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Special Protection Areas

Volume 451: debated on Tuesday 7 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to issue (a) a planning circular and (b) guidance in relation to Special Protection Areas. (94611)

In August 2005, the Government published Planning Policy Statement 9 (PPS9) “Biodiversity and Geological Conservation” together with a joint ODPM/Defra Circular “Biodiversity and Geological Conservation—Statutory obligations and their impact within the planning system” (ODPM 06/2005). A guide to good practice to accompany PPS9 was published in March 2006. Circular 06/2005 contains extensive administrative guidance on the application of the law relating to planning and nature conservation. It includes specific guidance on the procedures to be followed when considering plans and projects in and around internationally designated sites such as Special Protection Areas.

In addition in August 2006 my Department published a consultation paper “Planning for the Protection of European Sites: Appropriate Assessment—Guidance for Regional Spatial Strategies and Local Development Documents”. The final version of this guidance will accompany Schedule 1 of the amending Habitats Regulations due to come into force in February 2007. The amending regulations insert the requirement to carry out Appropriate Assessment (AA) of land use plans to ensure the protection of the integrity of European sites such as Special Protection Areas as part of the planning process at a regional and local level.

The Government currently have no plans to issue further guidance or circulars on these matters.