PBA Applied Ecology
PBA Applied Ecology

Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA)

PBA Applied Ecology has an excellent track record for delivering HRAs for projects in protected areas across the UK. We specialise in ensuring challenging and complex projects, with the potential for likely significant effect, have appropriate avoidance and mitigation measures. This is achieved through rigorous internal assessment, communication with our clients and liaison with statutory bodies. A HRA must be undertaken whenever a plan or project is proposed within a European designated site that does not contribute directly to the conservation management of the site.

What is a HRA?

The purpose of a Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA) is to identify any element of a proposed activity that has the potential to cause a significant effect on a Natura 2000, Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Areas (SPA) and in the UK Ramsar sites. These effects can occur in isolation or combination with other ongoing or proposed activities by the same or other stakeholders. Combined impacts can be particularly pertinent in protected river ecosystems, as the impacts of upstream projects can readily act in combination with impacts of projects that are undertaken downstream. The HRA process is designed to consider appropriate avoidance and mitigation strategies at the Appropriate Assessment (AA) stage.

What to expect during the HRA process?

The HRA process consists of two main elements:

  1. Screening: HRA screening which must consider if the proposed plan or project has the potential to cause likely significant effect. Where a likely significant effect cannot be excluded an Appropriate Assessment (AA) must be undertaken and assessed by the appropriate competent authority.

  2. Appropriate Assessment: The AA must consider if avoidance and mitigation strategies exclude the potential for likely significant effect to be caused by the plan or project. Where an adverse effect on the site’s integrity cannot be ruled out, and where there are no alternative solutions, the plan or project can only proceed if there are imperative reasons of over-riding public interest and if the necessary compensatory measures can be secured.

If you have any queries regarding the services your project may require, please contact us.