Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA) is defined as ‘the process of identifying, quantifying and evaluating the potential impacts of defined actions on ecosystems or their components’ (Treweek, J. (1999) Ecological Impact Assessment)
EcIA is a key component of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations but also has a broad range of potential applications, including informing planning applications for which EIA is not required as well as preparing management plans. The overall purpose of EcIA is to provide objective and concise information about the likely significant effects ecological effects associated with a project. An EcIA will also describe what steps will be taken to adhere to legal requirements relating to designated sites and legally protected species.
Guidelines have been developed by the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (IEEM) to promote good practice in EcIA. These guidelines deal with the various stages of EcIA from initial ‘scoping’, to ecological valuation, determining whether impacts are ecologically significant, mitigation, compensation and enhancement.
NPA has a wealth of knowledge and experience in carrying out EcIA, including as part of the production of Environmental Statements. We seek to work with our clients from project conception to enable and strive for an iterative approach, whereby negative impacts are not simply reported at the final stages, but dealt with at an early stage through design changes which avoid or reduce impacts. It is always our goal to seek the best possible outcome for both the project and biodiversity.