BMSDC Joint Local Plan - Pre-Submission Reg19 (interactive) 2020
15 LOCAL POLICIES – ENVIRONMENT
15.01 The aim of this policy is to ensure that all developments are environmentally sustainable and will seek to prevent and mitigate against adverse environmental impacts and climate change, irrespective of the size of the development. Development proposals must take into account a broad range of environmental issues such as air quality, water consumption and quality, drainage, sewerage, energy, noise, light, waste, contamination, design and building materials.
15.02 Land and air pollution are subject to regulatory controls under Environmental Health Legislation including the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Pollution Prevention Act 1999 and the Environment Act 1995. Applications within an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) and all major planning applications, may be required to submit an air quality impact assessment to assess and quantify the impact on local air quality and to identify appropriate mitigation measures to ensure that development is acceptable on the grounds of air quality. Contributions may also be required towards the cost of air quality mitigation measures.
15.03 Lighting needs to be appropriate for the design and scale of development and location. It is important lighting is designed to illuminate the target only and not detract from the night sky's natural state and thereby avoid light pollution and its associated impact on wildlife.
In line with the National Planning Policy Framework the Plan seeks to protect high quality agricultural land where possible. Whilst in some cases meeting wider objectives will necessitate the loss of agricultural land, particularly considering the relatively limited amount of brownfield land available for development in the Districts, the policy seeks to ensure that loss of agricultural land is a consideration.15.04
15.05 The Plan will encourage proposals that help bring contaminated sites into productive use. Where a site is affected by contamination, responsibility for securing safe development rests with the developer and/or landowner.
15.06 Where it is anticipated that contamination may be present near or on a proposed development area a precautionary approach is essential to ensure there is no unacceptable risk to health, or to the environment or amenity. The applicant will be required to demonstrate by way of adequate site investigation information, prepared by a competent person, that there is no unacceptable risk to health, or the environment and where unacceptable contamination is found there will be a requirement for mitigation/remediation/verification, as agreed with the Councils.
15.07 Where appropriate potentially contaminated land should be investigated and remediated prior to development and/or during construction to a level appropriate to its proposed use. Where mitigation / remediation cannot be satisfactorily achieved development will be refused.
To protect the environment all developments must have regard to the following:
Efficient and Effective Use of Resources/Land
- Development will contribute towards making more efficient use or re-use of existing resources and reducing the lifecycle impact of materials used in construction.
- Development proposals must not prejudice the ability of future allocated sites to come forward by, for example, restricting or blocking access to services such as water, gas, electricity, drainage, the free flow of air, water and daylight.
- Development on previously developed land will be prioritised, where appropriate, to minimise the loss of the best and most versatile agricultural land. where development needs to take place on greenfield land, avoidance of the best and most versatile agriculture land should be prioritised.
Land Contamination and Instability
- Where necessary, development will include measures to remediate land affected by contamination and locate development safely away from any hazardous source.
- Where necessary, development will include measures to address land instability issues where identified.
These measures must be compatible with the relevant National and International Standards.
Pollution and Environmental Amenity
- Prevent, or where not practicable, reduce all forms of possible pollution including, but not limited to; air, land, ground and surface water, odour, noise, light and any other general amenity, including public amenity and visual amenity impacts. This must be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the LPA by the impact assessments where appropriate.
- Amenity impacts are avoided where it is located adjacent to or close to existing uses with the potential to have amenity impacts. This would include an assessment of any identified amenity impacts and how the continued operation of existing use(s) would not be prejudiced.
- Development will be required to comply with the relevant SCC Construction Surface Water Management Plan.
- Development proposals will need to demonstrate it protects and enhances groundwater, surface water features and must not lead to a deterioration in the quality of the environment to help achieve the objectives of the Water Framework Directive.
Policy background and explanation
15.08 The NPPF advocates that local plans should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment by protecting and enhancing sites of biodiversity or geological value and minimising impacts on and providing measurable net gains for biodiversity.
15.09 The level of protection to be afforded to Special Protection Areas (SPAs), Ramsar and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Ramsar sites is set out in the UK Habitats Regulations. To summarise, proposals that would result in significant effects on these sites, either alone or in combination with other plans and projects, should be refused, unless mitigation measures can be applied to avoid adverse effects on site integrity. Only in exceptional circumstances where there are 'imperative reasons of overriding public interest' would development that causes harm to a SPA, SAC or Ramsar sites be permitted.
15.10 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) are protected through the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). The NPPF states that development on land within or outside of an SSSI likely to have an adverse effect on an SSSI should not normally be permitted. An exception should only be made where the public benefits of development clearly outweigh the impacts.
15.11 Priority species and habitats are identified by the UK post-2010 Biodiversity Framework. The NERC Act 2006 requires the Secretary of State to publish a list of habitats and species which are of principal importance for the conservation of biodiversity in England. Known as the Section 41 list, this should be used to guide decision makers in implementing their duty under Section 40 of the NERC act to have regard to the conservation of biodiversity in England when carrying out their normal functions: England Biodiversity Strategy 2020, Biodiversity Net Gain initiative and DEFRA biodiversity Metric Calculator is designed to assess changes to biodiversity value as a result of development or land changes and can be an essential method to ensure net gains are achieved.
15.12 In order to meet the biodiversity net gain initiative, development proposals will be required to meet a minimum of 10% increase or in line with Government requirements.
15.13 At the local level, designations in Babergh and Mid Suffolk comprise of County Wildlife Sites, County Geodiversity Sites/Regionally Important Geological and Geomorphological Sites.
