Preliminary Ecological Appraisals
The foundation of good ecological consideration in a project is a solid Preliminary Ecological Appraisal.
Our skilled ecologists complete these surveys all the time in support of planning applications and we would be happy to discuss how we can help you.
What is a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal?
A preliminary ecological appraisal – PEA for short – is a rapid assessment of the value of a piece of land for biodiversity and protected species. In a development context, this is often the first step for identifying whether a proposal will affect protected species and habitats.
The data for the appraisal are collected by two means: A background data search which is the collection of records of protected species and designated sites within a set distance buffer of the development footprint; and a site visit to identify the habitats present (e.g. Phase 1 Habitat Survey), whether these habitats may support protected or notable species, and collect evidence of any protected species which may be present (e.g. Baseline Ecological Constraints Survey).
Once the data has been collected, an ecologist will then compile all the data into a report, and using these will identify what further data re required (detailed bat surveys for example) and look at what mitigation is required for the development to proceed. They will also use these data to identify opportunities to enhance the proposals for biodiversity and incorporating means to encourage wildlife to co-exist with the development.
For many projects, a PEA (and any follow up surveys required) will be enough for the Planning Authority to make their assessment of a project’s effects. However, some larger projects will require a more thorough Ecological Impacts Assessment, or may require Habitats Regulations Appraisal.
What does EP Ecology provide?
In our PEA Service, we include the following:
- Purchase of protected and notable species records from the Local Records Centre. Local Records centres are the best source of biological records available, in our costs for a PEA we include purchase of biological records from within 2km of the development site;
- Identification of nearby designated sites. Using several online mapping resources, we collate records of local designated sites, what they are designated for, and how far away from the development site they are;
- A site visit. We complete a site survey which we complete a phase 1 habitat survey and a baseline ecological constraints survey which includes assessment of trees and buildings for bat roosting potential, habitat suitability index calculations of any ponds, and records invasive weeds or other signs of protected and notable species; and
- A detailed report. We prepare a detailed report which will explain what we know about the project, who completed the assessment, how we completed the assessment, and will include all of the results and recommendations for mitigation, further survey, and biodiversity enhancement based on the assessment. Our reports are suitable for submission to the Local Planning Authority who you have been dealing with.
How much does it cost?
Look, we know we’re not the cheapest ecologists you can find. We believe in fair pay for fair service – and we put a lot of effort in to make sure that our clients and their LPA get the best data available.
We don’t think anyone should pay less but pay twice.
Our PEA service starts around £750 + VAT, but varies depending on the size of a project, the distance from our office, and the price of records from the local records centre.
We’re always open to providing fee proposals – so feel free to use the form below and see how we can help you today.
EP Ecology are specialist providers of bespoke ecological consultancy solutions throughout Scotland.
Get in touch today for a free, no-obligations discussion about your project.