View across a Stroud valley
Home > Services > Site Studies > Ecological Appraisals

Ecological Appraisals

An Ecological Appraisal is a more in depth site study than an Ecological Walkover, and provides a more detailed indication of ecological constraints and opportunities on a site. Since an Ecological Appraisal does not usually include the undertaking of Phase ll ecological surveys (Phase ll surveys are typically carried out for Ecological Assessments and to inform Ecology Chapters for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) purposes, the indication of the likely ecological value of receptors that they provide is based primarily on professional judgement.

View from the Cotswold escarpment across the Severn Vale

Ecological Appraisals are suitable for larger, more complex sites than Ecological Walkovers. An Ecological Appraisal may be sufficient to inform a planning application depending on the site and the nature of the development proposals. In some circumstances, an Ecological Appraisal will commit a client to mitigation, compensation or ecological enhancements.

Ecological Appraisals are used within a variety of contexts such as:

  • To inform masterplans and development proposals in accordance with planning policy and legislative requirements, and avoid impacts to any valuable ecological receptors within the zone of influence;
  • To inform the promotion of sites through Local Development Frameworks (LDFs); and
  • To inform developement briefs to guide the formation of development objectives and principles

Kingfisher Alcedo atthis

An Ecological Appraisal typically includes the following elements:

  • Comprehensive data search using free online resources, local biological records centre and other specialist recorders if required;
  • Site visit and survey to 'Extended' Phase l standard (JNCC 2010);
  • Comprehensive report with full site description and colour habitat plan;
  • Summary of relevant legislation and planning policy together with other pertinent information such as Biodiversity Action Plans (BAPs);
  • Evaluation of the ecological receptors present based primarily on professional judgement;
  • Overview Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA);
  • Outline information of mitigation that may need to be considered; and
  • Recommendation for further survey work that may be required

An Ecological Appraisal does not typically include the following elements:

  • Agreeing the scope of study with Natural England (NE), other statutory regulators or the Local Planning Authority (LPA);
  • Full Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA);
  • Detailed information on mitigation or management; or
  • Consultation

For more information, or to obtain a free proposal, please contact us. We will be happy to provide you with honest and objective advice specific to your project based upon our extensive experience.


Joint Nature Conservation Committee (2010). Handbook for Phase 1 Habitat Survey - a Technique for Environmental Audit. JNCC, Peterborough.

Five Valleys Ecology Ltd


Email us to book a free 15 minute no-obligation consultation to discuss your site and requirements in more detail.

Survey Season Calendar

Download a copy of our latest Ecology Survey Calendar (pdf, 210 K) to help avoid costly delays to your projects due to missing ecology survey windows.

Start of the Great Crested Newt Survey Season

Surveys for great crested newts (GCNs) can be undertaken from mid-March to mid-June depending on weather conditions. Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) require survey information before planning applications are determined in accordance with Paragraphs 98 and 99 of 'ODPM Circular 06/2005 Biodiversity and Geological Conservation'. We recommend that clients consider the requirement for newt surveys now and plan ahead. Do not miss the narrow GCN survey window. Contact us now to book in surveys and for further advice.

Supreme Court Ruling on the 'Deliberate Disturbance' Offence

In the case of Morge vs Hampshire County Council [2011] UKSC 2 on appeal from: [2010] EWCA Civ 608 the Supreme Court has overruled the Court of Appeal and given a more cautious interpretation of the Article 12(1)(b) 'deliberate disturbance' offence. The Supreme Court believed that the Court of Appeal had set the threshold for 'deliberate disturbance' too high. Whilst no minimum threshold was given by the Supreme Court, a leading environmental lawyer has reviewed the case and believes that in some circumstances disturbance of one or two individuals of a European Protected Species (EPS) may fall within the offence.

Five Valleys Ecology Receive an Ethical Award from the Ethical Company Organisation

Five Valleys Ecology are delighted to have received an Ethical Award and accreditation from the Ethical Company Organisation in recognition of our strong commitment to ethical business practices. The research team stated 'Five Valleys Ecology are commended for puting ethical and environmental considerations at the heart of their business and for providing an ethical alternative within their sector'.


Email us to book a free 15 minute no-obligation consultation to discuss your site and requirements in more detail.