Preliminary Ecological Appraisal

winter oak treeIt is often useful to carry out a preliminary assessment of ecological issues early on in a project.  This can help to gather basic data about a site or proposed development and provide an early indication of any likely ecological impacts or constraints.  The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) has published guidelines to help standardise the approach to preliminary assessments, which used to be referred to by various terms but are now generally called Preliminary Ecological Appraisals (PEA). Wilkinson Associates can carry out a PEA of any site with potential ecological issues. A PEA can often be carried out at any time of year, including winter.

The scope and methods used to carry out a PEA varies according to the type of site or development, but it will usually include a Phase 1 Habitat Survey and a desk study to identify any existing records of habitats, species or sites designated for Grasslandtheir nature conservation value which may be affected by the proposals. An initial evaluation of the significance of the habitats and species present will usually be carried out, together with an indication of likely ecological impacts and the mitigation measures that may need to be implemented to allow the project to proceed.

For many sites, a preliminary assessment is all that is required but for more complex developments, or those involving protected species or sites of high ecological value, further surveys and/or a full Ecological Impact Assessment may be needed.  In these cases, the PEA report can form the first stage of the assessment and helps to define the scope of additional work necessary to comply with legislation and planning requirements.


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