Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) is required under the European Directive 92/43/EEC on the "conservation of natural habitats and wild fauna and flora for plans" that may have an impact of European (Natura 2000) Sites.
HRA is the assessment of the impacts of implementing a plan or policy on a Natura 2000 Site. Its purpose is to consider the impacts of a land-use plan against conservation objectives of the site and to ascertain whether it would adversely affect the integrity of the site. Where significant negative effects are identified, alternative options should be examined to avoid any potential damaging effects.
Of particular importance to Northamptonshire is the Upper Nene Valley Gravel Pits. These are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and at the commencement of the MWDF was a potential European Special Protection Area (pSPA) - this is now a confirmed SPA. HRA is applicable to any plans and projects that could impact here and is therefore required for relevant components of the
Minerals and Waste Development Framework (MWDF).
Habitat Regulations Assessment Screening Report
The purpose of the Screening Report was to examine the likely effects of the plan (alone, or in combination with other projects or plans) on the pSPA and consider whether the plan and site allocations would have a significant effect on the integrity of the Natura 2000 site.
A HRA Screening Report was produced to assess the likely impact of the Core Strategy, Locations for Minerals and Locations for Waste Development DPD (in line with the Issues and Options paper)
A HRA Screening Report was produced to assess the likely impact of the Locations for Waste Development Supplementary Preferred Options.
A HRA Screening Report was produced to access the likely impact of the Control and Management of Development DPD.
A HRA Screening Report was produced to assess the likely impact of the Development and Implementation Principles SPD.
Note: It is important to note that screening assessments were carried out in the absence of any consideration of mitigation measures that form part of a project or plan and are designed to avoid or reduce impact of a project or plan on a Natura 2000 site.
Habitats Regulations Appropriate Assessment
The purpose of the Habitats Regulations Appropriate Assessment is to consider the impact on the integrity of the Natura 2000 site of the plan (alone, or in combination with other projects or plans) with respect to the sites structure, function and conservation objectives.
Additionally where adverse impacts are identified, an assessment of the potential mitigation measures is required to determine the level to which the measures would be successful in avoiding or reducing potential impacts to an acceptable level.
A Habitats Regulation Appropriate Assessment was produced along side the Preferred Options for the Core Strategy, Locations for Minerals Development and Locations for Waste Development DPD.
The Appropriate Assessment builds upon the conclusions of the Screening Report.