HalpinRobbins have extensive experience in conducting Ecological Impact Assessments and the production of Ecological Statements and Environmental Impact Assessment ecological chapters for projects and developments across England and Wales.
If a project or development requires an Environmental Impact Assessment then an Ecological Impact Assessment will be part of this process. Ecological Impact Assessments can also be required as standalone assessments where the project or development is within or close-by an area of ecological interest such as Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI), Special Protection Area (SPA), Special Area of Conservation (SAC) or Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar site).
The Ecological Impact Assessment is a process by which a project or developments anticipated effects on a sites local, regional, national and international ecology and biodiversity are measured. As well as being a quantifying process, and Ecological Impact Assessment should be iterative; as ecological information comes to light, the development design should be amended where possible to both reduce or avoid effects that have potential to harm biodiversity and enhance and improve effects that would benefit biodiversity.
Involving the scrutiny of species specific wildlife surveys and the proposed development plans associated with a project an Ecological Impact Assessment will commence with "Scoping". Scoping is the initial data gathering exercise to inform the content or scope of the assessment. Information is gathered on the proposed development, ecology of the site and any relevant legislation and policies and can include desk based studies on previously published material, ecological databases held by local organisations and Phase 1 Surveys to identify the main habitat types and evaluate the potential of the development site to support important habitats and species.
Scoping can also include consultation and liaison with other interested groups such as the general public, local wildlife groups, respected regional ecological specialists and the local authority.
Once the scope of the assessment has been established the required species and habitat specific surveys can be undertaken to provide information for the impact assessment. The level and species to be surveyed will be ascertained during the scoping works and can also be agreed with competent authorities.
Upon completion of the Ecological Impact Assessment the findings will be written up into as a chapter of an Environmental Statement or as a stand-alone Ecological Statement. This will include all a quantifiable assessment of both beneficial and negative impacts for the proposed project and recommendations and conclusions about mitigation that has been designed in, mitigation that could still be undertaken and the residual ecological impacts from the project.
HalpinRobbins work closely with our clients on Ecological Impact Assessments to fully understand projects and the associated ecological constraints and opportunities to provide detailed advice and final Ecological Statements upon which both our clients and decision makers, such as planning authorities, can base informed decisions upon.
Ecological Impact Assessments are greatly dependent on the wildlife surveys that need to be undertaken, but providing these have been done the Ecological Impact Assessment can be written up into an Ecological Statement (EcS) or included in an Environmental Statement (ES) at any time of the year.
More useful information about Ecological Impact Assessments can be found within the CIEEM EcIA Guidelines.
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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