The Habitats Directive is a powerful instrument and permission for consent cannot be granted if a Planning Authority concludes that the proposed development will impact a Designated European Site. Frequently, planning decisions are challenged by way of judicial review for alleged breaches of obligations arising under the Habitats Directive.
McCutcheon Halley offers in-house ecological service and our Appropriate Assessment Screening Reports and Natura Impact Statements are prepared taking account of recent case law.
For example, a recent judgement from the European Court of Justice determined that measures included in a development proposal, that are intended to mitigate or avoid an effect on the conservation objectives of a Designated Site, cannot be included within a Stage 1 Screening Assessment. This means that such applications must be accompanied by a more detailed assessment, termed a Natura Impact Statement, that provides the Planning Authority with the information it needs to undertake an Appropriate Assessment.