BMSDC Joint Local Plan - Pre-Submission Reg19 (interactive) 2020

Ended on the 24th December 2020
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12 - Protection and Management of the Environment

Strategic Issues

(1) 12.01 The aims of the Plan are to ensure sustainable development can be achieved, whilst supporting the objective to contribute to protecting and enhancing our natural, built and historic environment. This includes making effective use of land, helping to improve biodiversity, using natural resources prudently, minimising waste and pollution, and mitigating and adapting to climate change, including a low carbon economy NPPF (2019) para 8.

(2) 12.02 To protect and manage the environment the Councils will employ a hierarchical approach of avoidance, mitigation and compensation.

NATURAL AND LOCAL ENVIRONMENT

(1) 12.03 The NPPF advocates that local plans should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment (NPPF para.170). A framework of policies supports this strategic approach:

  1. Environmental Protection
  2. Biodiversity
  3. Landscape
  4. Historic Environment
  5. Change of use of Land

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

12.04 Babergh and Mid Suffolk have a rich and varied natural environment, including rivers and estuaries, open spaces and countryside, but some local resources are under pressure.

(1) 12.05 Environmental protection measure provides a managed policy framework which is adaptable and can respond to pressures through measures such as prevention, management, mitigation or adaptation from flood risk, water resources, land resources, pollution and climate change.

GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE

(1) 12.06 All components of the green infrastructure network must be managed at a strategic level to ensure cross cutting and cumulative issues and impacts are effectively managed at a strategic level. This includes natural components, such as biodiversity, geodiversity and landscape, as well assets within settlements, including historic assets, green spaces and recreational areas.

BIODIVERSITY & GEODIVERSITY

(1) 12.07 Local sites of biodiversity and geodiversity value are identified in this Plan to ensure consideration can be given to the level of protection provided to these local sites – including County Wildlife Sites, County Geodiversity Sites, Local Nature Reserves and priority species and habitats

LANDSCAPE

(1) 12.08 In districts, such as Babergh and Mid Suffolk, future development must be managed to respect the key features and local distinctiveness.

(1) 12.09 Along with Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Sites of Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Conservation Areas, there are also less well known features that makes all landscape character areas significant and worthy of protection. It is important to recognise these elements, in order to balance interests and consider potential impacts in the future, as well as, to identify any further management or guidance which may be required that goes beyond the boundaries of defined designations covered by legislation. Furthermore, in cases where mitigation measures are necessary, it may help inform the type of measures which could be appropriate

12.10 There are approximately 16 identified Landscape Characters within Babergh and Mid Suffolk. Babergh makes a valuable and varied contribution to this, with the Suffolk Coasts and Heaths AONB and Dedham Vale AONB, including the Stour Valley, covering a considerable part of the district. Legislation provides protection and guidance within these areas and both have Management Groups providing a robust framework for management of challenges facing these areas in the future.

THE HISTORIC ENVIRONMENT

12.11 The importance of heritage assets to the historic character and distinctive appearance of both districts should not be underestimated. The historic environment is a precious resource valued by residents, visitors and local businesses, and the attractive historic character of many of the villages and wealth of traditional buildings is the focus of a healthy and growing tourism sector.

12.12 To continue to conserve and enhance the heritage assets throughout the district, for the benefit of all to enjoy. To enrich the quality of life through learning from local historic knowledge and thereby ensure assets are safeguarded for future generations.

CROSS BOUNDARY MITIGATION FOR PROTECTED HABITATS SITES

12.13 Protection for internationally and nationally protected sites is established in legislation. In producing the Plan, consideration can be given to the level of protection to afford to local sites of biodiversity and geodiversity value including County Wildlife Sites, County Geodiversity Sites and priority habitats and species.

12.14 Through previous Habitats Regulations Assessments, there has been recognition of the sensitivity of the internationally protected Habitat Sites and the potential for significant effects arising from increased recreational disturbance related to new housing development. Babergh, Ipswich, Mid Suffolk, Suffolk Coastal and Waveney Councils (now East Suffolk Council) are taking a joined-up approach to mitigating these impacts. For Babergh and Mid Suffolk, these relate to the Stour and Orwell and Deben estuaries. The Councils have produced a Suffolk Coast Recreational disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy (RAMS), which identifies and costs the measures necessary to mitigate recreational and leisure impacts and confirms how they will be funded. The intention of the strategy is to avoid adverse effects on the integrity of the Habitats Sites, in combination with other plans and projects, over the lifetime of the Plan.

