SPA and/or Ramsar sites

Where there is the potential for significant effects in respect of SPAs and/or Ramsar site(s), proportionate survey effort is usually required to establish the likelihood of impacts on the integrity of qualifying features. These surveys will often be in addition to surveys for breeding birds, which may be required to determine the value of the breeding bird assemblage of the survey area, in order to inform an impact assessment.   

As a SPA or Ramsar site may have qualifying features that are individual species or assemblages and, may apply to the breeding, non-breeding or passage seasons, surveys required to inform a HRA would need to be carefully targeted and planned accordingly. Furthermore, land outside a SPA/Ramsar site can nevertheless be ‘functionally linked’ to the designation and so surveys may need to extend substantially beyond the designated site boundary (e.g. passage and over-wintering pink-footed geese foraging on farmland near SPA/Ramsar site).