15.14 In producing the Plan consideration can be given to the level of protection to afford to local sites of biodiversity and geodiversity value including Local Nature Reserves, County Wildlife Sites, County Geodiversity Sites and priority habitats and species.
15.15 To create, protect and enhance ecological networks, the NPPF advises that biodiversity should be conserved and enhanced at a landscape-scale.
15.16 The Babergh Green Infrastructure Strategy (2012) identifies potential wildlife corridors (river and green corridors) that would benefit from enhancement. Suffolk Nature Strategy identifies a large area of Babergh and the south of Mid Suffolk as 'South Suffolk ancient woodland clusters' which is one of the areas of principal importance for landscape-scale conservation in Suffolk, along with the two AONBs. Work to deliver an up to date Babergh and Mid Suffolk Joint Green Infrastructure Strategy is to be undertaken.
15.17 Green infrastructure refers to a network of spaces and linkages that are generally valued for their wildlife, geological, landscape or historic importance and may also have recreational value and help reduce flood risk. Although often important in their own right, when considered as a holistic network they provide much greater benefits. Emphasising the importance of green infrastructure creation, protection and enhancement, ensures an improved and healthy environment that is available for present and future communities. These improvements can include reducing vulnerability and increase resilience to extreme weather events and flooding through measures such as SuDs and green roofs for example.
15.18 The Joint Local Plan, therefore, seeks to ensure that all new development secures high standards of design and green infrastructure which creates attractive and sustainable places where people want to live and spend time. Networks of green infrastructure should be provided across new developments linking with existing networks of open space.
15.19 Protection for internationally and nationally protected sites is established in legislation. In producing the Plan consideration can also be given to the level of protection to afford to local sites of biodiversity and geodiversity value including County Wildlife Sites, County Geodiversity Sites, Local Nature Reserves and Priority habitats and species.
15.20 Through previous Habitats Regulations Assessments there has been recognition of the sensitivity of the internationally protected sites and the potential for significant effects arising from increased recreational disturbance related to new housing development.
15.21 Enhancement for biodiversity could include; watercourse improvements (such as along river corridors and undisturbed river banks) to benefit biodiversity and improve water quality, habitat creation, wildlife links (including as part of green or blue infrastructure) and building design which creates wildlife habitat (e.g. green roofs, hedgehog friendly fencing, bird, insect and/or bat boxes) relevant to local conservation priorities.
- All development should follow a hierarchy of seeking firstly to; enhance habitats, avoid impacts, mitigate against harmful impacts, or as a last resort compensate for losses that cannot be avoided or mitigated for. Adherence to the hierarchy should be demonstrated.
- Development should:
- Protect designated and, where known, potentially designated sites. Proposed development which is likely to have an adverse impact upon designated and potential designated sites, or that will result in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable biodiversity or geological features or habitats (such as ancient woodland and veteran/ancient trees) will not be supported.
- Protect and improve sites of geological value and in particular geological sites of international, national and local significance.
- Conserve, restore and contribute to the enhancement of biodiversity and geological conservation interests including priority habitats and species. Enhancement for biodiversity should be commensurate with the scale of development.
- Plan positively for the creation, protection, enhancement and management of local networks of biodiversity with wildlife corridors that connect areas. Where possible, link to existing green infrastructure networks and areas identified by local partnerships for habitat restoration or creation so that these ecological networks will be more resilient to current and future pressures.
- Identify and pursue opportunities for securing measurable net gains, equivalent of a minimum 10% increase, for biodiversity. Where biodiversity assets cannot be retained or enhanced on site, the Councils will support 'biodiversity offsetting' to deliver a net gain in biodiversity off-site in accordance with adopted protocols.
- Apply additional measures to assist with the recovery of species listed on S41 of the NERC Act 2006
- Development which would have an adverse impact on species protected by legislation, or subsequent legislation, will not be permitted unless there is no alternative and the local planning authority is satisfied that suitable measures have been taken to:
- Reduce disturbance to a minimum; and
- Maintain the population identified on site;
- Provide adequate alternative habitats to sustain at least the current levels of population.
- Where appropriate, the local planning authority will use planning obligations and/or planning conditions to achieve appropriate mitigation and/or compensatory measures and to ensure that any potential harm is kept to a minimum.
Policy background and explanation
The landscape and the historic environment have a strong inter-relationship, as the character of the landscape is influenced by its historic environment, as well as traditional villages and historic townscapes. Equally, the landscape can be important to the setting of a historic asset.15.22
15.23 Parts of Babergh lie within the designated landscapes of The Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB, however,all landscape whether designated or not, has its own character, sense of place and local values. These include areas with uninterrupted or panoramic views of surrounding landscapes, landmarks and distinctive field patterns with associated hedges, woodlands and corpse of trees, as well as areas of tranquillity, dark skies and strong rural character.
. These assessments recognises particular characteristics, qualities and features of landscapes to provide an understanding of distinct sense of place and sensitivities to development and change. They will be used as a basis to guide decisions about whether development is appropriate in the landscape and provide a framework for the provision of appropriate landscape mitigation and enhancement.15.24 Landscape character assessments of the area have been carried out and provide information on the different landscape character types of the area
15.25 Where development may be visually prominent or adversely affect landscape character, production of a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment, a strategic landscape masterplan and/or a landscape management plan detailing mitigation proposal may be required.
15.26 The Plan seeks to protect and enhance the landscape, taking account of its natural beauty, characteristics and features of natural, archaeological or historic interest. All new development proposals need to ensure it responds to and reinforces the local distinctiveness of the area in scale, form, design, materials and location.
