Proposed Submission Local Plan 2006-2028

Habitats Regulation Assessment

1.19 The need for a Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) arises from a European Directive[1] that is implemented in the UK by the Habitats Regulations. For plans or projects that are likely to have a significant effect on 'European sites' (i.e. sites of international importance for conservation) an Appropriate Assessment, which forms stage 2 of the HRA, is required of South Somerset's Local Plan due to the presence of the Somerset Levels and Moors Special Protection Area (SPA) and Ramsar[2] site in the district. The outcome of this has been published as a separate report, alongside the Local Plan.

1.20 The HRA covers matters previously raised as concerns at the Issues and Options and the Draft Local Plan stage including potential disturbance to birds in the Somerset Levels and Moors from increased recreation use, water quality impact to invertebrates due to potential changes in water quality as a result of new development and protection of bat species at Brackett's Copse Special Area of Conservation (SAC). A separate report about this area has been produced (by Somerset County Council) for the District Council.

1.21 The District Council through consultants Royal Haskoning and Somerset County Council have carried out a two stage assessment of the Local Plan, the first on emerging policies in the Draft Core Strategy and the second on amended policies following consultation and presented in final form in this Proposed Submission Plan. Mitigation to policy wording has been suggested on both occasions in order to ensure policies and proposals have no adverse impact upon the integrity of the Somerset Levels and Moors SPA, Ramsar designated sites and Bracketts Copse SAC. The policies in this document reflect the amendments recommended.

1. EC Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) [back]
2. Wetlands of International importance designated under the RAMSAR Convention [back]