Ecological Impact Assessments are part of the Environmental Impact Assessment but can also be required outside of the Environmental Impact Assessment regulations. This is often the case where works are close to non-statutory designated habitat with a high local importance or in areas where certain protected species exist.
To determine if an Environmental Impact Assessment is required for a particular project or activity, and what should be included within that assessment, a formal 'screening and scoping process'* can undertaken with the regulator for the respective Environmental Impact Assessment regulations. HalpinRobbins undertake this process for projects under the agricultural and planning Environmental Impact Assessments.
Once a development or activity has been drafted the details can be compared against the set threshold criteria and, were projects are above or around the threshold levels, a formal screening opinion will need to be drafted and sent to the regulating body to requests a formal 'screening opinion' on the requirement for the project or activity to undertake and Environmental Impact Assessment; 'screening opinions' can often require the submission of some supporting evidence such as ecology surveys, archaeology or landscape plans. The regulator will then return a formal decision giving reasons for or against the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment.
If a project or activity is required to undertaken an Environmental Impact Assessment then a formal ‘scoping opinion’ will be required from the regulating body. A 'scoping opinion' sets out the regulating body’s decision on the areas and impacts the Environmental Impact Assessment should include to properly assess the project or activity; 'scoping opinions' can often require the submission of further supporting evidence such as ecology surveys, archaeology or landscape plans to show why certain areas may or may not be included in the assessment. The regulator will then return a formal decision about the areas of assessment for the Environmental Impact Assessment.
*Environmental Screening and Scoping sets out the need to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment and the level of detail and areas required to be considered as part of the assessment process. These processes should be undertaken at the earliest available opportunity in relation to projects and developments and can be undertaken at any time of the year; if supporting information is required there may be some seasonal restrictions associated with ecological surveys.
Our staff maintain and enhance their knowledge of ecology and the environment through research, specialist training and by maintaining membership of several professional and specialist bodies including:
If you wish to find out more about permitting, ecology services or to discuss a project or development please contact us directly for a free, non-committal discussion.
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