We can help you to understand the ecological value of an area and identify practical measures to enhance or protect its value.  Walking-the-Talk is a CIEEM Registered Practice (2020-21) for the provision of ecological advice.


Ecological assessment for planning and development

CIEEM Registered Practice logo 2020 2021Many planning applications require an ecological assessment to establish their likely impact on the environment. We have experience of undertaking ecological assessments and protected species surveys for a wide range of developments. Services we can provide include:

Preliminary ecological appraisals (PEAs)

These are based on the report structure set out by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) and provide information on the habitats present on a site as well as any protected species which will be affected by the development. A PEA should be undertaken as part of the development design process, so that the design can be modified where possible to mitigate any environmental risks.  A PEA will also highlight any additional surveys which may be required, such as protected species surveys.

Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA)

Once a design has been finalised, and all additional surveys completed, an EcIA can be undertaken to assess the significance of any ecological impacts from the development.  These are based on the report structure as set out by CIEEM and draw together all the ecological impacts and mitigation within a development.  EcIAs may be requested by planning authorities as part of the process of submitting a development for planning permission.

Protected species reports

These provide information on the presence of protected species. We undertake surveys for the following protected species:


We can undertake surveys to establish if badgers are present in an area and can provide advice on mitigation actions if they are found. We have held protected species licences for badger sett closedown where badgers need to be removed.  We have also undertaken badger sett monitoring as part of sett closedown actions where a sett is currently un-used. In these cases it is up to the developer to demonstrate that the sett was not in use prior to undertaking any work and we have completed monitoring and reporting for this process at several sites.

Freshwater pearl mussel

We are licensed to survey for freshwater pearl mussel throughout Scotland. We have undertaken these surveys are part of hydro scheme developments, as well as for river restoration and water supply projects. Clients have included Scottish Water, RWE nPower Renewables and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.


We are licenced to survey for otter throughout Scotland. We have undertaken otter surveys as part of harbour and bridge restoration works, for clients such as Aberdeen Harbour Board and Aberdeenshire Council.


We have surveyed for watervole presence as part of river restoration and planning and development projects. Clients have included Forestry Commission Scotland, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Aberdeenshire Council.

Red squirrel

Forestry sites which are being cleared or thinned can be checked for the presence of red squirrel dreys. Trees which contain dreys can be marked and retained to avoid reducing habitat. We have undertaken drey identification and marking for Aberdeen City Council and for private developers as part of forestry management work.

Phase 1 habitat surveys

Phase 1 habitat surveys use the Joint Nature Conservation Committee method for identifying and mapping habitats. These surveys are often required as part of a planning application and can form part of a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal, or can be undertaken separately. We have undertaken Phase 1 habitat surveys for a wide range of developments, including wind turbines, building and transport projects.

National Vegetation Classification surveys

A National Vegetation Classification (NVC) survey provides more information on the types of vegetation that are present on a site. It can help identify if any of the vegetation communities present are dependent on groundwater or if they are particularly rare or unusual. NVC surveys are sometimes requested by the planning authorities to help them gather more information on a site, or they can be used to assist with the post development landscaping process. We have completed NVC surveys for both private landowners and public sector clients.