Preliminary Ecological Appraisal

A Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) is the simplest form of site assessment and usually includes an Extended Phase 1 habitat survey and Desk Study.

Phase 1 habitat survey is the standard method for classifying and mapping habitats in the UK. The survey records plant species, vegetation structure and the physical features of the landscape in order to classify habitats and is the backbone of most ecological assessments. The plants and habitats that are identified can be valued against Biodiversity Action Plans and other guidance. This survey is sometimes ‘Extended’ to provide an assessment of the potential of habitats to support protected or notable species.

A Desk Study involves a search of publicly available resources to find information about designated sites and notable species and habitats. Some of these sites, species and habitats are protected by law whereas others are safeguarded only by planning policy or conservation initiatives.

The PEA identifies ecological constraints and the need for further specialist surveys, and can be an important first step in guiding development programmes and designs. It is important that the PEA is undertaken by experienced staff. Our Ecologists are members of Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) and hold licences to survey for bats, great crested newts and Schedule 1 birds.

The PEA report and figures can be used to support planning applications and BREEAM assessments.

Timing: April to September (optimal); other times possible (sub-optimal)