ECOFACT Environmental Consultants Ltd. is Ireland’s leading independent ecology and environmental management companies. We work across Ireland and the UK, and specialise in Environmental Projects including the preparation of Article 6 Appropriate Assessments.
Appropriate Assessment (AA) is similar to Environmental Impact Assessment, but is focused on the implications of a plan or project in relation to impacts affecting the integrity of sites of European Importance as designated under the EU ‘Habitats Directive’ (1992). These sites are referred to as Natura 2000 sites and include Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Special Area of Conservations (SACs) which together form the Natura 2000 network.
Any project or plan that has the potential to significantly affect an SAC or SPA, alone and in combination with other plans and projects, is required by law to undergo an Appropriate Assessment of its implications for the conservation interests of the site. Proposals within (or with potential to incur adverse effects upon) Natura 2000 sites must be subject to an Appropriate Assessment. An Appropriate Assessment report is called a Natura Impact Statement (NIS).
An Appropriate Assessment follows four sequential stages in establishing whether a plan or project can be implemented without adversely affecting a Natura 2000 site. The potential for significant impacts is first assessed during a Screening exercise (Stage 1); the conclusions of which will either identify the potential for significant impacts or provide a statement that no significant impacts are likely to occur.
Where potential impacts affecting a designated Natura 2000 site have been identified during Screening, a complete Appropriate Assessment (or Natura Impact Statement) is required. This may include mitigation measures for the avoidance of impacts, with cognisance of provisions in Article 6.4 of the Habitats Directive for circumstances in which there are no alternatives and there are imperative reasons of overriding public interest requiring a plan or project to proceed.
ECOFACT is fully qualified to carry out Appropriate Assessments, commencing at the Screening stage through to completion where necessary. We have particular expertise in the preparation of Appropriate Assessments for the purposes of the Waste Water Discharge (Authorisation) Regulations (2007). Our strong experience as a professional ecological consultancy is complimented by an extensive project history in carrying out these assessments for both statutory bodies and private enterprises; where proposed developments have had potential to affect Natura 2000 sites in freshwater, terrestrial and marine environments.