Ecological Impact Assessment

BSG Ecology can provide support to all stages of EcIA, from preliminary ecological assessment to screening and scoping inputs, baseline survey, biodiversity-friendly design, mitigation and impact assessment. BSG can also provide support in the discharge of ecological planning conditions, with regard to habitat management and monitoring.

Overview

BSG Ecology can provide support to all stages of EcIA, from preliminary ecological assessment to screening and scoping inputs, baseline survey, biodiversity-friendly design, mitigation and impact assessment. BSG can also provide support in the discharge of ecological planning conditions, with regard to habitat management and monitoring.

BSG Ecology regularly completes Ecological Impact Assessments (EcIAs) for major developments including mineral extraction schemes, new residential, urban extension and regeneration projects, retail, leisure, golf courses , wind farm proposals, energy from waste plants, and road and pipeline infrastructure.  BSG Ecology has a detailed understanding of the requirements of the regulations governing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

Ecological Impact Assessment Services

Our team is able to provide advice and support at all stages of EcIA including:

  • Ecological advice:  early identification of the likely ecological effects of development to inform scheme design and avoid unnecessary expenditure and delays;
  • Screening: preliminary appraisals to identify likely ecological sensitivities and input to formal screening requests (including providing justification where ecology does not need to be taken forward as part of the formal EIA);
  • Scoping: input to multi-disciplinary and stand-alone scoping reports aimed at establishing and agreeing key ecological receptors, a proportional level of survey effort to inform the EcIA, and the baseline against which the assessment should be made;
  • Baseline survey work: we have a large team of 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, analyse data, and pass this information easily around the EIA project team;
  • Detailed design phase input: incorporation of biodiversity within development design, reducing adverse impacts and providing net gain where possible  in line with national and local planning policies and biodiversity priorities (thereby increasing the chances of planning consent);
  • Stakeholder engagement: liaison and negotiation with statutory consultees, attendance at public exhibitions and provision of information to stakeholders including local interest groups;
  • EcIA Chapters: delivery of objective, well-structured and technically robust outputs based on industry guidance tailored specifically to the given scheme. We base our EcIAs on the framework provided by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM);
  • Cumulative assessments: either within EcIA Chapters or as part of stand-alone chapters within Environmental Statements;
  • 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 compensate (where necessary) for 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.

We work closely with our clients and other consultants (particularly hydrologists, noise and air quality consultants) to ensure that all potential environmental effects are considered in an integrated manner.

We also provide help and support to our clients in the discharge of planning conditions, on-site ecology support, application for mitigation and conservation licences for European Protected Species, and undertake external technical reviews of EcIAs on behalf of developers and local authorities.

Ecological Impact Assessment – Capability Statement

Project Examples

The Sandstell Point area of Spittal, near Berwick upon Tweed, is a large brownfield site that has a long history of industrial use and fishing-related industry.  The site, which has been unoccupied for many years, was identified as a prime site for the regeneration of the Spittal area.  Whilst considered to be of strategic importance, its location adjacent to the River Tweed Estuary Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and the Berwickshire and North Northumberland Coast SAC presented considerable challenges.

BSG Ecology was commissioned to carry out an ecological impact assessment of the proposed development, which included new residential properties adjacent to the Northumberland shore and River Tweed estuary.  This involved an initial appraisal of the site and the scoping of all necessary ecological survey work.

Northumberland County Council proposed to construct a new road that would provide access to a new school and a housing development located on the southern edge of Alnwick, Northumberland. To accommodate the road it was necessary to re-align a section of the Willowburn to the east of its current course.

BSG Ecology was appointed by Northumberland County Council to undertake an ecological impact assessment for the proposed road construction scheme.  This included habitat, breeding birds, badger, bats, otter and water vole surveys, and an appraisal of the watercourse’s suitability for white-clawed crayfish.

BSG Ecology was initially appointed to undertake a baseline ecological appraisal of the site in 2008 in order to determine whether there were likely to be any ecological constraints associated with the quarrying proposals.

BSG Ecology was initially appointed to undertake a baseline ecological appraisal of the site in 2008 in order to determine whether there were likely to be any ecological constraints associated with the quarrying proposals. Following an extended Phase 1 habitat survey of the site, desk study and stakeholder consultation, a range of ecological receptors required further consideration. A comprehensive suite of further surveys was subsequently undertaken that were necessary to determine the ecological baseline of the site. These data were used to underpin the preparation of an ecological impact assessment as part of an overall Environmental Statement (ES) that accompanied the minerals planning application

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