Ecological Impact Assessment
An Ecological Impact Assessment provides decision makers with information about the likely significant ecological effects associated with a project. Ecological Impact Assessment is a key component of the Environmental Impact Assessment, but may be undertaken in a wide range of situations, for example for developments on land which has been determined to have ecological value in a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal, or for changes to agricultural land and forestry.
Scoping is the first step of an Ecological Impact Assessment, and includes a data gathering exercise to inform the content of the report. An ecological data search is undertaken, whereby local record centres on a online sources are consulted as to any notable habitats and protected species in the surrounding area. A walkover over survey of the site is carried out in accordance with Phase 1 Habitat methodology, to identify the habitat types present, and the site's potential to support any protected or notable species.
When necessary we will carry out more detailed ecological surveys. This can include further botanical surveys, such as detailed surveys using the National Vegetation Classification, or surveys regarding a particular protected species, such as bats, badgers or reptiles.
Following the site surveys, we will assess the impact of a proposed development upon the ecological value of a site and its surrounding area. This will determine if a proposed development will have a negative ecological impact, and if so, the significance of the impact.
Following identification of any ecological impacts, we will suggest measures to reduce, avoid or mitigate these impacts. In accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework, we will also suggest measures which seek to improve the ecological value of a site upon completion of a development.