In 1992 member states of the European Union (EU) adopted legislation designed to protect the most seriously threatened habitats and species across Europe. This legislation is referred to as the Habitats Directive and complements the Birds Directive. The basis of both these Directives was the creation of a network of protected sites, collectively called Natura 2000 sites (also referred to as ‘European sites’).
Under Article 6(3) and 6(4) of the Habitats Directive, any project / plan likely to have a significant impact upon Natura 2000 sites (either alone or in combination with other plans or projects) must be subject to Appropriate Assessment by a competent authority. The process for determining whether an Appropriate Assessment is required (screening), together with the Appropriate Assessment itself (where it is considered necessary following screening), is known as Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) and is set out in Regulation 48 of the Habitats Regulations.
Over the course of the last twelve months BiOME have been commissioned by clients to complete the required ecology work in relation to a number of proposed developments (harbour improvements, a leisure centre, road upgrade and single turbines) in close proximity to coastal Natura 2000 sites, in both England and Wales.
To inform the HRA process, robust, comprehensive and repeatable bird surveys were required. These surveys were designed and completed by our in-house team of highly experienced ornithologists, producing a dataset upon which it was possible to fully and confidently assess the impacts of the proposed development, both alone and in-combination with other projects.
We look forward to completing the post-construction ornithological monitoring in relation to these projects in future years.