Members of the Ecology team recently completed an Ecological Impact Assessment course provided by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management. Hattie Fuller, our Senior Ecological Consultant, reflects on what the course taught her.
It was great to learn something new from industry expert, Mike Dean. Ecological Impact Assessment is a complex piece of work which requires a lot of time and expertise to complete. Personally, it was one of my key areas to develop this year so it’s great to be working on something that will directly benefit my career development. Mike came to our office and worked specifically with our team, so the training was tailored to us and our needs. He even helped us look at ways to improve our current report structures.
Thanks to this training course, we now have a sound understanding of the main legal and policy drivers behind Ecological Impact Assessment and the main stages of the planning process and how these fit with Environmental Impact Assessment.
- We now have the ability to characterise the impacts of a development on ecological features and determine the significance of these effects using the CIEEM guidelines’ approach.
- We understand the terms mitigation, compensation and enhancement, and where these fit into the Ecological Impact Assessment process and can help design appropriate, proportionate mitigation and compensation for every development.
- We also understand how an Ecological Impact Assessment should be presented as a report following CIEEM’s current guidance on Ecological Report Writing so that it is in a format widely accepted by Local Planning Authorities across the country.
When carried out correctly and appropriately the findings of an Environmental Impact Assessment should help competent authorities understand the ecological issues surrounding a proposed development when determining applications for consent. The Local Planning Authority (LPA) will often request an Ecological Impact Assessment is produced for a project where there are likely to be ecological impacts.
Ecological Impact Assessment can be used for the appraisal of projects of any scale and can form the ecological component of Environmental Impact Assessment, which considers all aspects of environmental impact including but not limited to air quality, arboriculture, heritage, and water quality and noise.
It is essentially an evaluation process undertaken to identify and assess the potential effects that a development proposal may have on ecological features at (or within influencing distance of) a site.