12.15 Strategic projects may require joint working by public bodies, to ensure the requirements of the Habitat Regulations are met.

12.16 To the north and north west of the Plan area, there are other internationally designated sites in Mid Suffolk, as well as in neighbouring authorities. Proposals for development will need to consider these designations, particularly where they are identified within the relevant Impact Risk Zones and Protected Habitats Sites Mitigation Zone.

12.17 Development that falls within the Impact Risk Zones for Redgrave & Lopham Fens SAC & Ramsar and Waveney & Lt Ouse Valley Fens SAC will trigger consultation with Natural England.

12.18 The Councils will continue to work with other authorities throughout the Plan period, to ensure that the Protected Habitats Sites Mitigation Zone, strategy and mitigation measures are kept under review in partnership with Natural England and other stakeholders.

(4) 12.19 The Councils are also currently working in a county-wide partnership on a cross-boundary project, to identify wildlife corridor networks. This will be used as baseline data for creating, protecting and enhancing wildlife corridors and to support biodiversity net gain requirements.

12.20 Monitoring of biodiversity net gain will be undertaken annually on a District level, in line with government requirements.

(21) Policy SP09 –Enhancement and Management of the Environment

  1. The Council will require development to support the enhancement and management of the natural and local environment and networks of green infrastructure, including: landscape; biodiversity, geodiversity and the historic environment and historic landscapes through detailed development management policies set out in the Plan, including environmental protection measures, such as biodiversity net gain and sustainable urban drainage systems.

Cross-boundary mitigation of effects on Protected Habitats Sites

  1. Development that creates new dwelling(s) within the identified Protected Habitats Sites Mitigation Zone will be required to make appropriate contributions through legal agreements towards management projects and/or monitoring of visitor pressure and urban effects on Habitats Sites and be compliant with the HRA Recreational disturbance and Avoidance Mitigation Strategy. Development will otherwise need to submit separate evidence of compliance with the Habitats Regulations Assessment regarding predicted impacts upon relevant designated sites.
  2. All development proposals will be required to support and contribute to the Councils' project to maintain, enhance and protect biodiversity net gain, the networks of habitats and green infrastructure.

Climate Change

(2) 12.21 The Plan aims to future proof all development from the impact of climate change, by supporting the transition to a low carbon future in a changing climate, taking full account of flood risk and coastal change is a national core planning principle. This should underpin both plan-making and decision-taking (NPPF Para. 20). The Plan seeks to meet these aims through a combination of Climate Change policies, including issues on sustainable construction, design, energy, flood risk and water management.

12.22 Mitigation means to reduce or delay the impact of climate change, by reducing the flow of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, either by reducing the burning of fossil fuels or enhancing stores that accumulate and store gases such as oceans, forests and soil. Adaption means to adapt life in a changing climate with the goal to reduce our vulnerability to harmful effects of climate change.

12.23 The Plan recognises that both Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils support the County-wide aim for a zero carbon/ carbon neutral future by 2030, and the policies within provide the framework to achieve this aim.

(23) Policy SP10 - Climate Change

  1. The Councils will:
    1. Require all developments to take a proactive approach to mitigate and adapt to climate change, taking into account the long-term implications for flood risk, coastal change, water supply, biodiversity and landscapes and visual impacts, and the risk of extreme winter and summer temperatures; overheating from rising temperatures; Proactive approaches may include sustainable construction techniques that regulate building temperatures, tree planting and shelter in public realms including public transport nodes and stops and biodiversity net gain.
    2. Require a sequential risk-based approach taking into account future-proofing measures for impacts of flooding;
    3. Encourage and promote the principle of Holistic Water Management;
    4. Encourage and support innovative approaches to sustainable design;
    5. Require proactive approaches and identify opportunities to deliver decentralised energy systems powered by a renewable or low carbon source and associated infrastructure, including community-led initiatives.
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