Appropriate Assessments (AA) and Natura Impact Statements (NIS)
With the increasing amount of wind farm developments in the country, the national planning and development regulations and local authorities have actively revised the requirements in terms of environmental impacts.
The EU Habitats Directive requires an ‘Appropriate Assessment’ (AA) to be carried out where a plan or project is likely to have a significant impact on a Natura 2000 site. Natura 2000 sites include Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs). See more on this in Gael Force’s Resources section on Pre-construction.
Natura Impact Statements are now standard procedure in environmentally sensitive locations and/or on significant wind farm developments. The measure of significance is generally at the discretion of the local planning authority and should be discussed as early as possible, for example in a pre-planning meeting.
On a finer point, the 3rd Amendment to the 2011 Planning and Development Regulations requires that if a Natura Impact Statement is carried out as part of a planning application, then it needs to be declared in the newspaper notice and site notices. A more detailed explanation can be found in the document or by contacting your local planning authority.