Habitats Regulations Assessments

The requirement for Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) stems from Articles 6(3) and 6(4) of the European Union Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) which seeks to conserve the integrity and extent of important habitats that support rare, threatened or endemic animal and plant species. These habitats are designated as nature conservation sites of European importance, and contribute to the Natura 2000 network. The Directive requires that: ‘Any plan or project not directly connected with or necessary to the management of the site but likely to have a significant effect thereon, either individually or in combination with other plans or projects, shall be subject to appropriate assessment of its implications for the site in view of the site’s conservation objectives.’ Article 6(3) These requirements are transposed into UK law via the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (‘the Habitats Regulations’, as amended) which obliges all competent authorities giving consent for land use plans and projects to consider the likelihood of significant effects on European sites.

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Case Studies

HRA & QA Review - Major Development Area

In 2011 staff from Urban Edge Environmental Consulting coordinated work on behalf of the planning authorities, Winchester City and Havant Borough Councils, to provide technical advice in support of their consideration of a hybrid application for a residential-led Major Development Area west of Waterlooville.


The brief consisted of two main elements. Firstly to review the sections ......

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European sites are Special Protection Areas designated under the Birds Directive (2009/147/EC) and Special Areas of Conservation designated under the Habitats Directive. Government policy extends this requirement to also cover Ramsar sites designated under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (1971). Brighton based Urban Edge Environmental Consulting has extensive experience in advising developers and competent authorities on HRA procedures, and can assist in the preparation of Screening Statements, Habitats Regulations Assessment Reports and related evidence studies. Our in-depth understanding of the planning system, experience in related assessment processes (such as EIA and SEA), ecological expertise and solid links with the statutory environmental consultation bodies enable us to deliver consistently precise, robust and innovative assessments under the Habitats Regulations. Our HRA capabilities include:

  • Site analysis and trend analysis
  • Screening frameworks
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Strategic alternatives
  • Alternatives to scheme design
  • Design of avoidance and mitigation measures
  • Screening Statements and Appropriate Assessment Reports
  • Quality Assurance
  • Expert Witness
  • Capacity building

Ecological Surveys

Impact Assessments

Environmental Planning


Biodiversity Net Gain