- To protect and enhance landscape character development must:
- Integrate positively with the existing landscape character of the area and reinforce the local distinctiveness and identity of individual settlements.
- Proposals must be sensitive to their landscape and visual amenity impacts (including on dark skies and tranquil areas); subject to siting, design, lighting, use of materials and colour, along with the associated mitigation measures;
- Enhance and protect landscape character and values and heritage assets such as; locally characteristic landscape features, for example by use of materials which complement the local individual landscape character, archaeological and historic patterns of settlement and land useand designations; being demonstrably informed by local guidance, in particular the Council's Joint Landscape Guidance, the Suffolk Landscape Character Assessment and Settlement Sensitivity Assessment.
- Consider the topographical cumulative impact on landscape sensitivity.
- Where significant landscape or visual impacts are likely to occur, for example for larger development proposals, a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) or Landscape Appraisal should be prepared. This should identify ways of avoiding, reducing and mitigating any adverse effects and opportunities for enhancement.
15.27 Babergh and Mid Suffolk have a diverse landscape character, with parts of Babergh lying within Dedham Vale AONB and the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB. Adjoining the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is an area defined as the Stour Valley Project extending beyond Sudbury and into West Suffolk. The Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB also has a project area which encompasses the Shotley Peninsula These project areas, however, do not currently benefit from the same protection as an AONB.
15.28 The protection of AONB's is not just the land within the designation, but also to its setting. In line with The National Planning Policy Framework great weight is given to conserving and enhancing the landscape and scenic beauty in the AONB and the conservation and enhancement of wildlife and cultural heritage are important considerations.
- The Councils will support development in or near the AONBs that:
- Conserves and enhances the landscape and scenic beauty;
- Integrates positively with the character of the area and reinforces local distinctiveness of the AONB;
- Are sensitive to their landscape and visual impacts (including on dark skies and tranquil areas); subject to siting, design, lighting, use of materials and colour, along with the associated mitigation measures;
- Supports the provision and maintenance of local services and facilities and assets (including affordable housing), so long as it is commensurate with the character and objectives of the AONB;
- Demonstrates special regard to proposals that enhance and protect landscape character and values and heritage assets in the AONB such as; locally characteristic landscape features, for example by use of materials which complement the local individual landscape character, archaeological and historic patterns of settlement and land use and designations.
- Tourism and visitor related development within the AONB will be supported where it reflects the intrinsic quality and respects the character of the AONB and demonstrates the proposal has been informed by all relevant local guidance and the relevant AONB Management Plan which includes the AONB and identified Project Area.
Policy background and explanation
15.29 Babergh and Mid Suffolk have a considerable wealth of historic settlements and buildings which contribute to the area's distinctiveness and make it an attractive place to live and work. The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act, 1990 contains statutory provisions relating to the management of the historic environment however local authorities may develop policies through their local plans. The NPPF advocates that local plans should set out a positive approach to the conservation and enjoyment of the historic environment, including heritage assets most at risk.
15.30 Heritage Assets are defined by the NPPF as 'A building, monument, site, place, area or landscape identified as having a degree of significance meriting consideration in planning decisions, because of its heritage interest'. It includes nationally designated heritage assets, other non-designated heritage assets and sites of potential archaeological interest.
15.31 The designated heritage assets in Babergh and Mid Suffolk comprise of some 7,000 listed buildings, 60 Conservation Areas, 72 Scheduled Ancient Monuments and 7 Registered Parks and Gardens. In addition, there are other buildings and features which make an important contribution to the character and appearance of the area. These may not be of sufficient quality to be designated as a heritage asset but are important in reinforcing a sense of local identify. An Historic Environment Record is maintained by SCC, which includes details of local archaeological sites and finds, historic buildings and historic landscapes.
Some designated heritage assets are known to be at risk through neglect and decay, or vulnerable to becoming so. The authorities will continue to monitor Heritage at Risk and will work with Historic England and other bodies to secure appropriate solutions.15.32
15.33 In exceptional circumstances, permission may be granted for development which would not normally be acceptable in order to secure the long-term future of the designated asset. This is known as 'enabling development' and should only be carried out as a last resort in line with the guidance produced by Historic England.
.15.34 Proposals which physically affect Scheduled Monuments require Scheduled Monument Consents in addition to any planning permission and/or listed building consent required. Applications for Scheduled Monument Consents must be made to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport before any work may be carried out which might affect a monument either above or below ground level. Further information on the application process for Scheduled Monument Consent is available on Historic England's website
- Where an application potentially affects heritage assets, the Councils will:
- Depending on the nature of the works/development proposed, require the applicant to submit a heritage statement that demonstrates:
- The significance of the heritage asset is appropriately understood (statement of significance);
- The potential impacts on the heritage asset's significance, including the contribution made by setting, are understood (impact assessment);
- That the proposal has been fully justified in light of the significance and impact identified above (statement of justification);
- If relevant, that the proposal has considered how preservation in situ of archaeological assets can be achieved through the design of the site;
- An effective conservation strategy, including details of recording, mitigation, repair, preservation, protection and management as appropriate.
- Where development includes (or has the potential to include) heritage assets with archaeological interest, an appropriate desk-based assessment and, where necessary, a field evaluation by a suitably qualified person is required.
