The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, referred to as the ‘Habitats Regulations’ contain provision for the protection of European sites: those sites designated as Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protection Areas, and also for Ramsar sites.
The assessment of proposed developments, spatial plans, and many other activities requiring legal consents, which may have implications for European sites, is generally termed ‘Habitats Regulations Assessment’ (HRA). Also known as Appropriate Assessment (AA), HRA is required to decide if proposals may have an effect on one or more European sites. The HRA often looks at off-site impacts, such as an increase in recreational activity on nearby European sites, or changes in groundwater affecting nearby wetland European sites, as well as on-site impacts of the proposal.
Local Authorities would not normally give planning consent to any plan or project which would result in an adverse affect upon the integrity of a European site. The Landscape Partnership has a good track record of helping projects to be permitted even if they are close to, or sometimes within, a European site. Carefully considering modifications to proposals whilst meeting client requirements, or designing suitable mitigation, are just some of the techniques we use to obtain permissions.
The Landscape Partnership is a leading consultancy in the assessment of both development and environmental planning impacts upon European sites. We have undertaken strategic HRA for a number of local authorities, with a range of European site issues, for Core Strategies and other Local Plan documents.
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