A Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (formerly known as an Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey) forms the starting point for most ecological assessments of a site. It looks at a prospective development site and assesses a site’s potential to support protected species or features that may place constraints on the development site.

Usually, a desktop study is carried out that identifies existing ecological data for the site and surrounding areas. A single site visit is then made, habitats are mapped in the field and each habitat is assessed for its potential to support protected or notable species. This data is then transferred to a GIS.

The aim of the preliminary ecological appraisal is to provide baseline information about the ecology of the site although the report may highlight the need to undertake further, more specific protected species surveys to support planning applications.