The EU Habitats Directive and UK Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 distinguish between ‘activities’ and developments that require some sort of specific statutory consent, authorisation, licence or permission from a competent authority before they are allowed to proceed. Such developments are known as plans and/or projects.
When such plans and projects occur within or have the potential to affect the SAC, they are required to undergo a formal Habitats Regulation Assessment. This is a formal step-wise process that should ensure that any effects to the SAC are considered, and that plans and projects only get the go ahead if they will not have an adverse effect on site integrity, and will not result in deterioration of SAC habitats or significant disturbance of SAC species. Under certain specified conditions, plans and projects with adverse effects on site integrity can go ahead provided that those effects are compensated through other measures.
There are many plans and projects within the Pembrokeshire Marine SAC, particularly in the busy commercial part of the Milford Haven Waterway. Examples range from maintaining sea defences, through to navigational dredging and larger development projects such as oil and gas terminals, power stations and tidal energy installations. These assessments are a routine part of a competent authorities’ role in complying with the Habitats Directive. They are all the more important, because it is recognised that, in Pembrokeshire, plans and projects have perhaps the biggest collective impact on the SAC’s features.
The Pembrokeshire Marine SAC Relevant Authorities Group are working hard to build a better understanding of the collective impacts of plans and projects. To aid this, an online plans and projects inventory has been constructed for the site. By following the link below, you will be taken directly to the plans and projects layers held within the Wales Activity Mapping (WAM) project.
All information held on the plans and projects layers is publicly accessible. No confidential information is included. The information has been compiled in order to act as a useful inventory. Not only does it make clear the array and complexity of various consents and permissions, but it should enable managing authorities and developers to deal more easily with in-combination assessments as part of any Habitats Regulations Assessment.