Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) tests whether the impacts identified as arising from a proposal, plan or project are likely to have a significant effect on European Sites of nature conservation importance (Natura 2000 sites). The requirement for HRA of plans and projects is from the European Habitats Directive enacted into UK legislation.
Enfusion has a particular experience and expertise in the developing field of Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) for plans across England, Wales and Scotland.
Our expertise and the services we provide include:
- HRA screening and AA for Local Plans including Waste & Minerals Frameworks and Local Transport Plans
- HRA screening and AA for National Park Management Plans and River Basin Management Plans
- Preparation of tailored toolkits & training local authority staff in undertaking HRA screening and AA
- Development of methods and contribution to wider professional debate
Examples of Projects:
PROJECT: HRA & AA of THE CHELTENHAM PLAN 2031
HRA & AA of Local Plan with issues for development pressures & recreational uses of nearby Cotswold Beechwoods AONB. Local Plan found sound & adopted in 2020.
PROJECT: HRA & AA of THE DARTMOOR NATIONAL PARK AUTHORITY LOCAL PLAN (DNPALP)
HRA & AA of Local Plan for Dartmoor National Park Authority and with issues for development pressures around the Park boundary & recreational uses with pressures on natural resources, particularly for designated areas supporting bat habitats and foraging movements.
PROJECT: HRA & AA of THE NORTH WHITLEY MAJOR DEVELOPMENT
Revised HRA Screening & Appropriate Assessment (AA) on behalf of Winchester City Council progressed the procedural change necessitated by a recent CJEU (Sweetman Case C-323/17) & revised guidance by the regulator Natural England. Major development by Consortium of 3,500 new homes with associated facilities. Included consideration of the Integrated Water Management Strategy for future development in the Solent area & protection from increased nitrogen in the internationally protected sites (Solent & Southampton SPA/Ramsar). The revised HRA/AA demonstrated procedural requirements such that the major development could proceed.
PROJECT: GUIDANCE ON MOBILE SPECIES FOR PLANNING AND HRA/AA
Natural Resources Wales
Produced guidance for Natural Resources Wales (previously the Countryside Council for Wales) to help competent authorities, plan makers, planners and project developers in Wales consider whether their plans or projects might be likely to have significant effects on ‘mobile species’ populations that are features of European sites; wide consultation with specialists and interested stakeholders.
PROJECT: HRA/AA TRAINING
South Essex Local Authorities
HRA training for the South Essex Local Authorities. Development and presentation of a workshop to build capacity in HRA by enabling participants to understand HRA principles and concepts; learn the key skills required to undertake HRA screening in-house; and understand some of the main issues surrounding HRA in South Essex.
PROJECT: HRA/AA of LOCAL PLAN
Isle of Anglesey Council & Gwynedd Council
Compliance review of initial HRA work; production of an HRA Screening Report for the Anglesey and Gwynedd Joint Local Development Plan. Over 40 European sites within the influence of the Plan, which includes a large number of coastal and marine based sites. Key issues include the potential for proposed development to increase atmospheric pollution; levels of disturbance; surface water run-off and land take.
PROJECT: HRA/AA OF WASTE LOCAL PLAN
Wiltshire Council & Swindon Council
HRA of the Wiltshire and Swindon Waste Development Framework, which included the production of HRA Screening and Appropriate Assessment Reports for the Waste Core Strategy and Development Control Policies DPDs and an HRA Screening Report for the Waste Site Allocations DPD. The HRA findings for the Core Strategy were used to inform the HRA for the lower level DPDs to address key issues, which included increased disturbance and hydrological connectivity. In association with C4S.
PROJECT: HRA TOOLKIT
South East Wales Strategic Planning Group
Studies to examine the potential opportunities & challenges for joint working on HRA & AA across the SE Wales region (10 local authorities); integrated approach sharing evidence base for Natura 2000 site data; incorporation of effects analysis and cumulative assessment to inform HRA screening & AA; development of step-by-step approach and preparation of toolkit with templates for HRA assessment and reporting stages.
PROJECT: HRA SCREENING & AA of LONDON SOUTHEND AIRPORT & ENVIRONS JOINT AREA ACTION PLAN DPD
Rochford District Council & Southend on Sea Borough Council
Policy screening and site focused assessment for proposals to expand Southend Airport including a runway extension; key issues are for increased disturbance and reduced water resources and quality; potential for increased disturbance to protected bird species as a result of increased aviation; potential for increased abstraction as a result of proposed employment development. The AA recommended that the Submission JAAP DPD should set a challenging policy to restrict additional water use within the plan area.
PROJECT: HRA of NUCLEAR NATIONAL POLICY STAEMENT (NPS)
Department of Energy & Climate Change
HRA Screening & Appropriate Assessment (where necessary) of the proposed national level policy and the potentially suitable sites for new nuclear power stations in England & Wales; refinement of methods; wide consultation with statutory bodies and other Government departments. HRA carried out in parallel with the Appraisals of Sustainability. Findings included guidance and information to help development consent process with planning applications for these Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs).
PROJECT: HRA/AA of PEMBROKESHIRE COAST NATIONAL PARK MANAGEMENT PLAN & LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority
HRA Screening & Appropriate Assessment of NPMP and LDP with policy screening and site focused assessment; key issues are recreational pressures, sewerage capacity, water quality & resources for marine and terrestrial European sites; consideration of in-combination impacts from surrounding LDPs, tourism strategies, transport plans & catchment strategies.