Wetland and reedbeds at Port Allan on the River Tay near Errol. Tayside and Clackmannanshire Area. ©Lorne Gill. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.nature.scot

Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA): Help and advice

Tools and guidance can help you to understand both the legal basis of Habitats Regulations Appraisal and its practical application.

Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA) differs from Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). Some of the terms used in all three procedures seem similar in meaning, but their steps, tests and application are very different, so it is crucial to understand the differences between them.

Useful tools

You can use SiteLink to find details of the qualifying interests and conservation objectives for any of Scotland’s:

The Natura 2000 Network Viewer is an interactive map of the EU showing the location of all Natura sites, plus useful related information.


Guidance Note: The handling of mitigation in Habitats Regulations Appraisal - the People Over Wind CJEU judgement.

Read our Natura Casework Guidance

View our advice for planners and developers on protected areas.

Read a brief summary of the HRA process and hints for practitioners in our Natura sites and Habitats Regulations leaflet.

Some key concepts are clearly explained in the Managing Natura 2000 Sites: The provisions of Article 6 and the ‘Habitats’ Directive 92/43/EEC.

Scottish Government policy on planning in relation to Natura and Ramsar sites is clarified by paragraphs 207 to 211 of the Scottish Planning Policy 2014.

Read specific HRA guidance for plan-making bodies in Habitats Regulations Appraisal of Plans: Guidance for Plan-making Bodies in Scotland.

The Scottish Government guidance on HRA and the planning system includes Planning Series Circular 6/2013: Development Planning.

Other useful guidance:

Relevant legal cases

These cases may help you to correctly interpret HRA legislation:

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