The “Habitat Regulations” (‘Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017’) interpret the EC Habitats Directive 1992 into British law. This requires that plans and projects can only be permitted having ascertained that there will be no adverse effect on the integrity of sites designated (or proposed to be designated) as being of international wildlife importance. These are known as Natura 2000 (or European sites).

Rother District Council has undertaken a Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA) that considers both the its emerging Development and Site Allocations Local Plan and Neighbourhood Plans in preparation in the district. This covers all European sites within the locality of Rother, including the Pevensey Levels SAC and Ramsar Site, the Dungeness Complex of designated sites and the Hastings Cliffs SAC.

The HRA is published and available to download below.

This HRA, dated September 2018, concludes that these Plans are not likely to result in significant adverse effects on the integrity of the European sites, subject to certain mitigation measures in appropriate circumstances, notably in relation to developments in the hydrological catchment of the Pevensey Levels and developments towards the south-eastern end of the district which may generate further recreational pressure on the Dungeness Complex of Natura 2000 sites. The Proposed Submission Development and Sites Allocations Local Plan will ensure that appropriate policies are in place to ensure that developments will not have adverse effects on the integrity of the relevant sites.

This HRA Report has been accepted by Natural England.

This HRA supersedes the Council’s ‘Habitat regulations Assessment – Interim Approach’ published in May 2018.

Additionally, an HRA Addendum has been produced alongside the Modifications to the Proposed Submission DasA Local Plan. This Addendum does not recap the methodology of the HRA or the results of either the likely significant effects test or appropriate assessment for the submitted DaSA, including the ‘in combination’ assessment. Instead it focusses specifically on whether the Main Modifications will result in likely significant effects on any European sites.

Sustainable Access and Recreation Management Strategy (SARMS)

This document has been produced jointly for Rother and Folkestone & Hythe District Councils.

The need to prepare a “sustainable access strategy” for the Natura 2000 sites that straddle the two Councils’ areas was identified within the respective Local Plan Core Strategies and supporting Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA). The Dungeness Complex of ‘Natura 2000’ sites comprises three overlapping international designations – the Dungeness, Romney Marsh and Rye Bay Special Protection Area (SPA) and Ramsar site, and the Dungeness Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

The draft strategy addresses recreational pressure and provides a strategic, cross-boundary approach to issues relating to disturbance, to ensure that any increases in access and recreational usage resulting from the planning policies of either Council do not adversely impact on the integrity of these internationally important wildlife sites, and proposes supporting actions to ensure sensitive management of recreation and access for the Dungeness complex of sites.

The draft strategy comprises a main report and 4 supporting documents, available to download below:

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