- Depending on the nature of the works/development proposed, require the applicant to submit a heritage statement that demonstrates:
- The Councils will support:
- The re-use/ redevelopment of a heritage asset, including Heritage at Risk, where it would represent optimal viable use, including assets in isolated locations, and the proposal preserves the building, its setting and any features which form part of the building's special interest and complies with the relevant policies of the Plan;
- Development proposals that contribute to local distinctiveness, respecting the built form and scale of the heritage asset, through the use of appropriate design and materials;
- Proposals to enhance the environmental performance of heritage assets, where the special characteristics of the heritage asset are safeguarded and a sensitive approach to design and specification ensures that the significance of the asset is not compromised by inappropriate interventions.
- In order to safeguard and enhance the historic environment, harm to heritage assets should be avoided in the first instance. Only where harm cannot be avoided should mitigation be considered. When considering applications where a level of harm is identified to heritage assets (including historic landscapes) the Councils will:
- Have regard (or Special Regard where appropriate) to the historic environment and take account of the contribution any designated or non-designated heritage assets makes to the character of the area and its sense of place. All designated and non-designated heritage assets must be preserved, enhanced or conserved in accordance with statutory tests and their significance, including consideration of any contribution made to that significance by their setting; and
- Have regard to the planning balance whilst considering the extent of harm and significance of the asset in accordance with the relevant national policies.
- Proposals which potentially affect heritage assets should have regard to all relevant Historic England Advice and Guidance.
- Where development is otherwise considered acceptable, planning conditions/obligations will be used to:
- Secure an appropriate programme of archaeological investigation, recording, reporting, archiving, publication, and community involvement; to advance public understanding of the significance of any heritage assets to be lost (wholly or in part); and to make this evidence and any archive generated publicly accessible.
Policy background and explanation
15.35 Proposals to increase or extend residential garden land by the change in use of land can have a significant impact on the environment, especially when there is an impact on best and most versatile agricultural land or there are adverse effects on the landscape character and setting of the locality. The impact of such a change is likely to be unacceptable. Designated constraints, local guidance and supplementary planning documents will provide detailed information and guidance for assessing landscape impacts of such proposal.
15.36 The National Planning Policy Framework is clear economic diversification and a high-quality environment have to be pursued together. Both of which are mutually dependant and supportive and are the essence in achieving sustainable development. This also means diversification of the rural economy should not be at the expense of the environment or productive agricultural land or the best and most versatile land. Any proposals in relation to legislation associated or connected with the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs will be considered proportionately along with the consideration of positive approaches to manage land for agriculture, conservation or recreational purposes. Long-term sustainability of any proposal will need to be considered especially if the proposal is to develop agricultural land. It is often the case once land is developed the restoration of natural habitats or landscape enhancement features is expensive to create.
15.37 The Local Planning Authority will not encourage new industrial development to intrude into the rural environment away from settlements. The operation of industrial development often requires necessary access to materials, support services, markets, clients and labour, which are often not available in rural locations without creating sustainability issues, intensification and cumulative impacts to the rural road/lane networks/highway. Proposals to change the use of agricultural land from existing redundant buildings to recreation, leisure or tourism-based activity may be suitable subject to proportionately balanced assessment of environmental harm and any other appropriate policies that may relevant to such proposal.
15.38 Proposed changes in use arising from the diversification of farm enterprises/businesses may be acceptable providing the proposal does not adversely impact on the social, environmental or economic aspects of the existing farm. In particular, the proposed diversification must not place unreasonable restrictions on the farm that could jeopardize its viability as a result of the development permitted after the farm was established. Equally any proposal must not detrimentally affect neighbouring amenity, proposals must be compatible with the protection of the countryside with regard to landscape, ecology, biodiversity, natural resources and intrinsic recreational value. The proposal must not unreasonably or unnecessary result in the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land or productive agricultural land, the proposal must not create excessive traffic intensification resulting in cumulative impacts or traffic safety issues.
15.39 The Local Planning Authority will expect the use of existing buildings to be considered in the first instance where proposals require the provision of new or more floor space. Any acceptable new buildings must be ancillary to and used solely in connection with the existing farm enterprises/business to meet the operational needs. Condition(s) may be necessary for the Local Planning Authority to apply.
- The change in use of land for equestrian uses or other animal/rural land based uses in the countryside, including the erection of buildings and equipment for equestrian or other animal husbandry/rural land based uses may be permitted subject to:
- There must be clearly established existing functional* need which relates to a full time worker or one who is primarily employed in equestrian or other animal/rural land based uses.
- The location, size and scale of the site must be appropriate and necessary for the proposal in question.
- The site must be sensitively sited to protect the amenity of the locality from an environmental and social perspective.
- The layout, size, scale, design, materials and siting of any proposed building or equipment (including lighting and means of enclosure) must not create serious adverse impact on the natural and local environment or the appearance of the locality. Proposals should re-use existing buildings first where appropriate and any new buildings should be located in or adjacent to an existing group of buildings to have minimal impact within the landscape.
- There being no significant detriment to amenity in terms of noise, odour, light or any other forms of pollution and disturbance.
- The proposal must include a satisfactory scheme for the disposal of waste (if appropriate).
- The proposal must integrate with existing features and respect and enhance the character of the surrounding landscape/area through sensitive integration.
- The proposal must protect and enhance any existing heritage assets and their settings.
- The proposal must not adversely affect or damage any significant trees and hedgerows that contribute to the environmental quality and visual amenity benefits of the rural location;
- The proposal must not create significant detriment to biodiversity, geodiversity or the interlinked surroundings;
- The proposal should not result in the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land and it can be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Local Planning Authority that there are no suitable alternative sites on lower grade land.
- The proposal must not cause any adverse impacts to highways safety.
