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A Guide to a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA)

Preliminary Ecological Appraisal

When is a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal needed? What does it involve?

Do you have vegetation, standing or running water, or buildings to be impacted on your site? If so, there’s a good chance you’ll be asked to have a baseline ecology survey carried out prior to validation of your planning application.

Baseline ecology surveys have been given numerous names (Phase 1 Ecology Survey, Habitat Survey etc). But the standard title these days is the Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA). These surveys can be carried out at any time of the year and aim to provide you and the local planning authority with an overview of confirmed or potential ecological constraints within a site.

The PEA includes a desk study, where we look for nearby designated sites which may be impacted. We also obtain and analyse data of protected and notable species that have been recorded in the area. We then carry out a walkover survey of the site, where we make note of the plant species present and potential for protected and notable species and habitats to be impacted. The findings are presented in a concise report, with an evaluation of the ecological significance of the site in the local context. Recommendations are also provided at this stage for further surveys, avoidance and mitigation measures as required.

It is highly recommended that the PEA is commissioned as early as possible. So as potential constraints, including time-restricted species surveys, can be flagged and planned into the timeframes and costings of the project.

If you aren’t sure whether a PEA is required, agb Environmental have released EVA (Ecological Validation Appraisal). It’s a unique service aimed at providing you with a clear steer on whether the Local Planning Authority will be seeking a PEA, and what subsequent surveys may be appropriate. More details are available here.

Get in touch

For more information on PEA, EVA or any other issue related to ecology and environmental surveys for development projects, get in touch. Contact Richard Parmee, Head of Natural Environment by email or Cassie Todd, Principal Ecologist by email, or call the Newmarket office on 01638 663226.

Ecology, News