The council has declared a Climate Emergency and has set an ambition for the wider district to become carbon neutral by 2030. A high quality natural environment is a key contributor to sustainable development and can support a wide range of biodiversity and contributes to human health and wellbeing.
Access to the countryside / areas of green space, and particularly those within walking distance of residential neighbourhoods and settlements, have become increasingly important during the pandemic when people have sought opportunities for exercise and recreation closer to home. The value of access to the countryside and green space has increased greatly for much of the population and has been linked to good physical and mental health.
Why is it important for our Local Plan to deal with this?
The Local Plan has a key role to play in resolving the many competing demands made on the natural environment and biodiversity and ensure any unavoidable impact caused by development is mitigated on site, or offset as a last resort, or where local conditions indicate that this would be the most beneficial approach.
The Environment Act 2021 also emphasises the importance of nature in the drive to tackle climate change and sets clear statutory targets for the recovery of the natural world in four priority areas: air quality, biodiversity, water and waste and includes an important new target to reverse the decline in species abundance by the end of 2030.
The Local Plan has a key role to play in achieving these aims for the natural environment and biodiversity. It is responsible for allocating the sites needed to provide the housing, employment and other requirements of the district up until 2039. It can ensure that new development is focused on sustainable areas using a brownfield land first approach and through policies which ensure that all aspects of the natural environment and biodiversity are protected and enhanced
What evidence have we commissioned?
The contents of this topic has been informed by the following documents:
All documents can be viewed in the Local Plan library.
- Landscape Character Assessment 2022 - Main Document
- Landscape Character Assessment 2022 - Appendices
- Review of the Need for Nutrient Neutral Development in the Budds Farm Wastewater Treatment Works catchment (June 2020)
- HCC Air quality framework
- Biodiversity Action Plan
- Habitats Regulation Assessment September 2022 *
Biodiversity and Natural Environment Topic
Please find a link to the Biodiversity and Natural Environment topic here. (pdf, 2.8mb)
The full Regulation 18 draft Local Plan can be viewed in the box below.
Regulation 18 Consultation Plan (full document)
Please find the link to the Regulation 18 draft Local Plan (pdf, 24.7mb)