- Where a new equine or other related animal husbandry/rural land based business use is proposed and residential accommodation is proposed. Proposals must demonstrate a proven essential and necessary need to sufficiently justify new rural residential accommodation in the countryside to the Local Planning Authorities satisfaction. In particular, such proposals will be expected to demonstrate, justify and evidence;
- The essential need for rural residential accommodation is appropriate to be located in the isolated and/or remote and/or detached rural countryside;
- There are no other surrounding building(s) or nearby reasonable residential accommodation to serve the proposal;
- There is permitted temporary accommodation in place for 1 year serving the business and has been the main residence and there are no other permanent residence in association or connection;
- There is a proven essential and necessary need for new residential accommodation to serve the equine or other related animal husbandry/rural land based business;
- There is proportionate, necessary and sound viable business evidence to demonstrate the equine or other related animal husbandry/rural land based business has been in continuous sound viable operation for more than 3 years, and there is a proven sustainable business;
- The finances of the equine or other related animal husbandry/rural land based business are directly in relation to the proven essential and necessary need for new residential accommodation;
- There are no material considerations to prevent new residentialaccommodation in the location proposed.
- The proposal must not cause any adverse impacts to highway safety.
- Where such proposal is considered acceptable, the proposed landscaping and boundary treatments must achieve a rural rather than urban or suburban character. Permitted Development Rights will be removed. The Local Planning Authority may impose planning conditions and planning obligations/legal agreement to make the development acceptable in planning terms.
* *A functional test is necessary to establish whether it is essential for the proper functioning of the enterprise for one or more workers to be readily available at most times. Such a requirement might arise, for example, if workers are needed to be on hand day and night:
(i) in case animals or agricultural processes require essential care at short notice; (ii) to deal quickly with emergencies that could otherwise cause serious loss of crops or products, for example, by frost damage or the failure of automatic systems.
- The change in use of agricultural land to residential garden land or land ancillary to a residential dwelling may be permitted subject to:
- The location, size and scale of the proposal would not have an adverse impact on the landscape characteristics and biodiversity of the locality;
- The proposal would not result in the irreversible loss of best and most versatile agricultural land;
- The site must not intrude into the open countryside, or result in the loss of trees and hedgerows which contribute to the character of the area;
- The site must not threaten designated or Priority Habitats Sites or threaten the viability of farm holdings due to the breaking up of agricultural land;
- The proposal must not be or become unacceptably intrusive through intensification and therefore damaging to the character of the countryside setting or nearby residential setting;
- There must be no significant adverse impact on public rights of way or the areas of urban/rural transition that provides the setting of settlements in the countryside; and
- In all cases the Local Planning Authority will consider the possible cumulative impacts of separate individual changes as a material consideration.
- Where such proposal is considered acceptable, the proposed landscaping and boundary treatments must achieve a rural rather than urban or suburban character. Permitted Development Rights will be removed.
- The Local Planning Authority may impose planning conditions and planning obligations/legal agreement to make the development acceptable in planning terms.
Policy background and explanation
15.41 The National Planning Policy Framework requires that new development can be integrated effectively with existing businesses. Proposals for new agricultural/commercial/business activity and facilities should not place unreasonable restrictions on existing agricultural/commercial/business as a result of the new proposal. Therefore, often to prevent conflicts of uses and impacts to existing agricultural business operation any agricultural diversification proposal must be ancillary/subsidiary component of the main farm enterprise/existing business operation and is to contribute to the continuing viability of the agricultural/rural business as a whole.
15.42 Suitably and sustainable located new buildings for where appropriate ancillary/subsidiary use in connection with existing agricultural/rural business may be favoured where it can be demonstrated that such uses would not create or cause significant levels of traffic, particularly lorries/HGV's on rural roads. The proposal must not adversely impact on character and landscape of the area, ecology and biodiversity; and must not have any significant impacts on any listed buildings, listed building settings, including any existing buildings that may be curtilage listed. All agricultural applications must include environmental protection measures, a Construction Environment Management Plan (CEMP) and demonstrate that relevant guidance for pollution prevention (GPPs – Netregs.org.uk) will be adhered to throughout the development.
15.43 Proposals must ensure the location, design and scale of the proposal does not have a significant adverse effect on the character and appearance of the locality; must not cause any significant amenity impacts; must avoid adverse effects to site integrity to Habitats Sites via reductions in air or water quality; and must not cause any conflict of uses through any impacts on existing rural commercial activity/business. All allocation sites must have a project level HRA if they are within the zone of influence of protected habitats sites. Where relevant, project level Habitat Regulation Assessments (HRA), CEMP (as stipulated above) and lighting design schemes for planning applications will be required.
15.44 It is recognised there has been an increase in intensified farming activity within rural areas, which has seen the increase of large commercial buildings within the countryside. Equally, it is also recognised there is a need to manage effectively agricultural related development within the countryside. To ensure the fine balance between ensuring a prosperous rural economy and ensuring the rural countryside character and environment is maintained, protected and enhanced. Not all locations in the countryside will be considered suitable or sustainable for new buildings and uses due to sustainability objectives of the Plan.
15.45 Proposals for new isolated, remote and detached buildings away from settlements and clustered development will be resisted. Unless it can be justified and evidenced in terms of sustainable development objectives of the Plan.
- There must be appropriate justification and demonstrable evidence for any new proposals which are remote, isolated or detached within the countryside. Not all locations in the countryside will be considered suitable or sustainable for new buildings and/or uses.
