Draft Thanet Local Plan - 2031 - Pre-Submission Publication, Regulation 19

Protection, Conservation and Enhancements of Biodiversity Assets

4.50 Species protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, the Protection of Badgers Act, the Habitats Directive or listed in the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act (Section 41) may be present on sites and would be a material consideration in the assessment of development proposals. Natural England have produced Standing Advice for protected sites and species in relation to planning applications which provide details of the potential existence of protected species, advice on whether survey reports are required, guidance on the survey requirements for protected species and advice on mitigation proposals. Developers should have regard to this advice as appropriate.

4.51 The open countryside within Thanet is known to support a number of important species as is recognised in the international and national designations. In addition, Thanet is also important for farmland birds due to its large areas of farmed countryside. Farmland birds have declined over the last few decades and so it is important to ensure that remaining populations are protected and allowed to increase. The Green Wedges which are a largely arable landscape, provide a dispersal route for migratory bird species which are present on the coast, especially during the winter season. Changing farming practices within the Green Wedges would help to increase populations of farmland and migratory birds by enabling more ecologically diverse habitat to be created.

4.52 The following policy seeks to protect, maintain and enhance biodiversity and wildlife, by recognising that important species should be protected and requires this to be considered in determining planning applications for development.



SP27 - Biodiversity and Geodiversity Assets

Development proposals will, where possible, be required to make a positive contribution to the conservation, enhancement and management of biodiversity and geodiversity assets through the following measures:

  1. the restoration / enhancement of existing habitats,
  2. the creation of wildlife habitats where appropriate, by including opportunities for increasing biodiversity in the design of new development
  3. the creation of linkages between sites to create local and regional ecological networks,
  4. the enhancement of significant features of nature conservation value on development sites.

On sites where important biodiversity assets, including protected species and habitats including SPA functional land, or other notable species, may be present, an ecological assessment will be required to assess the impact of the proposed development on the relevant species or habitats. Planning permission will not be granted for development if it results in significant harm to biodiversity and geodiversity assets, which cannot be adequately mitigated or as a last resort compensated for, to the satisfaction of the appropriate authority.



4.53 The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 places a duty on public authorities to conserve biodiversity. The Council has been working with the Kent Nature Partnership to identify Biodiversity Opportunity Areas (BOAs) within the district in response to those priority habitats and species identified through the Kent Biodiversity Action Plan.

4.54 The Biodiversity Opportunity Areas identify where the maximum biodiversity benefits can be achieved and the greatest gains can be made from habitat enhancement, restoration and recreation. These areas offer the best opportunities for establishing large habitat areas and/or networks or wildlife habitats. Thanet has two BOAs:

  • Thanet Cliffs and Shore - covers the majority of the internationally and nationally designated coastal habitats, extending through Thanet as far as Whitstable.
  • Lower Stour Wetlands - The Lower Stour wetlands extend from the mouth of the old Wantsum channel across reclaimed marshland to the former mouth of the river Stour, and then continue around the coast to the Sandwich mudflats and sand dunes and the Lydden Valley.

4.55 As well as these identified sites, there is potential for habitat creation and enhancement in the Green Wedges, and sites designated for nature conservation. The Council will work with landowners, developers and other appropriate organisations to improve the opportunity for biodiversity. Developments should take into account their contribution to wildlife and seek to improve habitat connectivity in the wider area where appropriate through suitable landscaping schemes and new provision which can help to address the issues associated with the impact of climate change.

4.56 The following policy aims to meet the strategic objective of protecting, maintaining and enhancing biodiversity.

Policy SP28 - Biodiversity Opportunity Areas

The Council will support proposals that enhance, maintain and protect the identified Biodiversity Opportunities Areas, particularly where proposals increase the biodiversity value of the site.