Appropriate Assessments or Screening Assessments (AASR’s) and Natura Impact Assessments (NIA’s) are now an integral part of planning permission for sites located close to a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) or Special Protection Area (SPA). This assessment is a requirement of the EU Habitats and Birds Directives in order to examine the impact of a proposed development on rare and protected habitats and species.
Eire Ecology have been carrying out Screening assessments since 2010 for a range of developments from housing estates, one off housing, slated sheds, industrial and renewable developments. Our experience in this field guarantees that our reports are completed to a high standard preventing any delays in the planning permission process. We aim to provide surveys that enable you to complete your project whilst safeguarding protected habitats and species, saving you time and money.
Call or email us now to receive a no obligation quote.
Appropriate Assessments originated due to the introduction of protected Natura 2000 sites throughout the country. These sites comprise of both SAC’s (Special Areas of Conservation) and SPA’s (Special Protection Areas). A key protection mechanism for these sites, is the requirement to complete an Appropriate Assessment which considers the possible nature conservation implications of any plan or project on or adjacent to the Natura 2000 site network before any decision is made to allow that plan or project to proceed.
Appropriate Assessment Stages
The four stages in the Appropriate Assessment process are outlined below:
This step consists of examining the likely potential impacts of a project or plan, alone or in combination with other projects, upon a Natura 2000 site or sites, and considers whether these impacts may be considered significant. If no significant impacts are foreseen, then a ‘finding of no significant effects’ (FONSE) statement is issued to the appropriate authority, and the process is complete. If the effects are considered significant or their significance is unknown, then the process moves on to Stage 2.
Stage 2: Appropriate Assessments – Natura Impact Statement (NIS)
Where the screening process has identified potential impacts which are considered significant or unknown, this process examines these potential impacts in detail, in relation to the conservation interests of the Natura 2000 site or sites. Mitigation measures may be suggested to reduce the likelihood or severity of these impacts. If the impacts are still considered to be significant or unknown after this stage is complete, then alternative solutions must be considered (Stage 3).
Stage 3: Assessment of Alternative Solutions
A stage 3 assessment examines alternative ways of implementing the project that do not impact on designated sites.
Stage 4: Imperative Reasons of Overriding Public Interest (IROPI)
If significant negative impacts on the Natura 2000 site are unavoidable, and no alternative solutions may be found, then this stage involves the consideration of whether the project or plan may go ahead despite these effects, for ‘imperative reasons of overriding public interest’ (IROPI).