Appropriate Assessment Determination
The requirement to carry out an Appropriate Assessment (AA) comes from Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive. It finds out whether a plan or project, alone or together with other plans and projects, is likely to have significant effects on a European Site(s). This is in view of best scientific knowledge and the conservation objectives of the site(s). European Sites are those identified as sites of European Community importance designated as Special Areas of Conservation under the Habitats Directive or as Special Protection Areas under the Birds Directive.
The first step of the AA process is to carry out a Screening to establish whether, in relation to a particular plan or project, an AA is required. Article 6(3) states:
“Any plan or project not directly connected with or necessary to the management of the site but likely to have a significant effect thereon, either individually or in combination with other plans or projects, shall be subject to appropriate assessment of its implications for the site in view of the site’s conservation objectives. In the light of the conclusions of the assessment of the implications for the site and subject to the provisions of paragraph 4, the competent national authorities shall agree to the plan or project only after having ascertained that it will not adversely affect the integrity of the site concerned and, if appropriate, after having obtained the opinion of the general public.”
The above requirement has been implemented in the Republic of Ireland by the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011-2015 and the Planning and Development Acts 2000-2015, as amended.
In accordance with Regulation 42(7) of the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011, as amended, Irish Water, as a Public Authority, shall determine that an AA of a plan or project is not required where the plan or project is not directly connected with or necessary to the management of the site as a European Site and if it can be determined on the basis of objective scientific information following screening under this Regulation, that the plan or project, individually or in combination with other plans or projects, will not have a significant effect on a European Site.