Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulation Assessment

We have produced a Sustainability Appraisal (SA) Scoping Report and asked key stakeholders for their views – see SA Scoping Report and comments.

We are aware that the Government is considering changing the approach to assessing local plans. The requirement to produce a SA and a Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) may be removed and another assessment may take their place. This was proposed in the 2020 Planning White Paper and further discussed in Nature Recovery Green Paper: Protected Sites and Species. However, at the time of writing no such changes are in place and so, unless told otherwise, we will produce SAs and HRAs as appropriate.

Similarly, the UK has left the European Union (EU). The need to undertake SA and HRA originates from EU directives. EU law was transposed into UK law when we left the EU and so the requirement to undertake these assessments still exists. That being said, the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act proposes replacing Environmental Impact and Strategic Environmental Assessments (Sustainability Appraisals) with a new set of Environmental Outcome Reports, with “a clearer and simpler process where relevant plans and projects are assessed against tangible environmental outcomes set by government.” We will ensure the local plan meets all requirements that are in place as it is produced.

Read the Sustainability Appraisal that accompanies this Preferred Options document.

Read the Habitats Regulations Assessment that accompanies this Preferred Options document.