Preliminary Ecological Appraisal

A Preliminary ecological appraisal* is usually the first stage in ecological requirements of a proposed development. It is made up of a desk study, walkover/site survey and a report.

Desk Study

The first element of a preliminary ecological appraisal is a desk study, which involves analysing existing ecological data. A review of pre-existing biodiversity survey records to support the field work, can help establish the proximity of protected species to your site and can therefore be used to justify the need or not to undertake further survey work for certain species, which can also save on potential costs.

Walkover Survey

A walkover/site survey – involves recording all habitats and noting features of particular interest following the Phase 1 Habitat Survey methodology stipulated by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (1993), including assessing hedges for importance under the 1997 Hedgerows Regulations. A list is made of all plant species recorded on site and a search is conducted for evidence of (or potential for) notable or protected species  such as badgers, reptiles, bats, great crested newts and dormice (Protected Species Surveys). This is because evidence for any protected species being present on site could lead to further surveys being needed in order to comply with the guidelines that the local planning authority will be following when looking to determine a planning application.


If following the desk study and site survey no further surveys are required we will produce a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal report ready for submission with a planning application. Our reports include an evaluation of the nature conservation value of the site, an impact assessment, recommendations for mitigation, compensation and enhancement as well as mapping (GIS Mapping) of the habitats found on site and photographs of all relevant ecological features.

If the desk study and site survey determine that further ecological surveys will be needed in order to meet statutory requirements then following appointment we will provide one all en-compassing report once these surveys have all been completed.

A preliminary ecological appraisal can assist you with a proposed land purchase or planning application. We advise that it is undertaken at the earliest stage possible so that a realistic application timeline can be achieved as well as enabling the results of the ecological surveys to input into the development’s designs.


*Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) can also referred to as a: Baseline Ecological Survey, Phase 1 Habitat Survey, Ecological Site Assessment, Ecological Scoping Survey, Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey