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10 Things You Should Know about PEAs

(And we’re not talking about the vegetable!)

1. Preliminary Ecological Appraisals (PEAs) have become the standard phase 1 ecological survey required by local authorities to support planning applications. Failure to include a PEA in a planning application can result in planning refusal or significant delays.

2. They are suitable for developments large and small and their purpose is to demonstrate that the applicant has sufficiently considered the ecological value of the site by appointing a professional ecologist to assess the likelihood of it supporting protected species.

3. They are necessary for any site that includes or is adjacent to semi-natural habitats. Some previously-developed sites may also need surveys, either a PEA to look for reptiles for example or a Preliminary Roost Assessment (PRA) to assess the potential for bats. Small-scale garden developments maybe exempt, depending on the context.

4. The report classifies, records and maps out the habitat types present on the site and assesses the suitability of these habitats to support rare or protected species. It advises whether further Phase 2 protected species surveys are required and also sets out recommendations for mitigation and enhancements.

5. Normally just one site visit is required, along with some desk-top study. Turnaround is typically 3-7 days.

6. They should be carried out as early as possible in a project so that the findings can inform the design stage.

7. Like most ecological surveys they have a shelf-life of approximately two years, after which time they may need to be repeated.

8. Quality is important for PEAs; ecological survey data frequently has to stand up to public scrutiny at appeal inquiries. We always use senior ecologists to carry out our PEAs, both for conducting the field survey and writing the report. Anything missed at this crucial early stage could cause much larger problems later on.

9. They are relatively inexpensive. Our reports are typically over 30 pages long and cost from £795.

10. They can be carried out at any time of the year. Although it is possible to overlook certain species of flowering plants, the benefit of commissioning PEA surveys in the winter months is that, if protected species surveys are required, they can be scheduled ahead for the very start of the survey season so that you can be sure you will not miss any critical survey windows.

Contact us now to discuss your project.

Tags: Ecological surveys, Ecology, Protected species