Appropriate Assessment

The system of "Appropriate Assessment" (AA) in Ireland implements the requirements of Article 6(3) and (4) of the European Commission Habitats Directive. It aims to ensure the protection of the network of European sites (Natura 2000) across Ireland by ensuring that all plans and projects undergo screening by the consenting authority to determine if there is a likelihood of significant effects on these sites. If there is such a likelihood then the plan or project must be assessed in more detail and only approved if it will not adversely affect the integrity of the European site. 

AA applies to a very wide range of plans, projects  and activities in Ireland and the intricacies of terminology, nomenclature and approaches to the assessment are being constantly defined by case law in Ireland and the Court of Justice of the European Union. Therefore it is essential that all public authorities and developers are correctly informed by their consultants and able to perform their functions in compliance with the law.

Scott Cawley have established a unique reputation in this field in Ireland and Europe have, to date, provided a wide range of AA-related consultancy services including preparation of information to support AA Screening (AA Screening Report/Statements), preparation of Natura Impact Statements (for projects) and Natura Impact Reports.

Our experience is unparalleled in this area and includes:

  • Prepared AA screening reports for development applications in all Counties in Republic of Ireland including over 500 screening statements for Section 261a quarries in Counties Meath and Kildare;
  • Prepared Natura Impacts Statements for a wide range of development applications including road, rail, energy, residential, industrial, retail and mixed use developments. ;
  • Carried out AA screening on behalf of public authorities for proposed local areas plans for Counties Fingal, Meath, Kildare and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council;
  • Prepared Natura Impact Reports for County Development Plans for Counties Meath and Clare and variations thereof;
  • Prepared Guidelines on AA for Environmental Protection Agency Inspectors and carried out bespoke training; 
  • Training courses for An Bord Pleanála Inspectors;
  • Training for local authority representatives from Kildare, Dublin City, Meath, Waterford, Monaghan, Louth, Cork City, Fingal and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Councils;
  • Acting as technical reviewers for AA screening of projects for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council; and
  • Acting as technical reviewers for IPC/IED Licence applications for Environmental Protection Agency.

Both Directors have been at the forefront of promoting and sharing AA good practice in Ireland and have also attended and presented at several international workshops on AA. 

They have also organized two notable AA events for practitioners. In 2009, Aebhin Cawley was instrumental in organising the launch of the AA guidelines with Birdwatch Ireland and Institute of Environmental Assessment and Management. In 2015, Paul Scott as a representative of the Irish Section of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, organised an AA practitioners workshop which was attended by over 60 consultants and public authority representatives. Both Directors have participated in all three International Workshops for AA Practitioners in the Czech Republic and Ireland. 

Scott Cawley also partnered with Trinity College and University College Dublin to produce a manual on Integrated Biodiversity Impact Assessment which addresses procedural overlaps of the EIA, SEA and AA systems. 

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