A preliminary Ecological appraisal is an assessment to ascertain the ecological importance of a site at the early stages of developments such as housing, commercial and infrastructure.
It is an essential first stage of planning for a site and allows proposals and solutions to accommodate ecological considerations to be made and factored at an early stage.
A Preliminary Ecological appraisal consists of an in depth desktop study and a thorough physical examination of the site known as a walk through study.
In Depth Desktop Study
The desktop study will concentrate on researching and compiling existing and historical information on the site in regards to, areas of special scientific interest (SSSIs), Special Protection Areas (SPAs) Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) or other ecological restraints that may be in place or close in proximity to the proposed site.
It will also draw on any relevant information and constraints from the environment agency, the department of food environment and rural affairs, respective regional equivalents, local agencies and will look for records of any Protected Species, Non-Native Invasive species or habitats within. It also will look for site maps, aerial photography and records of waterbodies.
Phase 1 Habitat Survey Walk-through
The walk-through survey will document the plant species that are established on the site reveal any specific habitats, and ascertain if there is habitats that will support protected species such as:
- Nesting Birds
- Water Voles
- Great Crested Newts
- Slow worms
It will also look for Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) and document.
Findings will be compiled in a report and will include any further recommendations for specific surveys. Recommendations will also be made for accommodating any habitats in the site. In the event of Invasive Non Native Species being present, a management plan can be suggested and implemented.