Preliminary Ecological Appraisals

A Preliminary Ecological Appraisal, also referred to as a Phase 1 Habitat Survey, biodiversity survey, walkover survey or simply as an ecology survey, gives an insight into the ecological value of a site, and is often a prerequisite for planning permission.

The Preliminary Ecological Appraisal involves a walkover assessment of the site, using the Joint Nature Conservation Committee's (JNCC) Phase 1 Habitat methodology. This is designed as an assessment of a site’s botanical interest, along with its potential for protected species. The Preliminary Ecological Appraisal consists of two main stages: a site survey and a desk based study.

During the site survey, all flora and fauna on or immediately adjacent to the site is identified, and habitat types on the site are classified according to the Phase 1 Habitat key. The possible presence of any legally protected species such as bats, badgers and great crested newts is recorded, along with the presence of any invasive species.

The site survey is supplemented by a desk based survey, whereby local record centres and on-line sources regarding protected species and land based designations on or near the site are consulted. This data is cross referenced with the survey results to give a comprehensive analysis of the site’s ecological value.

For sites with low ecological value, a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal is usually sufficient to attain planning permission in regard to ecology. For proposed developments with the potential to impact upon the ecological value of the site, mitigation and/or further surveys are usually required. In this case, the Preliminary Ecological Appraisal can feed into an Ecological Impact Assessment, or a species-specific survey, such as a bat survey or badger survey.  

For more information regarding Preliminary Ecological Appraisals, or for a free quotation, please contact us.