Any plan or program that may significantly affect a nature protection area on its own or combined with other plans or projects must undergo an Appropriate Assessment (AA) evaluating its potential impacts upon the nature protection area of community interest, taking into account the conservation objectives of the respective nature protection area. In the case of the plans or projects that are subject to the environmental assessment or to the environmental impact assessment, the appropriate assessment of the potential effects on the nature protection area of community interest is an integral part of the process.
Natura 2000 is a network of nature protection areas which aims to maintain in a favourable state of conservation a selection of the most important types of habitats and species of Europe.
Natura 2000 divided into categories
The Natura 2000 network consists of so-called sites of community importance (Natura 2000 sites), which are divided into two categories:
- Special Areas of Conservation/ Sites of Community Importance (SAC - Special Areas of Conservation/SCI - Sites of Community Importance) - established according to The Habitats Directive, formally known as Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora;
- Special Protected Areas (SPA - Special Protected Areas) - established according The Birds Directive, formally known as Council Directive 2009/147/EC on the conservation of wild birds.
The Appropriate Assessment is developed according to the legal requirements of Ministry Order no. 19/2010 for approving the Guidelines on the appropriate assessment of potential effects of plans and programs on nature protection areas of community interest. After the appropriate assessment is completed, the environmental authority issues the Natura 2000 Permit or rejects the project or the plan.
Appropriate Assessment Stages
The stages of the appropriate assessment procedure are:
- The screening stage;
- The stage of the appropriate assessment study. This stage contains the measures applied to reduce the impact and any alternative solutions, on a case by case basis;
- The stage of compensatory measures, used when there are no alternative solutions and when the negative impact persists.
What should an appropriate assessment study include?
- Information on the proposed project subject to approval: name, description, objectives, information about production and technological processes, raw materials used, substances or chemical preparations used, geographical and administrative location, physical changes, necessary natural resources, generated emissions and waste, requirements related to land use, duration of construction, operation and decommissioning, etc.;
- Information on the natural protected areas of community interest which will be affected: surface, types of ecosystems, types of habitats and species, description of the ecological functions of the affected species and habitats of community interest, conservation status of species and habitats, conservation objectives of the natural area of community interest and a description of the current state of conservation of the natural protection area of community interest;
- Impact identification and assessment;
- Measures to reduce the impact;
- Alternatives solutions;
- Compensatory measures and an implementation plan.