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Habitats regulations assessment of development plans. Riki Therivel, Levett-Therivel. WHAT IS HRA?. Tests impact of plan on SPAs/SACs Concludes with yes/no statement: will plan have significant impact on European site? It is very precautionary

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Presentation Transcript
slide3
Tests impact of plan on SPAs/SACs
  • Concludes with yes/no statement: will plan have significant impact on European site?
  • It is very precautionary
  • ‘Appropriate assessment’ refers to process as well as statement
slide4
Required by European Habitats Directive

European Court of Justice ruling Oct. 2005: UK had not implemented Habitats Directive Articles 6.3 and 6.4 correctly re. plans

Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c) (Amendment) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 transposed requirements into UK law in August

slide5
6.3 Any plan or project not directly connected with or necessary to the management of the site but likely to have a significant effect thereon, either individually or in combination with other plans or projects, shall be subject to appropriate assessment of its implications for the site in view of the site's conservation objectives... the competent national authorities shall agree to the plan or project only after having ascertained that it will not adversely affect the integrity of the site concerned..
slide6
6.3 Any plan or project not directly connected with or necessary to the management of the site but likely to have a significant effect thereon, either individually or in combination with other plans or projects, shall be subject to appropriate assessment of its implications for the site in view of the site's conservation objectives... the competent national authorities shall agree to the plan or project only after having ascertained that it will not adversely affect the integrity of the site concerned..

a plan located some distance away from a European site could still have significant effects on the site and could still require AA.

slide7
6.3 Any plan or project not directly connected with or necessary to the management of the site but likely to have a significant effect thereon, either individually or in combination with other plans or projects, shall be subject to appropriate assessment of its implications for the site in view of the site's conservation objectives... the competent national authorities shall agree to the plan or project only after having ascertained that it will not adversely affect the integrity of the site concerned..

a European ‘site’ is an SPA or SAC. Ramsar sites are also typically treated as European sites in AA

slide8
6.3 Any plan or project not directly connected with or necessary to the management of the site but likely to have a significant effect thereon, either individually or in combination with other plans or projects, shall be subject to appropriate assessment of its implications for the site in view of the site's conservation objectives... the competent national authorities shall agree to the plan or project only after having ascertained that it will not adversely affect the integrity of the site concerned..

significance is judged in terms of the features for which the site was designated and the site’s conservation objectives

slide9
6.4 If, in spite of a negative assessment of the implications for the site and in the absence of alternative solutions, a plan or project must nevertheless be carried out for imperative reasons of overriding public interest… the Member State shall take all compensatory measures necessary to ensure that the overall coherence of Natura 2000 is protected...
slide10
6.4 If, in spite of a negative assessment of the implications for the site and in the absence of alternative solutions, a plan or project must nevertheless be carried out for imperative reasons of overriding public interest … the Member State shall take all compensatory measures necessary to ensure that the overall coherence of Natura 2000 is protected...

Alternative solutions could include alternative locations, processes etc.; and could be outside the authority

slide11
6.4 If, in spite of a negative assessment of the implications for the site and in the absence of alternative solutions, a plan or project must nevertheless be carried out for imperative reasons of overriding public interest… the Member State shall take all compensatory measures necessary to ensure that the overall coherence of Natura 2000 is protected...

the ‘IROPI test’ is difficult to pass: avoid getting this far if at all possible

slide12

compensatory measures aim to offset precisely the negative impacts of the plan

6.4 If, in spite of a negative assessment of the implications for the site and in the absence of alternative solutions, a plan or project must nevertheless be carried out for imperative reasons of overriding public interest… the Member State shall take all compensatory measures necessary to ensure that the overall coherence of Natura 2000 is protected...

aa promotes hierarchy of measures
AA promotes hierarchy of measures:

avoidance: prevent significant impacts from happening in the first place

mitigation: reduce the magnitude and/or likelihood of an impact

compensation: provide a new benefit to balance out the impact

current status
Current status
  • (Almost) all RSSs – some on their second round
  • Many Core Strategies and other DPDs
  • Environment Agency AAs
slide16
Screen out obvious sites, e.g.
  • That impacts are very unlikely to reach
  • Where conditions & underlying trends are fine and plan impacts are minimal

Consider avoidance measures for others, e.g. rules on

  • siting new development
  • managing new development
  • type of development permitted within x km of site
slide17
Prepare draft screening report and discuss… with Natural England, Environment Agency, others?

Take forward remaining ‘short list’ of sites to…

slide18
2. APPROPRIATE ASSESSMENT

sourcepathwayreceiver

new housing

more recreational pressure new traffic

more disturbancemore road noise

impact on ground nesting birds

slide19

Recreational impact of Horsham DC Core Strategy

on Ashdown Forest SAC

Sensitive feature = ground nesting birds

Magnitude = small

slide20

Likelihood = small

RULE =

no significant impact, no need for avoidance / mitigation

impact of development on barbastelle bats at the mens sac
Impact of development on Barbastelle bats at The Mens SAC

6-8 km: foraging areas prone to disturbance / destruction

2 km: roosts prone to disturbance

roost

RULE: No destruction of hedges/trees within 8km of boundary

OR

No destruction of hedge A, woodland B etc.

conclusion of aa stage
Conclusion of AA stage:

For some European sites: plan is unlikely to have a significant ‘in combination’ impact

For others: plan is likely to have a significant ‘in combination’ impact + propose effective avoidance / mitigation rules

For still others: plan is likely to have significant ‘in combination’ impact + mitigation not possible

→ Stage 3 Alternatives

thames basin heaths spa mitigation using buffer zones and sangs
Thames Basin Heaths SPA: mitigation using buffer zones and SANGS
  • NE ‘rule’:
  • within 400m: no development
  • 0.4-2km: 16ha SANGS/1000 pop
  • 2-5km: 8ha SANGS/1000 pop.
  • (Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space)