An Appropriate Assessment is part of the planning process. This is necessary when a development can potentially impact on, or is situated near a protected site. These sites are commonly referred to as SAC, SPA, Natura 2000 sites.
The first step in the process is the screening. The purpose of the screening process is to establish if the development has a significant negative effect on any Natura 2000 sites, on its own or as a cumulative effect with other developments in the area.
When significant negative effects are established a full assessment is needed and remediation measures proposed to avoid these negative impacts. A development can proceed even when adverse effects are established when there are “Imperative Reasons of Over-riding Public interest”
The concept of plan and project is extremely broad and is not limited to development planning and development management, covered by the Planning and Development Acts 2000-2006. Our team has a broad spectrum of expertise and consists of qualified Environmental Scientists and Engineers. Environmental Services Consultancy can approach problems from all disciplines to come to inventive and cost effective solution.
Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive requires that:
‘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 of the Directive, 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.’
And Article 6(4) of the Habitats Directive requires that:-
‘If, in spite of a negative assessment of the implications for the site and in the absence of alternative solutions, a plan or project must nevertheless be carried out for imperative reasons of overriding public interest, including those of social or economic nature, the Member State shall take all compensatory measures necessary to ensure that the overall coherence of Natura 2000 is protected. It shall inform the Commission of the compensatory measures adopted.’
Further Information: http://www.npws.ie/planning/appropriateassessment/