An Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA) assesses the ecological value of a site and the effects of a proposed development upon the ecological features present. It should be undertaken for all projects thar might impact upon biodiversity, and is a key part of the planning process. It can be part of a formal Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) or a smaller standalone study proportionate to the scale of the proposal.
We work in accordance with CIEEM guidance and the relevant British Standard, BS2013:42020, and operate a staged approach to assessment. This usually commences with desktop studies and a habitat survey to evaluate likely constraints to development, usually referred to as Preliminary Ecological Appraisal, or PEA. If necessary, this would be followed by further investigations such as protected species surveys or off-site impact pathways.
Assessments consider impacts which may occur on the site and those that may occur to adjacent and more distant ecological features. Both short term (e.g. site clearance and construction) and long term impacts (e.g. operational phase) are considered.
The final part of the process is to develop proportionate mitigation to reduce impacts to an acceptable level. We like to discuss options with our clients, to find the mitigation which is ecologically robust and most suitable to our clients’ situation. We can also suggest cost-effective biodiversity enhancements, to make developments more attractive to the Local Planning Authority. Working together with our Landscape Architects and Arborists means that our mitigation is fully integrated into external space design.