Habitat Regulation Assessments (HRA) (sometimes known as 'appropriate assessments') are important to help understand the predicted effects of our policies and 'allocations' on internationally significant nature conservation sites, within about 15km of our boundary.
In order to meet with European Legislation such as the Habitat Directive, Wild Birds Directive and the UK Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017, we have or will have to produce an HRA for all of our plans, including:
- neighbourhood plans - HRAs have been produced for the adopted Neighbourhood Plans for Upper and Nether Poppleton and Rufforth with Knapton Parishes
- supplementary planning documents (SPD)
- each stage of a new Local Plan
The outcomes of HRA have informed the development of the new Local Plan and fed into it's accompanying Sustainability Appraisal. A HRA was produced for the new Local Plan Preferred Options Stage in 2013 and Publication Local Plan (Regulation 19) (2018). Further updates to this process may also be reported as part of the new Local Plan Examination.
A HRA aims to:
- establish whether plans policies or allocations for development will affect the integrity of such sites
- assess the likely impacts, how significant these impacts are
- assess whether mitigation is needed to protect the sites
- assess whether adverse impacts can be offset
Internationally significant nature conservation
Internationally significant nature conservation sites are also referred to as the 'Natura 2000 network' and include:
- Special Protection Areas (SPAs) classified for rare and vulnerable birds
- Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), areas with important habitat features
- Ramsar Sites, internationally important wetlands