We carry out Habitats Regulations Assessment both on County Council plans and planning applications, and on behalf of the district councils, to ensure that no harm happens to a Natura 2000 site from a plan’s or project’s adoption.

Natura 2000 sites are nature conservation sites of European importance and are designated either Special Protection Areas (for birds) or Special Areas of Conservation (for animals and habitats). In addition, Ramsar sites (Internationally Important Wetlands) are treated as if they were Natura 2000 sites in accordance with Government policy.

Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) of plans and planning applications considers the impacts of plans and proposed development on Natura 2000 sites. It is required under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010. There are four steps in the process.