- All relevant planning applications will be subject to the following considerations:
- The suitability and sustainability of the location proposed (including access and surrounding road networks)
- The nature of any proposal in the locality and its relationship and impacts with surroundings (including but not limited to landscape, design and amenity, habitats sites and protected species, heritage assets and their settings).
- To be compatible with the purpose, function and relationship to any existing agricultural farm and/or business.
- Proposals within rural areas must provide safe access. It must be demonstrated that such proposal would not cause significant levels of traffic, particularly lorries/HGV's on rural roads.
Policy background and explanation
15.46 The NPPF (Para.148) states that the Plan should help shape places in ways that contribute to radical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, minimise vulnerability and improve resilience.
15.47 The NPPF advocates good design whilst optimising the potential of the site for the use of alternative heat and energy initiatives.
15.48 The Plan supports proposals for sustainable construction and design providing that development proposals are sympathetic to local character and history, including the visual impact upon surrounding built environment and landscape setting.
15.49 The NPPF urges that Local Planning Authorities should recognise the responsibility of all communities to contribute to energy generation from renewable or low carbon sources.
15.50 Whilst the planning system has a role to play in delivering sustainability in buildings, construction methods and the energy performance of buildings are primarily addressed via Building Regulations. Nevertheless, the March 2015 Ministerial Statement enables local planning authorities to require energy efficiency standards that exceed Building Regulations provided these do not exceed the requirements of the Level 4 of the former Code for Sustainable Homes. This equates to around a 20% improvement in CO2 emissions performance above the Target Emission Rate of the 2013 Edition of the 2010 Building Regulations.
15.51 The Plan expects and actively supports developers to explore innovative ways to cut CO2 emissions.
www.gov.uk/government/publications/water-stressed-areas-2013-classification) therefore, the Plan responds to these changes by requiring improvements to water efficiency on new dwellings to achieve the higher water efficiency standard of 110 litres/person/day (compared to 125 litres/person/day under Building Regulations).15.52 Other technical standards to improve sustainability were introduced by the Government in October 2015 through the introduction of optional water efficiency Building Regulation standards. Both the Essex & Suffolk Water and Anglian Water areas are classified as experiencing 'serious' water stress (
Fittings based specifications for 110L/person/day from DCLG Building Regs 2010) (2016 amendments) part G2.
15.53 The Anglian Water and Essex and Suffolk Water regions are particularly vulnerable to impacts of climate change including the potential reduction in summer rainfall, lower available water resources, these factors are all compounded with Eastern England identified as the driest region in the UK. Therefore all new commercial development is expected to give due consideration to water efficiency along with new residential development for the reasons set out in NPPF. In order to future-proof against climate change the Plan will encourage all residential development to achieve 100ltrs per person per day and take advantage of the removal of the fixed element of the zonal charge levied by Anglian Water (at the time of writing - potential saving of up to £740 per plot).
15.54 The NPPF requires all new development to be planned to avoid increased vulnerability to the range of impacts arising from climate change. This includes measures to protect against extreme winter and summer temperatures, flood risk and ensuring adequate water supply.
15.55 BREEAM (the British Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) can be used to assess the environmental performance of new and existing non-residential buildings and refurbished residential buildings. BREEAM measures environmental performance by; energy use and the emissions it generates, water use, materials and waste management, land use and ecology, pollution, health and well-being and transport
- All new development is required to minimise its dependence on fossil fuels and to make the fullest contribution to the mitigation of climate change through adopting a sustainable approach to energy use.
- Where construction may cause potential adverse impacts, measures proposed must include Construction Environment Management Plans (CEMPs).
- All new residential development is required to:
- Achieve reductions in CO2 emissions of 19% below for the Target Emissions Rate of the 2013 Edition of 2010 Building Regulations (Part L) or any subsequent more recent legislation or council policy which would lead to a greater reduction in CO2 emissions';
- Meet the higher water efficiency standards of 110 litres per person per day, as set out in building regulations part G2 (or any subsequent more recent legislation);
- Demonstrate climate change adaptation and mitigation measures by adopting effective design principles (including shading, landscaping, site layout and building orientation); be designed to minimise the energy demand of the building through maximising natural sunlight and ventilation, effectively utilising solar gains and to help buildings respond to winter and summer temperatures and incorporate flood mitigation measures, such as sustainable urban drainage systems;
- Energy efficiency measures (e.g. insulation, air tightness and efficient building services), with a proactive approach to improving on the minimum standards specified in the Building Regulations;
- On-site renewable and other low carbon energy generation (NB: the energy statement should investigate the technical feasibility and financial viability of the options available and the CO2 savings achieved with each to allow the greatest CO2 reduction is selected);
- Development that incorporates a high level of building materials with low embodied carbon will be encouraged; and
- That the risks associated with future climate change have been planned for as part of the layout of the scheme and design of its buildings to ensure its longer-term resilience.
- In meeting the above, all major developments are required to submit a Sustainability Design and Construction Statement that demonstrates how the principles set out in 3c)-3g) will be incorporated into the design of the development.
- Non-residential development of 1,000sqm and above must achieve a minimum of BREEAM 'Very Good' standard or equivalent. Developers will be expected to provide certification evidence of the levels for BREEAM at design stage and on completion of development. All new developments will also be expected to meet the higher water efficiency standards as set out in 2b).
- All residential developments are encouraged to achieve 100 litres per person per day. This is in addition to criterion 3.b in accordance with recommendation from Anglian Water. Water reuse and recycling and rainwater and stormwater harvesting and other suitable measures should be incorporated wherever feasible to reduce demand on mains water supply.'
