Proposed Revisions to Draft Local Plan (Preferred Options)

Comment ID 11420161/1/8408180/-
Document Section 2. Sustainability Appraisal (no name) [View all comments on this section]
Respondent Natural England - Natural England [View all comments by this respondent]
Response Date 17 Mar 2017
Do you consider the document is Legally Compliant?
Do you consider the document is Sound?
On which grounds do you consider the document unsound? (if applicable)

Sustainability Appraisal
Natural England is pleased to note that an SA report has now been produced to site alongside the Local Plan. We have carried out a light-touch review of the document and are generally happy with its contents although we note from Appendix E – Policy Appraisal Matrices that there is still some tying up required between the SA and HRA.
We are pleased to see that the sustainability objective and decision making criteria around biodiversity include enhancement as well as protection. When reviewing the SA Summary given in Table 2 the only comment relevant to our remit about which we have minor concerns is that relating to Policy CC07 – Solar Parks, which are considered to benefit biodiversity. This is certainly true at the macro-scale when considering the environmental impacts of renewable energy more generally but at the local level such parks, particularly the very large ones, sometimes require careful siting so as to avoid impacting on biodiversity at the local level.
If there is still the opportunity to do so Natural England would be very interested in working with your authority to revise the biodiversity indicators set out in Appendix D. Many of those currently included such as ‘population of wild birds’ and ‘condition of Sites of Special Scientific Interest’ are likely to be most strongly influenced by factors other than the Local Plan’s performance. More useful indicators would relate to the effects of the plan itself and most are likely to relate to the outcome of development management decisions.

What changes do you suggest to make the document legally compliant or sound?
Do you consider it necessary to participate at the oral part of the examination? No
Why do you feel it is necessary to participate at the oral part of the examination?
Officer's Response Not yet available.
Proposed Change