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Sustainability Appraisal & Habitats Regulations Assessment

Sustainability Appraisal

Sustainability Appraisal (SA) is a statutory duty required through the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. The SA process assesses the impacts of plans and policies against a series of sustainability objectives and highlights mitigation measures where practical.

The Council is preparing a new Local Plan for the Borough of St. Helens. A Draft SA Scoping Report has been prepared for the new Local Plan and can be downloaded below.

AECOM have been commissioned by St.Helens Borough Council to undertake a Sustainability Appraisal (SA) and Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) of the Local Plan Preferred Options. These documents and available to view and download below.

An SA report has also been prepared for the Bold Forest Park Area Action Plan (AAP) which forms part of the St. Helens Development Plan and sets out the detailed policies and actions required to develop Bold Forest Park. See the Area Action Plans.

Habitats Regulation Assessment 

Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) is a requirement under the Habitats Directive whereby the impacts of a land use plan are assessed against the objectives for conserving European designated sites. The Core Strategy has been assessed and although there are no such designated sites within the Borough of St. Helens there are several designated sites in surrounding areas that the plan could potentially impact upon.

These sites were identified as:

  • Liverpool Bay SPA
  • Manchester Mosses SAC
  • Martin Mere SPA / RAMSAR Site *
  • Mersey Estuary SPA / RAMSAR Site
  • Mersey Narrows & North Wirral Foreshore pSPA / pRAMSAR Site
  • Ribble And Alt Estuaries SPA / RAMSAR Site
  • Rixton Clay Pits SAC *
  • Sefton Coast SAC *
  • River Dee and Bala Lake SAC
  • Dee Estuary SAC, SPA, RAMSAR and pSPA extension

* screened out following initial assessment

The detailed assessment concluded that certain amendments were required in order to demonstrate that the plan would not contribute significantly to the potential ‘in combination’ effects upon European sites. These amendments, intended to address the issues of water quality/sedimentation and recreational pressure on estuarine/marine sites, were incorporated following the preferred options and include partnership working with Merseyside authorities and the creation of a new post to assess and mitigate against these expected 'in combination' effects to be based at the Merseyside Environmental Advisory Service. The assessment concluded that, subject to the minor amendments now included, the Core Strategy contains policy mechanisms for protecting European sites.

A HRA report has also been prepared for the Bold Forest Park Area Action Plan (AAP) which will form part of the St. Helens Development Plan and set out the detailed policies and actions required to develop Bold Forest Park. See the Area Action Plans.