Policy background and explanation
15.56 Good design is a key aspect of sustainable development and has the potential to maintain and enhance existing environments. It can also have benefits in terms of the health of residents and community safety. The Plan provides a framework to promote high quality, well designed developments, and good quality housing. In order to achieve this aim, applicants should work collaboratively with the Councils at an early stage. In determining applications regard will be given to the 'Suffolk Design Guide for Residential Areas', and any other relevant local design codes and documents endorsed by the Councils, where appropriate.
15.57 In addition, dwellings built to adapt to and accommodate the needs of the occupier over their lifetime can facilitate choice, help meet the needs of an ageing population and improve quality of life.
15.58 The Plan seeks new dwellings to be designed to meet these needs using the Building for Life Standard or other similar design standards or equivalent replacement standards, as appropriate.
- All new development must be of high-quality design, with a clear vision as to the positive contribution the development will make to its context. As appropriate to the scale and nature of the development, proposals must:
- Respond to and safeguard the existing character/context;
- Create character and interest;
- High quality design and architecture with climate change adaptation should be in all development design. Adaptation could include to protect against extreme weather events including heat and excessive rain;
- Be designed for health, amenity, well-being and safety;
- Meet Space Standards; and
- Where relevant and necessary ensure design and amenity accommodates for the ageing population in accordance with M4(2) standards.
- In order to achieve this development proposals shall:
- Respond to the wider townscape/landscapes and safeguarding the historic assets/ environment and natural and built features of merit;
- Be compatible/harmonious with its location and appropriate in terms of scale, mass, form, siting, design, materials, texture and colour in relation to the surrounding area;
- Protect and retain important natural features such as trees or hedgerows during and post construction;
- Create/reinforce a strong design to the public realm incorporating visual signatures (e.g. signage, hard landscaping, public art);
- Include good practice in design incorporating design principles such as active frontages/edges, permeability, strong street composition and connectivity. Schemes of exceptional design and /or development within a sensitive area/ landscape will be required to undertake a design review to test this and adherence to Building for Life Criteria;
- Incorporate high levels of soft landscaping, street trees and public open space that creates, and connects to, green infrastructure and networks;
- Prioritising movement by foot, bicycle and public transport, including linkages to create/contribute to a 'walkable neighbourhood';
- Design-out crime and create an environment for people to feel safe, and has a strong community focus;
- Protect the health and amenity of occupiers and surrounding uses by avoiding development that is overlooking, overbearing, results in a loss of daylight, and/or unacceptable levels of light pollution, noise, vibration, odour, emissions and dust; Including any other amenity issues;
- Provide a reasonable standard of accommodation for future occupants in terms of privacy and adequate facilities such as bin storage (including recycling and re-use bins), secure cycle storage and garden space;
- Where appropriate demonstrate that the design considers the needs of disabled people and an ageing population and follow Dementia-Friendly Design principles
- All developments must also demonstrate that they conform with the design principles in any design documents endorsed by the LPA, Neighbourhood Plans and/or village design statements. Development which fails to maintain and improve the quality and character of the area will not be supported.
Policy background and explanation
15.59 The National Policy Framework (NPPF) proposes that "the planning system should support the transition to a low carbon future in a changing climate. Paragraph 152 of the NPPF states that Local Planning Authorities should support community-led initiatives for renewable and low carbon energy.
15.60 The policy on Energy Sources, Storage and Distribution is aimed at encouraging and facilitating the development of renewable energy in the Babergh and Mid Suffolk Districts. This is in line with national policy stating that planning plays a key role in helping shape places to secure radical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, minimising vulnerability and providing resilience to the impacts of climate change, as well as supporting the delivery of renewable and low carbon energy and associated infrastructure. This is central to the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. The NPPF urges that Local Planning Authorities should recognise the responsibility of all communities to contribute to energy generation from renewable or low carbon sources.
The Plan supports proposals for renewable energy development providing that any identified potential harm on Special Protection Areas, Special Areas of Conservation, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, AONB designations or Local Wildlife Designations can be effectively mitigated.15.61
15.62 The Plan seeks to support proposals for low carbon energy systems especially where networks can be expanded to accommodate new and existing developments over time. Networks could include, for example, specifically designed Combined Heat and Power systems (CHP) linked to district heating networks or utilising existing waste heat from industrial uses/ existing power stations through a district heating network. These types of systems represent a particularly efficient use of energy and should be considered by developers in new proposals.
15.63 The potential for new standalone technologies has not been investigated within the two districts however, there may be interest in developing suitable schemes in the area. The Plan seeks to support proposals which are appropriate in scale, design and location.
- Renewable, decentralised and community energy generating proposals will be supported subject to:
- The impact on (but not limited to) landscape, highway safety, ecology, heritage, residential amenity, drainage, airfield safeguarding and the local community has been fully taken into consideration and where appropriate, effectively mitigated;
- Where renewables are to be incorporated within a development, an integrated approach is taken, using technology that is suitable for the location and designed to maximise operational efficiency without comprising amenity;
- The impact of on and off-site power generation infrastructure (for example over-head wires, cable runs, invertors, control buildings, security fencing and highway access points), is acceptable to the Local Planning Authority;
- The provision of mitigation, enhancement and compensation measures when necessary;
- Approval of connection rights, and capacity in the UK power network, to be demonstrated as part of the planning application (where applicable).
- The local planning authority will use planning obligations attached to planning consents for energy development schemes to ensure the site is restored when energy generation ceases or becomes non-functioning for a period of six months.
