will  not  provide  all  of  the  information required by the regulatory bodies to determine a planning application, but it will be helpful in informing  a  developer  of  the key  ecological  constraints,  design  options, requirements  for further surveys and mitigation measures. It can also be useful in providing a basis for consultation with the determining authority and other stakeholders.

Contact us if you would like to enquire or receive any further information on preliminary ecological appraisals on 01676 525880

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