More and more, we are being asked to carry out appropriate assessments on development sites by our clients.
What is Appropriate Assessment
Appropriate assessment is an obligation to put concern for potential effects on Natura 2000 sites at the forefront of every decision made in relation to plans and projects at all stages.
The obligation to undertake appropriate assessment derives from Article 6(3) of the EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) which is in place to consider the possible nature conservation implications of any plan or project on the Natura 2000 site network before any decision is made to allow that plan or project to proceed.
Article 6(3) provides in full: “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. In the light of the conclusions of the assessment of the implications for the site and subject to the provisions of paragraph 4, 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 and, if appropriate, after having obtained the opinion of the general public.”
Not only is every new plan or project captured by this requirement but each plan or project, when being considered for approval at any stage, must take into consideration the possible effects it may have in combination with other plans and projects when going through the process known as appropriate assessment.
Stages of Appropriate Assessment
Appropriate Assessment involves a number of stages and tests that need to be applied in sequential order. These stages also determine the decisions that ultimately may be made in relation to approval or refusal of a plan or project.
Stage 1 – Screening Appropriate Assessment
Stage 2 – Natura Impact Statement
Stage 3 – Assessment of Alternative Solutions
Stage 4 – Assessment of Compensatory Measures
Verde Environmental Consultants can provide many other planning related services: