The following Planning practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
The Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) requirements require the assessment of 'plans or projects' that may have a 'likely significant effect' on a European site. Such plans or projects can only proceed if the competent authority is convinced they will not have an 'adverse effect on the integrity of a European site'. If the plan or project will have adverse effects, or if there is uncertainty over its effects, it can only be granted consent if certain 'derogations' apply. See Practice Notes: Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC—snapshot, Implementation of the Habitats Directive in England and Wales and Appropriate assessment under the Habitats Directive.
The HRA requirements only apply to 'a plan or projects'. The legislation does not define the terms 'plan or project' but they are generally taken to have a very broad meaning, covering a wide range of activities.
If the activity is not a plan or project, there is no need for screening to see whether an appropriate assessment is required. However, other consents, such as planning permission, may be required.
See Practice Note: Appropriate assessment under the Habitats Directive—Determining whether the activity is a ‘plan’ or a ‘project’.
Plans or projects directly connected with or necessary to the management of a European site are not subject to the appropriate assessment requirements.
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