We have responded to increasing demand for a one-stop source of guidance on the interpretation and application of the Habitats Regulations in the UK.

Sundew on peatland habitat at Hartland Moor, in the Dorest Heaths SAC


We have produced an updatable ‘Handbook’, available on line and in hard copy on a subscription basis, to provide you with the most comprehensive source of guidance on the assessment of plans and projects under the Habitats Regulations (click here to view the contents page). The Handbook has been produced to reflect the findings of the Defra review of the implementation of the Habitats and Birds Directives that:

  • the proliferation of guidance from multiple bodies spread across many different organisations’ websites has resulted in problems with awareness and accessibility;
  • current guidance has evolved piecemeal over many years raising issues over consistency and accuracy,
  • a number of stakeholders identified gaps in current guidance which need to be addressed.

The Handbook has been produced to supplement the anticipated Defra over-arching guidance, aimed at practitioners, to provide a single comprehensive one-stop-shop approach to facilitate consistent interpretation and implementation. Importantly, the Handbook will be regularly updated, taking account of feedback from subscribers, and can be relied upon to provide ongoing reassurance that your approach is consistent with emerging case law, government policy, and good practice.


To preview the online Handbook contents please visit our preview page.

At least twice a year subscribers to the Handbook will receive a unique publication – the Habitats Regulations Journal - which will keep you up-to-date and provide you with interesting and informative articles that will ensure you continue to apply the Habitats Regulations with confidence.


The Handbook has been produced to reflect the findings of the Defra review of the implementation of the Habitats and Birds Directives

" David Tyldesley & Associates have a long experience of involvement in the application of the Habitats Regulations Assessment process and this product usefully draws together the current state of collective understanding"

Janette Ward (Director Regulation, Natural England)



"Accessible, up to date and expertly written - this is a very useful source of guidance for competent authorities and others involved in assessing both projects and plans"

Adam Cole-King (Senior International Sites Adviser, Natural Resources Wales)



"This HRA Handbook brings a 20th century piece of legislation into the 21st century for everyone to understand"

Craig Rockliffe (Permitting and Conservation Team Leader, Environment Agency)


"This Handbook provides a useful guide to HRA application and case law in English territorial waters" 

Lisa Chilton (Head of Offshore Industries Advice, Joint Nature Conservation Committee)


"The MMO is committed to enabling sustainable growth in making decisions about developoments at sea. We use the HRA Handbook to gain an overview of case law and help ensure consistency in our decision making"

Dickon Howell (Head of Licensing, Marine Management Organisation)


"A timely and much needed publication from the recognised and respected HRA experts" 

Wyn Jones (Convenor of the Nature Conservation Working Group for the UK Environmental Law Association)


"We welcome this detailed guidance and informed discussion on what is a critically important and often complex area of European conservation legislation" 

John Box (CEnv FCIEEM) (President of the Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management)


The Handbook content has been updated to take account of all recent judgments in the CJEU and the EU Exit amendment Regulations (4 January 2021). 


We have advised the CIEEM In Practice editor that the approach described in the recent article on ‘A novel approach to quantify and mitigate for biodiversity loss caused by Nitrogen deposition’ is inappropriate.  We believe that what is described as mitigation – offsite buffer area for habitat creation and improvement – is actually compensation for the harm to the habitats in the designated SAC.  We advise that this approach should not be adopted without taking legal advice and consulting Natural England HRA and air quality specialists (12th January 2021).