The Environmental Protection Agency has recently launched an Appropriate Assessment GeoTool application to help with the data gathering process of Stage 1 and Stage 2 Appropriate Assessment (AA). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) have worked together to develop the AA GeoTool.
An appropriate assessment (AA) is an assessment of the potential adverse effects of a plan or project (in combination with other plans or projects) on Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas. These sites are protected by National and European Law.
The AA GeoTool uses data directly from a web service provided by the NPWS. The data is current and the assessments are based on the most up-to-date information available.
The AA GeoTool allows the user to select a point on the map and then search for SACs and SPAs within a defined distance/ upstream/ downstream of the point. The distance selected by the user is dependent on the level of potential environmental impact from a plan or project. The information gathered for each European Site located within the selected distance range includes the following:
- site type, e.g., SAC or SPA
- unique site code for the site
- site name
- distance of the site from the users selected starting point
- search direction selected by user
- list of qualifying interests for each site
- Url link to the conservation objectives for each site
The requirement for "Appropriate Assessment" is set out in Articles 6(3) and 6(4) of the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC). The Habitats Directive is transposed into Irish law by the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 as amended (hereafter referred to as the Habitats Regulations).
The AA GeoTool can be found at the following link: http://www.epa.ie/terminalfour/AppropAssess/index.jsp
McCarthy Keville O’Sullivan’s ecology team provide Appropriate Assessment services in the form of Stage 1 Screening Reports, or through the preparation of Natura Impact Statements to inform a Stage 2 Appropriate Assessment. Contact Pat Roberts or John Hynes in our Galway office on 091 735611 for further information.