Planning guidance extends appropriate assessments off-site

Planning applications proposing to use off-site suitable alternative natural greenspaces (SANGs) to mitigate impacts on EU-designated protected sites should be subject to a detailed environmental assessment, according to new planning guidance.

The guidance on the use of habitats regulations assessment (HRA), was published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government last week as part of a series of updates to its planning practice guidance.

The move aims to address confusion among practioners following the landmark Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) ‘People over Wind’ ruling on HRAs in April last year. Any plans or projects in or near EU-designated special areas of conservation or special protection areas must undergo HRAs before they are adopted or gain permission. 

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