Regulation 61 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 states that:

‘61.—(1) A competent authority, before deciding to undertake, or give any consent, permission or other authorisation for, a plan or project which—

  • (a) is likely to have a significant effect on a European site or a European offshore marine site (either alone or in combination with other plans or projects), and,
  • (b) is not directly connected with or necessary to the management of that site,

must make an appropriate assessment of the implications for that site in view of that site’s conservation objectives.

(2) A person applying for any such consent, permission or other authorisation must provide such information as the competent authority may reasonably require for the purposes of the assessment or to enable them to determine whether an appropriate assessment is required.

(3) The competent authority must for the purposes of the assessment consult the appropriate nature conservation body and have regard to any representations made by that body within such reasonable time as the authority specify.’

This Regulation makes it clear that the first requirement is for the competent authority, in consultation with Natural England, to determine whether or not the plan or project is likely to have a significant effect on the European site (alone or in combination), and that the applicant must provide such information as they may require in order to do this.

The process is normally iterative, but in summary, the following procedure would be followed, in consultation with Natural England and the Planning Officer.


ESL has undertaken numerous HRA’s, including:

  • The River Humber SPA, in North & North East Lincolnshire (six separate assessments to date)
  • The Swale Estuary SPA/Ramsar Site in Kent,
  • The Tees Estuary SPA including impacts on an RSPB Nature Reserve,
  • The Mersey Estuary SPA/Ramsar Site,