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Habitats Regulations Appraisal - help and advice

It is crucial when conducting a Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA) that the specific tests embedded within the process such as screening for the likelihood of significant effects, and the appropriate assessment; as well as their particular terminology are understood, and kept clearly separated. It is also important to understand both the procedure as set out in law, and the practical application of that procedure.

 Please remember that HRA is not the same as Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) or Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). Some of the terms used in all three procedures appear similar in their meaning, but the steps, tests, and application are very different.

Where can I find help and advice?

The following sources of information may help with various aspects of HRA.

For every Natura site potentially affected by a proposal, a Habitats Regulations Appraisal should refer to the conservation objectives and qualifying interests of a site. These are available for all SACs and SPAs in Scotland using our Sitelink tool external site . Search for the sites you are interested in by name, or use the map function. 

The Scottish Natural Heritage website has a page for planners and developers that is devoted to providing information and advice on Protected Areas.  

The 'Natura 2000 Network Viewer' external site   is a user-friendly, interactive map showing all Natura sites, their location, and other useful related information, set up jointly by the European Environment Agency and the European Commission. 

Scottish Natural Heritage has produced a short leaflet on Natura sites and Habitats Regulations which briefly summarises the HRA process and gives some handy hints to practitioners.

Some key concepts are clearly explained in the European Commission's guidance on Article 6 of the Habitats Directive external site   

Revised guidance updating the Scottish Office Circular 6/1995 on the implementation of the Habitats and Birds Directive in Scotland was produced in June 2000, and is presently being revised. This sets out Scottish Government policy relating to Natura sites. 
Paragraphs 207 to 211 of Scottish Planning Policy 2014 external site   clarify and update Government policy in relation to the planning system, Natura sites and Ramsar sites. 

Guidance is now available specifically for plan-making bodies undertaking Habitats Regulations Appraisal of Plans  PDF document .

The Scottish Government provides guidance on HRA and the planning system, including Circular 6/2013 Development Planning external site

Last updated on Tuesday 28th June 2016 at 11:28 AM. Click here to comment on this page