What is an ecological assessment

An ecological assessment is an assessment of the likely ecological impacts of a development scheme and is undertaken by a suitably qualified ecologist. It is required when there is a reasonable likelihood that a development will have impacts on ecological features.

In some cases all that will be needed is a review of the proposed development scheme to establish that ecological impacts will not be a significant issue in the determination of the planning application.

In other cases a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal may be required. This can include:

Desk study

Also known as a data search. Existing data on the species, habitats and features present on the site and its surroundings are collated from sources such as Local Environmental Record Centres or Local Wildlife Groups.

Preliminary ecological survey

Also known as a site walkover, site assessment, constraints survey or scoping survey. This is a visit to the site to assess the species, habitats and features present.

This information is used to identify potential ecological impacts, determine the requirement for further surveys and if appropriate, recommend suitable mitigation and enhancement measures to address the impacts identified. Following a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal it may be necessary to undertake further ecological surveys to gather information on notable or protected species or habitats that may be impacted by the development. If the development is subject to the Town & Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011, an Environmental Impact Assessment will be required.