Initial ecological appraisals are aimed at identifying the key issues associated with a site. These appraisals will usually comprise an extended Phase 1 habitat survey, allowing the major habitat types to be mapped using industry standard methods.
The initial ecological appraisal will also identify whether the site has the potential to support specially protected species or notable species, such as BAP (Biodiversity Action Plan) species or habitats. A provisional assessment will be made as to the ecological value of the habitats within and adjacent to the site. Any further specialist survey requirements will be identified at this stage of the ecological appraisal for the site. Recommendations for further surveys will be given.
This type of survey is undertaken to identify any key constraints to the proposed works on the area surveyed, and any associated or linked habitats. Additionally, the initial ecological appraisal also identifies key opportunities for conservation targets at both local and national levels.
An ecological appraisal should be undertaken at the beginning of a project, or prior to land/site purchase. The appraisal can identify constraints and opportunities that may have implications for development and may require further detailed works. It is therefore important to understand the ecological issues on a site to ensure there are no project delays.