Appropriate Assessment

An Appropriate Assessment is required under Article 6 (3) of the Habitats Directive and legislated by Regulation 61 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations (2010). An Appropriate Assessment is required where a proposed development, if not connected with or necessary for the management of a site, is likely to have a significant adverse effect on the integrity of a Special Protection Area (SPA) or Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

The Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats the “Habitats Directive” provides legal protection for habitats and species of European importance. Article 2 of the Directive requires the maintenance or restoration of habitats and species of interest to the EU in a favourable condition.

SPA’s are designated under the European Commission Birds directive, with SAC’s being designated under the EU Habitats Directive. SPA’s and SAC’s are collectively referred to as Natura 2000 sites. RAMSAR sites, those designated under the convention on Wetlands of International Importance, are considered to be of equivalent status to Natura 2000 sites (DETR, 2000) and therefore all interest features of a proposed or designated RAMSAR site need to be included in an Appropriate Assessment. European Marine Sites are legislated under Regulation 33 (2) of The Conservation (Natural Habitats) Regulations (1994) and would also be included.

The purpose of the Appropriate Assessment is to assess whether there are any adverse effects on the integrity of a SAC/SPA/RAMSAR/European Marine Site by any proposed development. The process of an Appropriate Assessment can be divided into four stages:

  • Stage 1 – Identification of qualifying interest features
  • Stage 2 – Likely significant effects
  • Stage 3 – Ascertaining the likely effects on site integrity
  • Stage 4 – Mitigation and alternative solutions

OpenSpace have experience in carrying out Appropriate Assessments. If you have a query about Appropriate Assessments, then call us on 01228 711841 or email

Updated April 2017