Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA)

Required at planning when there are likely ecological constraints to the site

Our team of experienced ecologists will assist you in providing a  standard Phase 1 Habitat Survey following the ‘Joint Nature Conservation Committee’ [JNCC] environmental audit guidelines 2010. The Phase 1 habitat classification and field survey records vegetation type including wildlife habitats.

This provides you with a basic assessment of habitat type and the potential importance for nature conservation within the site. Each habitat type / feature is identified by way of a brief description. It is allocated a specific name, an alpha-numeric code, and a unique mapping colour.


  • A site visit that maps out site habitats, including photographs and using the JNCC  habitat categories
  • Identification of the dominant species within the site and position of species within each habitat.
  • Cross reference to the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and the relevant Local Biodiversity Action Plan.
  • Target-noting of features of ecological significance or those unable to be mapped.
  • Produce a Phase 1 habitat category results map including key using the JNCC habitat mapping palette.
  • Supply a written report that documents the survey results, habitats, assessment details and recommendations including a clear, concise non-technical summary.

Selected Projects

  • Habitat creation for Natterjack toads, with NCC and British Herpetological Society in West Cumbria.  Assessment, Creation, Transfer.
  • Coastal dune stabilisation, West Cumbria.
  • Wildlife habitat creation, nature study centre and interpretation trail, Drax, North Yorkshire.
  • Steel Valley Walk, Stocksbridge, schools involvement, Community Woodlands Officer appointment.  Wildflower meadows were created with the help of local children.
  • Woodland planting for screening and nature conservation.
  • Phase 1 habitat surveys and ecological improvement schemes.
  • Preparation of a 25 year Environmental Audit of all habitats on Heriot-Watt University’s Riccarton campus.  Incorporating studies of birds and aquatic fauna by others.
  • New ponds and meadows for the West Student Village at Heriot Watt University.
  • Invasive species survey for Giant Hogweed, Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam and Method Statement for remediation
  • River Thames Japanese Knotweed eradication, retired flood defence scheme, habitat creation of Willow Carr
  • Ecological Surveys and Mitigation Proposals for River Sheaf development sites in Sheffield
  • National Vegetation Classification for recreational grassland on urban fringe Rotherham


Please get in touch for assistance


The presence of legally protected species of plants and animals on a development site can have significant implications for project timings and costs.  Follow these guidelines to keep costs down.

  1. Choose sites of low wildlife value if possible  – it will have fewer ecological issues.
  2. Incorporate arboriculture and ecology at an early stage. Your design should fit the surrounds not vice versa. Small design changes can reduce arboricultural and ecological impacts and costs considerably.
  3. Submit all the ecological information to the planners early. Failure to do so can lead to costly delays.
  4. Plan in time for seasonal surveys. Protected species surveys can only be carried out at certain times of year. Make sure you know when. (See Survey Season Guidelines)
  5. Manage your site during the pre-development period. Disused sites soon become inhabited by wildlife.
  6. Enhance your site cost effectively. Planning policy often requires ecological enhancement measures. There are ways to achieve this without running over budget.
  7. Listen to your ecological consultant and avoid short cutting their advice. We don’t recommend that you do things unnecessarily. Early and thorough intervention in a project can save you time, money and headaches.
  8. Read the reports thoroughly. It is important that you know what is required in the way of ecological surveys and mitigation.
  9. Inform your consultant early of any proposed site changes.
  10. Never assume that a site has no ecological constraints. Protected species are quite widespread and commonly encountered during development, including some urban sites.