North Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy Habitats Regulations Assessment January 2015

The need for Appropriate Assessment is set out within Article 6 of the EC Habitats Directive 1992, and interpreted into British law by the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c) Regulations 1994 (as amended in 2007 and 2010). Under these Regulations, land use plans must be subject to Appropriate Assessment if they are likely to have a significant [adverse] effect on a Natura 2000 site (Special Areas of Conservation, SAC and Special Protection Areas, SPA). It is Government policy for sites designated under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar sites) to be treated as having equivalent status to Natura 2000 sites. As such, Appropriate Assessments should also cover these sites.

In recent years the term Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA) has been coined to describe the entire assessment process required to comply with the Regulations, including the specific Appropriate Assessment stage. In order to ascertain whether or not site integrity will be affected, an HRA should therefore be undertaken of the plan or project in question. 

In 2012 a draft Habitat Regulations Appropriate Assessment (Likely Significant Effects) exercise for the North Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy was undertaken for consultation. Following comments from Natural England in 2013 URS undertook a Habitat Regulations Appropriate Assessment (Likely Significant Effects) exercise for the North Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy during July 2014. 

This report is updating the Habitats Regulations Assessments for the North Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy 2011 – 2031, assessing the ‘Pre-Submission Plan’. 

The HRA assessed the JCS that was reported to and agreed at the 18th December Joint Committee. The JPU has prepared a schedule setting out its response to the recommendations in the HRA and showing how the JCS has been amended as a consequence.

Further minor amendments were also made to the JCS following the JPC, but it is not considered that these affect the assessment and recommendations in the HRA.

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Date Published : 26th January 2015

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