BSG Ecology has a detailed understanding of the requirements of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment [EIA]) Regulations 2011 which provide the legislative context and framework for EIA. The Regulations make it clear that all reasonable information required to assess the environmental effects of a development should be provided as part of the EIA process.
Ecological Impact Assessement (EcIA) often forms an important part of multi-disciplinary EIAs.It should be logically structured and robust in order to provide a solid basis for assessing development proposals that qualify for EIA under the Regulations. The same approach can also be used for non-EIA developments.
Ecological Impact Assessment Capability
BSG Ecology regularly and successfully completes EcIAs for developments including mineral extraction schemes, pipelines, new golf courses, energy from waste plants, new residential, urban extension, urban regeneration, retail, leisure, road and wind farm proposals. We are used to working closely with our clients and other consultants on multi-disciplinary projects, and we have the experience to provide pragmatic, cost effective mitigation advice while also delivering proportionate conservation gain in line with planning policy.
We typically base our EcIAs on Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (IEEM) guidance, which is widely regarded as industry best practice, and which requires a strong evidence-based approach to impact assessment, in keeping with the EIA Regulations. We have considerable experience of using matrix-led approaches and of successfully ‘fusing’ these with the IEEM methodology.
Our team is able to provide advice and support at all stages of the EcIA process including:
- Screening: preliminary appraisals (often for renewables schemes) to identify likely ecological sensitivities as part of the formal EIA screening process
- Scoping: input to multi-disciplinary and stand-alone scoping reports aimed at establishing and agreeing key ecological receptors, the level of survey effort to inform the EcIA, and the baseline against which the assessment should be made
- Consultee Liaison: to establish positive dialogue and solve potentially complex problems throughout the process including the formal screening and subsequent scoping stages through to the design and implementation of matters for inclusion within planning conditions and obligations following receipt of planning consent
- Multi-disciplinary team working: liaison and close working with other technical disciplines within the EIA project team that may influence ecology to aid consistency in approach and preparation of a fully integrated EIA.
- Baseline survey work: we have a large team of technical ecologists with wide ranging specialisms and an established network of reliable sub-contractors
- GIS expertise: to inform early multi-disciplinary constraints mapping exercises, create clear geo-referenced graphics and pass this information easily around the EIA project team
- EcIA Chapters: delivery of objective, well-structured and technically robust outputs based on industry best practice guidance tailored specifically to the given scheme.
- Cumulative assessments: either within EcIA Chapters or as stand-alone chapters within Environmental Statements
- Ecological advice: early identification of potential impacts resulting from the construction and operational phases of development that can be used to inform scheme design
- Design phase input: to ensure that biodiversity is incorporated within development design, in line with national and local planning policies and biodiversity priorities
- Stakeholder engagement: attendance at public exhibitions and provision of information to local interest groups
- Design of mitigation strategies: to avoid, reduce and minimise potential effects and to ensure legislative compliance
- Production of Habitat Management Plans: to deliver enhancement in line with national and local planning policy and to address the main ecological effects relating to the development
- Development of on or off site compensation strategies: to address biodiversity loss where impacts cannot be avoided or mitigated adopting an integrated approach to biodiversity within the landscape
Our team includes technical specialists with experience in different species groups, as well as biodiversity design, across the practice. This capacity, geographical coverage and capability allow us to select appropriate project managers and the right team for individual projects and to resource large numbers of projects concurrently.
We also provide help and support to our clients in the discharge of planning conditions, the provision of experienced Ecological Clerks of Work, application for mitigation and conservation licences for European Protected Species, and undertaking external technical reviews of EcIAs on behalf of developers and local authorities.
Project examples and professional references can be provided on request.