Appropriate Assessment - NIS
An Appropriate Assessment (AA) is an assessment of the potential adverse effects of a plan or project (in combination with other plans or projects) on the Natura 2000 network of European sites, i.e. Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs). These sites are protected by National and European Law.
The requirement for AA is set out in Articles 6(3) and 6(4) of the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC). The Habitats Directive is transposed into Irish law by the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 as amended (hereafter referred to as the Habitats Regulations).
Firstly, it is necessary to test whether AA is required for a particular plan or project. This is termed AA screening. Its purpose is to determine, on the basis of a preliminary assessment and objective criteria, whether a plan or project, alone and in combination with other plans or projects, could have significant effects on a European site in view of the site’s conservation objectives. Where significant effects are likely, uncertain or unknown at this screening stage, a Natura Impact Statement (NIS) will be required.
The assessments for AA are undertaken on the basis of the best scientific evidence and methods. As such, data and information on the project and site, and an analysis of potential effects on the site must be obtained and presented in a NIS. Ecological specialists are required to undertake the surveys, research and analysis, with input from other experts (e.g. hydrologists or engineers) where necessary. It is the responsibility of the proponent of the plan or project to have the NIS prepared for submission to the competent authority, i.e. the consent authority.
If it is concluded on the basis of AA that there will be no adverse effects on the integrity of a European site, the plan or project can proceed to authorisation, where the normal planning or other requirements will apply in reaching a decision to approve or refuse.
Earthy Matters has considerable experience in AA screening and the preparation of NIS for private individuals, community groups, businesses and local authorities.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org