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Ecological Impact Assessments – an introduction

Local planning authorities insist on a full ecological impact assessment before they will validate a planning application. But time can be an issue – so it is important to start the process as quickly as possible.

Preliminary Ecological Appraisal

This is the first stage of the ecological assessment process, and nearly every site needs this work to be done. Our team will examine your site’s potential to support protected species or habitats that are could be affected by your development.

Ecological Impact Assessment

If this first stage finds there is little or no risk of ecological impact, now or in the future, we can provide an Ecological Impact Assessment report at this point. This will be all you need to support your planning application.

If protected species are, or could be, present – and your development might affect them – you will have to undertake further surveys before we can complete the Ecological Impact Assessment. Again, local authorities will require these to validate a planning application.

Preparing the assessment

The surveys we must undertake will depend on the species and habitats that could be affected by the development.  Each species or habitat has a specific survey methodology, and crucially, a specific time of year when the survey needs to be done. These surveys are very time-sensitive.

We will present the results in a single, comprehensive report as an Ecological Impact Assessment. You can then submit this report, to support your planning application. Bear in mind that the report can only be prepared once all surveys have been completed.

For larger developments there may be impacts to protected species and habitats off site, for example because of the greater recreational pressure a large new community can create.  In these circumstances you may need additional assessments such as a Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA).

How we can help

What we will need to do, and how long it will take, will vary greatly from one site to another. Ecological assessments are time-consuming and time-dependent, which can be frustrating.   To minimise the impact on a development project, we will:

  • Give you a ‘heads up’ as early as possible if further assessments are likely.  This may be at the preliminary stages of the project, during the surveys, or when we receive feedback from the regulators.
  • Keep you abreast of our work, to minimise the impact on your project plan.
  • Find the ideal way forward, meeting your requirements for time and cost savings.

Need to know more? Then give us a call on 01638 663226 or send us an email. We’ll be happy to give you our professional advice. And then discuss, and quote for, your specific requirements.