Preliminary Ecological Appraisals (PEA’s)

A Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) 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 a PEA 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

PEA’s are typically suitable for larger and/or more complex sites than Ecological Walkovers. A PEA may in some cases be sufficient to inform a planning application depending on the site and the nature of the development proposals. In some circumstances, a PEA will commit a client to mitigation, compensation or ecological enhancements.

PEA’s 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 Plans; and
  • To inform developement briefs to guide the formation of development objectives and principles

Kingfisher Alcedo atthis

A PEA 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

A PEA 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.