An ecological impact assessment (EcIA) is formally required under an environmental impact assessment (EIA), but can also be usefully employed on any development project to identify significant ecological impacts.
UES regularly carries out EcIAs for major developments. We have a detailed understanding of the regulations governing EIAs in England, Wales and Scotland.
Our team is able to provide advice and support at all stages of an EcIA, including:
- Scoping: we gather information on the proposed development, undertake a detailed desk study with the local biological record centre, look into previous planning applications, and research local planning policies. We also complete a preliminary ecological appraisal to identify the main habitat types on site, and evaluate the potential of the development site to support protected habitats and species.
- Detailed ecology surveys: we undertake more detailed species- or habitat-specific surveys that have been raised as a potential issue by the preliminary ecological appraisal. We have experienced surveyors who are licensed or accredited to survey for a suite of protected species and habitats.
- Impact assessment: we identify the impacts to habitats and species, that may arise as a result of implementing the construction and operational phases of the proposed development.
- Evaluation of nature conservation value: we assess the significance of the identified impacts on the site, its habitats and species. We use published guidelines to assess the significance of an impact on a scale ranging from negligible to international importance. The more ecologically valuable a site, and the greater the magnitude of the impact, the higher the significance of that impact.
- Mitigation: we identify the requirement for mitigation to ensure legislative and planning policy compliance.
- Residual impact: we reassess the impact on habitats and species as a result of the proposed mitigation measures, in order to determine the final (residual) impact.
- Report: we can present the results of our EcIA as a stand-alone report, or we can prepare it for inclusion within an EIA.
Our EcIAs follow the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management’s (CIEEM) guidelines for ecological impact assessment (2016).