The 1995 Environment Act requires us to consider nature conservation as part of our regulatory role. This includes assessing the aerial impact of pollutants on nature conservation sites.
What we do
We carry out a staged screening process based on best available information to assess the impacts of installations.
The first step is to check whether there are any conservation sites within specified distances from the installation. The predicted process contribution and predicted environmental concentration resulting from regulated installations are then compared with thresholds expressed as percentages of Air Quality Standards, critical levels and critical loads.
Sites of international importance
The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, also known as the Habitats Regulations, covers sites of European importance (Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas). The Habitats Regulations require us to screen any application for a permit for potential effects on the ecological integrity of a European site both alone and in combination with other relevant sources.
Sites of national importance
The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 covers Sites of Special Scientific Interest SSSIs). The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 added further responsibilities for us. We are required to assess any permit application for an installation that is likely to damage a SSSI site.