eco-scan supports its clients in all kinds of studies that map the effects of the project on fauna and flora. In addition, nature management plans are drawn up and fauna and flora inventories are carried out.
For any activity subject to a permit requirement that is located in the immediate vicinity of a Birds or Habitats Directive area (Natura 2000 site) and where there is a risk or likelihood of significant degradation of this area, these potential effects should be assessed by appropriate assessment. With the help of the Voortoets, an online tool that is made available by the Flemish Government, it is possible to check whether an appropriate assessment is necessary. The appropriate assessment will examine in detail which effects the licensing activity may have in these areas and to what extent these effects are significant. The appropriate assessment also examines whether mitigating measures are possible and whether the project can be adjusted if necessary. eco-scan also has extensive experience with the testing of projects to the PAS (Programmatic approach for nitrogen for Natura 2000 areas).
There is a similar test for the areas of the Flemish Ecological Network (VEN), in particular the (enhanced) nature test. It must be demonstrated that there will be no significant damage to the natural characteristics of the VEN areas or that there will be no avoidable and irreparable damage to these areas as a result of the plan or project.
Even outside these areas of interest, however, it may be necessary to carry out an impact study. For example, a certain area may be important for certain animal or plant species, without having Flemish or European protection. If a project or plan can influence a protected species, it may be necessary to further investigate in an impact study, taking into account the stand-still principle and the duty of care. For example, the impact study related to windmill projects. Here too, a risk atlas can give a first indication whether an extended study is necessary.
The nature studies must be added to the license applications. The Agency for Nature and Forest (ANB) will be asked for advice and can deny permission for the plan or project or impose additional conditions to limit, compensate, repair the damage or ask for an adjustment of the plans.