Essential guidance for the assessment of plans and projects under the UK Habitats Regulations

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Welcome to the Award winning Habitats Regulations Assessment Handbook and accompanying Journal

Aimed at statutory bodies, local authorities, other 'competent authorities', third sector organisations, ecologists, lawyers, planners and project proposers, the Handbook is the one definitive source of detailed guidance that is regularly updated for good practice and monitored by a barrister specialising in environmental law and the Habitats Regulations in particular.




CIEEM announce that David has been awarded the 2022 CIEEM Medal (31st May 2022)


Each year CIEEM’s Governing Board approves the award of the Institute’s highest honour, the CIEEM Medal to a deserving recipient (who may or may not be a member). This year the Board decided that  David Tyldesley FCIEEM FRTPI is an outstanding candidate who is well-deserving of the 2022 CIEEM Medal.  The citation for the award mentions how David is regarded by many as the leading authority on interpretation of one of the primary legislative influences of the last 30 years (the  Habitats Regulations) as well as a wide range of other environmental and planning policy/legislation.  The full announcement can be found here. David will be presented with the medal at the annual CIEEM Awards ceremony in London on 22nd June.

Defra Nature Recovery Green Paper (April 2022)

Following the publication of the Government’s Green Paper on Nature Recovery in March, we have published a free-standing Green Paper Supplement to the HRA Journal, dealing solely with our response to section 3 of the Green Paper ‘Protecting wildlife sites on land and at sea.’ Its sole purpose is to provide an outline and general commentary of the Green Paper’s discussions and proposals, in order to help to inform and encourage readers to respond to the Government’s consultation (closes 11th May). The Journal is usually only available to our subscribers but given the significance of this consultation we are making this supplement publicly avialable. 


We offer our views on the Government’s approach and reasoning for the proposed changes; a summary of the headline proposals in part three; and an analysis of some of the key aspects relating to HRA and their related consultation questions. These are followed by some thought provoking contributions from our subscribers. 

The Supplement has some robust and insightful points to make about a Green Paper whose serious but unsubstantiated and ill-founded criticism of site protection issues in England, and the HRA process in particular, seems to have been met with widespread incredulity and scepticism; and whose proposals, despite assertions to the contrary, are clearly designed to undermine the protection, management and enhancement of nationally and internationally important wildlife sites in the name of ‘nature recovery’.

Training opportunities

Working in partnership with DTA Ecology, we are pleased to announce a series of HRA Masterclasses. Visit the DTA Ecology website website to find out more.


Current subscribers to the Handbook include

  • Natural England
  • Natural Resources Wales
  • Northern Ireland Shared Environment Service
  • Environment Agency
  • Marine Management Organisation
  • The Planning Inspectorate
  • Environment Protection Agency (Ireland)
  • An Bord Pleanala
  • Department Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (Northern Ireland)
  • Local planning authorities
  • Consultants, lawyers and third sector organisations


Click here to find out more about who currently uses the Handbook.


Fully consistent with relevant guidance and case law, it covers all aspects of the assessment process and has been informed by feedback from key stakeholders. The Journal is the only UK periodical in this field to keep you informed. 


Click here to read an independent published user review.

Click here to preview the Handbook content.


DEFRA statement on EU Exit 

The Habitats and Wild Birds Directives – What happens at the end of the transition period?

The legislation transposing the EU Habitats Directive and the Wild Birds Directive has been changed so that they continue to operate effectively from 1st January 2021. This includes the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended) in England and Wales, and the Conservation of Offshore Marine Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended). The changes have been made by the Conservation of Habitats and Species (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. The changes ensure the strict protections afforded to sites, habitats and species, including wild birds, continue. Further information about the changes introduced by the amending regulations will be available on from 1 January 2021. Most of these changes involved transferring functions from the European Commission to the appropriate authorities in England and Wales.

All other processes or terms in the 2017 Regulations remain unchanged and existing guidance is still relevant.
Further support is available from Natural England, the Environment Agency, Forestry Commission or Marine Management Organisation.

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