Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA)

Walk-over Ecological Surveys/Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey

A basic ecology survey that generally follows Natural England's published procedure and comprises determination of extent of habitats using standard codes, producing a map from this and adding informative target notes for features of interest.  Other general site information and highlighting of issues that may need further investigation are included.

These ecological surveys can be carried out at any time of year, although vegetation tends to be easier to identify in spring or summer.

Ecological Site Audit

More detailed than the former, this is akin to Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA).  It includes a full written report with species lists, remarks on biodiversity, legal and planning context, an appraisal of nature conservation value and identification of protected species or signs of their presence and other notable features as well as ecological constraints & opportunities. Conclusions and appropriate recommendations for any necessary compliance or further investigation are provided as appropriate.

Ecological surveys such as Site Audits can be carried out at any time of year, although vegetation tends to be easier to identify in spring or summer.

Phase 2 Ecology Surveys

Phase 2 ecology surveys are essentially vegetation surveys following prescribed and advanced methods of investigation and identification of plant communities: the old adage that “plants create habitats and animals live in them” is broadly true for most terrestrial ecosystems. Understanding exactly which plant species occur, their frequency, cover and relative abundance in an area, tells us much about the environmental conditions, general ecology and history of the site. A Phase 2 Survey is an invaluable tool for assessing impacts, monitoring and planning mitigation or enhancement for biodiversity.

All of the above ecological appraisals can be provided by in-house Betts staff.

Published Records Search (“Data Trawl”)

This is a desktop check of published sources and third party repositories for data that may be relevant to a site or project. It is a useful adjunct to fieldwork for identifying matters that may be missed during a single survey, or for revealing facts and features of special interest or concern. Results are usually incorporated into the site survey report.  Whilst not compulsory, please note that absence of a records search can delay a planning application.