Ecology Surveys for Planning and Development
An ecology survey is a process of assessing the ecological value of a site or area in order to inform planning decisions. The purpose of an ecology survey is to identify any important habitats or species that may be present on the site. It also includes any potential impacts that a proposed development or project may have on these ecological features.
Ecology surveys typically involve a range of field surveys and data analysis. It may also include activities such as habitat mapping, wildlife surveys, and ecological impact assessments. The results of the survey are then used to inform planning decisions, including the design and location of proposed projects, and the implementation of any necessary mitigation measures to minimise any negative impacts on the local ecology.
Ecology surveys are an important tool for sustainable development plans. They help to ensure that the natural environment is protected and preserved for future generations. They are often required as part of the planning process for major projects. They should be undertaken by ecologists or environmental consultants with expertise in the field to ensure accurate results.
What are the stages of ecology surveys for planning?
An ecology survey can be split into two phases, the preliminary ecological appraisal and the ecological impact assessment.
Preliminary ecological appraisal (PEA) – This is the first survey that is carried out by licensed ecology consultants. A PEA is also sometimes otherwise known as an extended phase 1 habitat survey. A PEA typically includes an initial desktop study and a walkover survey.
A PEA survey will identify the various habitats or species that are present within the site. It will also highlight any planning policy issues and potential impacts of the development on a particular species.
Ecological impact assessment – This is an essential document that describes the potential effects of any activities on the environment. This assessment takes the results that have been provided from the PEA and uses them to assess the impact by undertaking detailed habitat-specific surveys.
These survey reports essentially serve as a way to confirm the presence or absence of a protected species and measure the impact of the proposed development on them. It also includes any mitigation procedures that may need to take place, such as bat boxes or creating artificial badger setts.
Once these assessments have been completed, qualified ecologists can use them to recommend any necessary procedures that must be carried out to protect the habitats or species identified in the surveys.
Ecology surveys for planning help to improve nature conservation as they identify species within proximity of constructions sites. They also help to provide safe alternatives for them and offer ways of relocating them or improving their habitats, making them much less at risk.
The chartered institute of ecology and environmental management (CIEEM) can provide further information on these surveys.
What can ecological surveyors do?
An ecological surveyor is capable of performing both desk-based and field survey work to identify the presence of any protected species or habitats. They will compile their findings into an ecological report, which is produced at the conclusion of the survey process and submitted to a local authority.
Ecology surveys for planning typically contain the following information:
- An assessment of whether the proposed development project is likely to pose a threat to any habitats
- Results from the initial scoping survey
- Data obtained during the preliminary ecological appraisal
- An ecology impact assessment outlining how the building work may impact habitats and species
- Mitigation strategies in case any evidence of species or habitats is discovered.
Why choose Collington Winter assist?
Collington Winter is an ecology consultancy that are passionate about ecology and provide a holistic and innovative approach to development. We are fast paced problem solvers, working with clients to find solutions where others cannot.
Our Ecology Director, Olivia Collington, is a highly professional Ecologist and holds a Natural England licence. She is passionate about ecology and has vast amounts of experience in providing ecological services, including appraisal and ecological assessments.
We provide a pragmatic service to meet the planning requirements by local planning authorities. We understand the importance of working closely with clients to provide a great service and deliver excellent results. We aim to provide a service which meets the needs of developers, whilst ensuring positive outcomes for wildlife.