Competent authorities preparing a Strategic Environmental Assessment or Habitats Regulations Assessment for a local development plan, or reviewing an Environmental Impact Assessment or HRA evidence submitted in support of a planning application, may seek an external review and quality assurance process. Urban Edge Environmental Consulting can provide this service as a ‘critical friend’. There are established checklist protocols and methodologies advocated by IEMA and CIEEM. We also bring our own wealth of experience in these fields to provide objective and constructive advice on behalf of clients. Any organisation considering quality assurance support is advised to recognise timetable limitations; introduction at the end of an assessment process often restricts the ability to influence its findings and verify the veracity of procedures followed. This is especially true in relation to the assessment of strategic alternatives or design of avoidance, mitigation and enhancement measures.