25 MAY 2018
EDP is carefully monitoring the impact of the recent Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) judgement on the matter of People Over Wind and Sweetman v Coillte Teoranta (C-323/17), with its preliminary ruling on "whether, or in what circumstances, mitigation measures can be considered when carrying out screening for appropriate assessment under Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive", seemingly at odds with past domestic judgements.
The preliminary ruling states that avoidance or reduction measures should be assessed within the framework of an Appropriate Assessment, undertaken to establish whether a plan or project will affect the integrity of a European Site (e.g. SAC, SPA or Ramsar Site), and should not be taken into account early on at the screening stage of an Habitat Regulations Assessment so as to rule out likely significant effects. To fully understand the implications of this preliminary ruling, defining what measures are integral to the design of the ‘project’ as opposed to those that are preventative (i.e. avoidance or reduction measures) will certainly be key. We would also advise a revised HRA screening assessment be undertaken in certain circumstances to ensure a robust approach is being employed in light of this judgement.
EDP will bring you further updates once the implications of this judgement for Local Plans and Projects become clearer.
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