WHAT IS AN AA?
The Appropriate Assessment (AA) process aims at assessing the significance of the impacts of a proposed plan or project (either individually or in combination with other proposals) on Natura 2000 sites designated by the European Union to include Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs).
The AA process is a result of the EU Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive, transposed to Maltese legislation as the Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations (S.L. 549.44) and the Conservation of Wild Birds Regulations (S.L.549.42). These legislations require that an AA is required where a proposed development may give rise to significant effects upon a Natura 2000 site or its protected habitat/species.
The aim of the AA is to assess the proposed project/ plan and its impacts on the integrity of the site in view of its conservation objectives thereby protecting the biodiversity of a country in line with the EU’s Habitats Directive & Birds Directive.
WHERE DOES AIS COME IN?
AIS Environment will guide you through each stage required during an Appropriate Assessment (AA):
Assessment of the planning permit application: Following the submission of a planning permit application to the Planning Authority(PA), Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) are consulted as statutory consultees. They provide feedback to the client on whether a PDS needs to be submitted.
Compilation of the Project Description Statement (PDS): AIS Environment will prepare the PDS document which gives a description of the project and a brief description of the envisaged environmental impacts on noise, air quality, ecology, etc. – this report is prepared by AIS, who in turn will liaise directly with the customer, architects and ERA.
Terms of Reference (ToRs): ERA publishes ToRs that outline the details and technical studies required as part of the AA – AIS will consult with the client and ERA on these ToRs.
Experts: AIS will engage qualified internal & external experts and prepares the methodology to be followed as part of the AA, in consultation with ERA.
Preparation of the AA report: AIS will carry out the assessment on behalf of the client.
Consultations: AIS will consult with ERA to confirm/amend the findings of the AA report. Such consultations may necessitate workshops, meetings, and presentations which are all led by AIS.
Mediterranean Storm-petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus melitensis)