Habitat Regulations Assessment

Delivering positive outcomes

Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations (2017) sets out the rules and protection for European designated sites including Special Protection Areas (SPAs), Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and RAMSAR sites. The legislation requires that any plan or project must be considered for the impacts it may have on these protected sites. Projects will go through a screening process and any plans or projects that are expected to impact on a European-designated site are legally required to undergo an appropriate assessment. This is the process known as a ‘Habitat Regulations Assessment’ (HRA).

Some projects that may trigger the requirement for an HRA include housing developments that will increase recreational pressure on protected sites, projects impacting on waterbodies, increased pollution, or projects that may impact species or habitats within the designated sites.

Our location near the south coast by the Solent & Southampton Water SPA has enabled us to work on various projects requiring a Habitat Regulations Assessment and we can lead you through the assessment process to obtain planning permission and keep you progressing on your project.

Simplifying the HRA process

We want to make the Habitat Regulations Assessments process as easy as possible for you. Our approach to successfully completing HRAs is simple:

  • Screening – we offer advice and let you know if you are likely to require an HRA based on the scope of your project or plans
  • Early and continuous consultation with stakeholders such as Natural England and local council authorities
  • Identify and evaluate the significance of likely impacts on any designated sites
  • Design appropriate mitigation to demonstrate how we will avoid any adverse impacts to the designated sites and obtain approval to move forward with the project

Contact us to discuss to discuss your project with one of our senior ecologists now.

Nitrate Neutrality in the Solent

In 2019, all development was halted within the Solent region due to the impact on the internationally-recognised designated sites located along the coast. Excessive nutrient input (primarily nitrogen) caused significant algae growth, known as eutrophication, adversely impacting designated habitats around the Solent.

Based on advice from Natural England, development would result in an increase in wastewater, which could further adversely impact the designated sites. While various stakeholders led by the Partnership for South Hampshire (PfSH) are finding long-term solutions to this problem, all developments that will drain into the Solent must now meet “nitrate neutrality” requirements to obtain planning permission.

Ecosupport can undertake these calculations to determine if the development will result in a positive nitrogen input into the environment and if so, we can recommend nitrogen mitigation solutions and work with the various stakeholders to ensure the development can achieve nitrogen neutrality to obtain planning permission.

Our experience

Ecosupport has successfully completed Habitat Regulations Assessments for multiple projects in the UK including multiple large housing developments. With strong stakeholder connections and expert knowledge, we can get your project moving forward with a positive outcome.

About us

Providing quality ecology services across southern England and beyond since 1999.

At Ecosupport we complete comprehensive ecological reports for Preliminary Ecological Appraisals, Phase I Surveys, BREEAM, NVC Vegetation and Hedgerows and Phase II Surveys for protected species such as bats, reptiles, dormice, GCN, birds and badgers. We work directly with our clients to deliver pragmatic results and can implement any required mitigation or habitat restoration to see through your ecological needs from start to finish. Our large network of ecologists enables us to offer all our services all across the UK.

Ecosupport is SSIP-certified through SMAS Ltd.


Ecosupport - Head Office
K4 Keppel, Daedalus Park
Daedalus Drive, Lee-on-the-Solent
PO13 9FX


01329 832 841

Telephone (International)

+44 1329 832 841