Preliminary Ecological Appraisals are the most common ecological survey required prior to the planning for a development being approved. They are usually the first survey conducted on a site, gathering baseline ecological data.
A PEA comprises a desk study and a walkover survey, culminating in a report.
A desk study of the site and surrounding area will aid in the interpretation of our survey results and is often requested by the Local Planning Authority. A data search is also requested from the local records centre, which will show all records of protected sites and species in the area.
The walkover survey notes all habitats and ecological features of interest, which are categorised using the Phase 1 habitat survey method (JNCC, 1993). During this survey we also check the site for any evidence or potential for protected species to be present.
The report details the baseline ecological condition of the site and includes:
- An assessment for each habitat type present
- A Phase 1 habitat map
- Photographs of the site and all relevant ecological features
- An assessment for the potential for protected species to be on site and how they may be impacted by the development plans
- Identification of constraints to the development plans
- Recommendations for further survey, where necessary
Depending on the site, the PEA report can also identify mitigation and enhancement measures, although these often require the results of further, species-specific surveys.
We strongly recommend that a PEA is commissioned at the earliest stage of your project, as it will inform you of any further survey necessary and give details of timescales involved. Preliminary Ecological Appraisals can take place at any time of the year, however the further surveys following it are time-constrained, often to the summer months.