What is a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal?
A Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (sometimes referred to as an Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey) is the primary tool for assessing the ecological value of a site. In terms of development or planning, a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal is generally the first ecological survey conducted and determines the need for further species-specific surveys. This initial assessment, along with additional species-specific surveys (where required), will enable the creation of a robust assessment of a development’s potential impacts.
The survey involves an assessment of ecological features on your site and the surrounds, identifying which habitat types are present, as well as the potential to support any protected species. The results are analysed and presented to you in a comprehensive report, complete with Phase 1 habitat maps. The report will also include any recommendations for further work to ensure that your site is both legally compliant and able to meet any planning requirements in terms of ecology.
The terminology can be varied when referring to this type of survey and there are slight differences between them. The following terms are often used in lieu of Preliminary Ecological Appraisal, with some slight differences:
- Baseline Survey
- Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey
- Constraints Survey
- Ecological Site Assessment
- Ecological Site Appraisal
- Ecological Scoping Survey
- Walkover Survey
- Ecological Survey
When do I need to get in touch?
Contact EcoÉireann as soon as possible to check whether a proposed development or change of site use requires a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal. Completing this before submitted a planning application can save a significant amount of time, especially if further surveys are required which depend on seasonality. The optimal time for a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal is between May and September, for the benefit of botanical elements of the survey, however, the assessment can be undertaken at any time of the year.
Completion of a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal at the start of the year enables you to identify any further surveys for protected species that have restricted survey periods, generally during the spring and summer months. This allows you to plan your development schedule accordingly and prevent expensive delays further down the line. For further details of survey timings, visit the ‘When Can I Do My Survey‘ page.
How can EcoÉireann help me?
EcoÉireann can assist with ecological input into projects which range in scale; whether it’s a small residential development or a large infrastructure scheme, we can undertake the survey using up to date best practice guidelines and technology. We offer clear and pragmatic advice on required mitigation and recommendations for further actions based on our findings. We will also create innovative solutions to support your project and maintain or enhance the site’s ecological value.