We are committed to helping our clients operate responsibly and in line with all relevant legislation. We’re proud to offer a range of services that support environmental and ecological sustainability.
Typically the first stage of any site assessment, a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal – or PEA - is carried out during the planning process to identify the ecological constraints of a development proposal. It will highlight any ecological issues that require more detailed examination.
A PEA is usually required for a proposal to be approved, so it should be factored in from the start of your project. After carrying out this essential assessment, Coombes’ experts can make recommendations to ensure you and your project stay compliant with all relevant legislation and policy.
As part of a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal, Coombes will map ecological habitats within your proposed development site – and, if required, those in the surrounding areas, too. The resulting report is called an Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey report.
The Phase 1 report will detail the habitats present within the site and their noted plant species. This report is extended to include an assessment of the potential of protected species to be found within habitats on site and the anticipated impacts of your development proposal on these species. Further protected species surveys may be recommended and we can provide mitigation and enhancement measures you can take to minimise or mitigate ecological impact.
A Biodiversity Net Gain Assessment looks at the impact of your development on its site’s biodiversity levels. It compares the site in its pre- and post-development states and presents the anticipated improvement (net gain) or decline (net loss) in a percentage figure.
During the assessment process, the Coombes team will compare ‘biodiversity units’, which are calculated using pre-development and post-development habitat data and also account for offsite compensation. The resulting report could be the green light your project needs to move forward.
A successful Environment Impact Assessment – or EIA – is usually needed for large-scale development to be given planning consent. As the name suggests, it looks in detail at the impact your proposed work will have on its site while balancing the needs for both environmental and economical sustainability.
It’s our goal at Coombes to help you secure the best possible environmental outcome for your project, and as part of that we’re committed to keeping the EIA process straightforward and effective using a blend of skill, experience and the latest surveying technologies.
An Ecological Impact Assessment – or EcIA – is formally required as a part of the EIA process, although it can also be conducted separately if requested by the local authority. As with the wider EIA, a successful Ecological Impact Assessment will further enhance your chances of gaining planning permission.
The EcIA’s purpose is to create a more detailed analysis of how a development project will impact the habitats, species and biodiversity of its site and surrounding areas. When carrying an assessment out, Coombes’ expert ecologists will go through a six-step process that involves Screening, Scoping, Evaluation, Interpretation, Mitigation and Final Assessment.
Once all the relevant ecological and environmental assessments are complete, Coombes’ expert ecologists can provide effective mitigation strategies to help you optimise your development’s impact on local plant and wildlife.
These strategies typically involve both mitigation and avoidance measures, as well as enhancements that can contribute to your project’s biodiversity net gain. We may also recommend offsite compensation measures to help you achieve true ecological sustainability.
A Habitat Regulations Assessment – or HRA – is actually a series of distinct assessments conducted to ensure developments fall in line with UK and European directives on conservation in specially protected areas - namely the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.
While HRAs must be carried out by designated ‘competent authorities’, Coombes can offer a Shadow HRA to inform the HRA screening process by the competent authority.
With all the relevant assessments and mitigation guidance in place, Coombes can send an ecologist to provide on-site support and oversee development processes under an ‘Ecological Watching Brief’.
Their role on-site can involve everything from preparing useful documentation in advance to guiding operatives as they work. They’ll be on hand to answer questions and offer advice to help you stay in line with your objectives and fully compliant with current wildlife legislation.