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PEA Survey: Preliminary Ecological Appraisal

PEA Survey: What is a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA)?

A PEA survey, is usually required as part of the planning process for any development. It is the initial scoping assessment of an area of land to determine its potential to support protected species. PEA’s are needed to gain knowledge on which further surveys for protected species are needed prior to submitting a planning application to local planning authorities. PEA surveys were previously sufficiently suitable to support a planning application; although, recent changes mean that the Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA) is now also required.

The aim of these site surveys is to gather as much information about the location as possible.

PEA survey

They are required so that the potential impacts of the proposed developments on the land can be assessed and to determine which further surveys and assessments are required. The PEA also helps to consider the ecological impacts that a proposed development could potentially have on the area of land and the habitats within it. It will also highlight any potential ecological constraints that those looking to receive planning permission may face. Advice on how to mitigate ecological impacts can be provided by an Ecologist within the PEA survey.

The survey involves a two-part process: a desk study and a Phase 1 habitat survey.

PEA survey: The Process

A desk study involves obtaining ecological and environmental records so that ecologists may determine the likelihood of protected animal species being present on the site and the habitats in the area. These records can be obtained by contacting the local biodiversity records centre, which will detail a list of the protected species on the site as well as any notable or invasive species.

Following this, an Extended Phase 1 Habitat survey should be conducted. This type of ecological survey provides a ‘snapshot’ of the current conditions of the site. This technique is used by ecologists to map habitats and record species for further survey work. This map provides ecologists with a description of each habitat, including a plant species list.

This type of survey can be carried out at any time; however, the best time of year to undertake this survey is between April and September as there is likely to be more activity at this time. If the survey is conducted outside of this period, it is quite possible that a follow-up survey could be required.

 How can Collington Winter assist?

Collington Winter Environmental we are an experienced team of ecological consultants with extensive knowledge in undertaking ecological surveys on a variety of different development projects.

Our Ecology Director, Olivia Collington, has years of experience in the field of Ecology. She previously founded and grew the ecology division at a leading Manchester firm. Before that, she led the nationwide ecology team at another large Environmental Consultancy firm based in Manchester.

Olivia adopts a pragmatic approach to all sites, working with clients to find solutions and develop relationships. She believes that ecologists can earn a valuable seat at design team meetings to identify potential constraints and opportunities for clients.

Please get in touch with our Ecology Director Olivia Collington ( for more information on protected species surveys (such as those in relation to BatsGreat Crested Newts, or Badgers) and mitigation. We also provide ecological appraisal and assessment services.

Our Director Jane Winter also provides landscape architecture services.

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