- Where proposals for renewable and low carbon energy are located in nature conservation sites, the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or impact on the setting of heritage assets (including conservation areas) or any other designated areas, the applicant must be able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Local Planning Authority that potential harm resultant from development can be effectively mitigated and that there are no alternative sites available within the District. This includes providing underground power lines and cabling.
national guidance on ground water protection and is the relevant statutory environmental body on water matters.15.64 Water is a key resource in the area which has recognised issues. Due to water being imported from elsewhere in the country, there must be effective and reliable water systems in place to reduce any harms associated with droughts, ranging from small scale water inefficiencies to large-scale ones. Water quality is also a recognised issue where plans and strategies are seeking to improve the baseline position. The Environment Agency has published
Government's Water Abstraction Plan (2017), in May 2018, Suffolk was designated as a pilot catchment area for testing innovative approaches to reforming water abstraction. Suffolk's Holistic Management Approach links all aspects of water management to develop new ways of delivering flood alleviation, to provide more reliable water resources for all users and to improve water based ecosystems and water quality.15.65 As part of the
Anglian Water, and Essex & Suffolk Water - the areas are classified as experiencing serious water stress. The relevant authority for liaison with waste water treatment and capacity within the foul sewerage network is Anglian Water. Applicants should refer to these companies for further information and guidance on relevant water network policies and adoption handbooks.15.66 The two operating water companies in Babergh and Mid Suffolk areas are
15.68 In line with Environment Agency guidance further attention should be given to the importance of geomorphological impacts on rivers. Developments which often use hard engineering and culverts along river corridors often lead to a reduction of wildlife value due to an un-natural change in watercourse function which can also lead to flooding. The Environment Agency will therefore only approve an application to culvert a watercourse if there is no reasonably practicable alternative or if the detrimental effects of culverting would be so minor that they would not justify a more costly alternative. In all cases where it is appropriate to do so adequate mitigation must be provided for damage caused. Wherever practical the Environment Agency will seek to have culverted watercourses restored to open channels.
Development will be supported where it:
- Conforms to the principle of Holistic Water Management including the use of appropriate water efficiency and re-use measures, together with surface water drainage which provides community and environmental benefits;
- Considers its impact on water resources and the capacity of water supply infrastructure, taking into account the effects of climate change;
- Demonstrates the applicant has consulted with the relevant authority regarding wastewater treatment and that capacity within the foul sewerage network and receiving water recycling centre is available or can be made available in time to serve the development.
- Separates foul and surface water flows wherever possible.
- Complies with the relevant statutory environmental body policy on culverts.
- The proposal will not result in any adverse effect (either through construction and or operation) on the integrity of the Stour and Orwell SPA and Ramsar and the Suffolk Coast and Heath AONB.
- All proposals must demonstrate Environmental Policies measures and will require a CEMP to be agreed prior commencement
15.69 The National Planning Policy Framework sets out what the planning and flood risk requirements are for local authorities in producing Local Plans and for decision taking on planning applications. Incidents of flooding are expected to increase due to the effects of climate change. The sources of flooding can vary and include rivers and streams, the sea, surface water, groundwater and drainage systems. The Strategic Flood Risk Assessment is a key evidence document to identify and manage flood risk from all sources across the Plan area.
15.70 Whilst neither of the districts have major flood risk areas there is a small section of estuary which is threatened by coastal erosion on the Shotley Peninsular and there are areas across both districts which suffer from localised flooding. Localised flooding is mainly a result of surface water flooding which has potential to be addressed through measures to improve drainage channels.
15.71 The general approach to flood risk is to seek to direct development away from the areas at highest risk or where this is unavoidable, that development is made safe for its lifetime without increasing flood risk elsewhere. Applicants are required to have regard to the relevant Strategic Flood Risk Assessment when proposing development. Where necessary, a site specific flood risk assessment should be carried out. The sequential test set out in national planning policy should be followed.
15.73 The Essex and South Suffolk Shoreline Management Plan 2 (2010) identifies an area in Babergh within which development should be restricted due to pressure from coastal erosion. This relates to the eastern section of Babergh known as the Shotley Peninsula, along the estuary.
Proposals for new development can be approved where:
- The Strategic Flood Risk Assessment, as a starting point, has been used to assess whether the proposal is at risk of flooding and any impact of the proposal on flood risk. Other available flooding evidence should also be considered where it is relevant and/or is more up to date;
- In areas at medium or high risk from flooding, it has been soundly demonstrated that the new development or intensification of development, can be made safe for its lifetime without increasing flooding elsewhere. This includes the 'sequential test'; where needed the 'exception test' and also a site specific flood risk assessment.
- Mitigation is provided against existing and potential flood risks throughout the life of the development (including fluvial, surface, coastal and sewer flooding) through application of a sequential approach to flood risk, the implementation of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), and risks to ground or surface water quality.
- Above ground, appropriate SuDS are incorporated within new developments wherever possible, and take opportunities to provide multifunctional benefits, including biodiversity, landscape, amenity and water quality enhancement.
- Proposals are submitted appropriate to the scale of development detailing how on-site surface water drainage will be managed so as to not cause, or increase flooding elsewhere. This includes the cumulative impact of minor developments.
- Opportunities to provide betterment of greenfield runoff rates to reduce the overall risk of flooding, have been provided wherever possible.
- In circumstances requiring surface water management measures (including rain water harvesting and greywater recycling), adequate mitigation which avoids any risks and/or detrimental impacts are provided to the Lead Local Flood Authority.
- Further details of maintenance and adoption by an appropriate body are provided at application stage.
- There is no site conflict with areas identified as vulnerable to coastal erosion.