Habitats Regulations Assessment

Why might you need a Habitats Regulations Assessment?

A Habitats Regulations Assessment is required when a development has the potential to have a likely significant effect on a Natura 2000 site. These sites comprise Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), which are protected sites designated under the EC Habitats Directive and EC Birds Directive in order to protect internationally important habitats and bird populations.

As the developer, you may be required to provide the Competent Authority (often the Local Planning Authority) with enough information for screening and, where necessary, Appropriate Assessment, of projects which may impact on these protected sites. Planning permission typically cannot be granted unless sufficient information has been provided and the Competent Authority and Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation (Natural England, SNH) are satisfied that there will be no residual impacts on Natura 2000 sites.

What should you expect to happen?

The team at E3 will advise you if there is potential for your development to impact on an SPA or SAC at an early stage, typically following Preliminary Ecological Appraisal. Typically, we will seek early consultation with the Local Planning Authority and will use our knowledge and experience of Habitats Regulations Assessment to advise you on potential mitigation and compensation requirements. Further survey work, such as to assess bird use on or near a site and assessment of local footpath networks etc may also be recommended.

Following survey work being carried out, we will produce a report to support a Habitats Regulations Assessment or Appropriate Assessment, detailing potential direct and indirect impacts to the relevant sites as well as any mitigation and compensation measures to be delivered. A constructive dialogue between yourself, E3 and the LPA will be built upon to provide all necessary information to the LPA.

When can surveys be carried out?

Assessments can be carried out at any time.

What experience do E3 have?

Several members of the E3 team have gained extensive experience of projects requiring Habitats Regulations Assessment, including for housing and proposed leisure facilities. We have an excellent relationship with LPA ecologists throughout the north east region, and use this to quickly identify where potential impacts may occur and how these can be resolved.