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Stages of Appropriate Assessment

To view the Final Assessments please select Final North Solent SMP and select the relevant appendix and annex

The method of assessment for an AA is a process which includes the 'appropriate assessment' but also information gathering and consultations with relevant authorities and nature conservation organisations; this process is summarized in Figure 1. The process has been broken down into a series of stages which are outlined below and summarized in Figure 2.

  • Screening

The main objectives of this first stage are to assess the likely significant impact of the SMP on the integrity of a European site and to scope out the method and level of detail for the AA. Firstly it must be established if the SMP is directly connected with or necessary to the management of the site through consultation with NE. During this stage information on other strategic documents and major developments is collected to assess the significant effects of the SMP 'in- combination' with other strategic documents and major developments. In addition the conservation features and objectives for the European sites within and near the SMP area are collected.

  • Appropriate Assessment

This stage is also called the 'appropriate assessment' and is the main stage of the whole AA process. Its objective is to assess whether the policy options, alone or in combination with each other and other plans and projects, would have an adverse effect on the site features and conservation objectives of a European site. In addition mitigation measures need to be assessed during this stage to avoid adverse impacts on the site.

  • Assessment of Alternative Solutions

This stage examines alternative ways of implementing the SMP to avoid any adverse impacts of the integrity of a European site this may involve changing the SMP policy options.

  • Imperative Reasons of Overriding Public Interest and Compensatory Measures

This is the last stage in the AA process and is only reached if the assessment of the SMP results in negative impacts to the integrity of a European site and no alternative solutions exit. This stage will examine if there is a need to implement the policy in the interest of imperative reasons of overriding public interest (IROPI). Where the policy is agreed for IROPI then compensation measures will need to be put in place to ensure the overall coherence of the Natura 2000 network is protected.