Development Management Policies DPD

Ended on the 30th April 2010
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Environmental Issues

(3) Vision

In five years…

  • New homes are being developed in sustainable locations, all of which meet at least Level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.
  • Initiatives to reduce carbon emissions from new and existing developments are being encouraged.
  • Local, national and international sites of nature conservation importance are protected.

By 2017…

  • Local, national and international sites of nature conservation importance are being increasingly protected and enhanced to improve their biodiversity and wildlife value.
  • Conditions have been created which enables wildlife to thrive in the Roach Valley. The area’s size and layout allow for people and wildlife to utilise the space with minimum conflict.
  • The Coastal Protection Belt continues to be protected from unnecessary development and other potentially detrimental impacts.
  • Later phases of sustainable extensions to the residential envelope are being planned and have begun to be implemented. These strategically located and planned developments are predominantly situated within areas least at risk from flooding.
  • New residential developments are carbon-neutral, meeting Code level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.
  • New non-residential developments are of a sustainable construction, meeting the BREEAM rating of ‘Very Good’ as a minimum. The District’s Eco-Enterprise Centre is a flagship building meeting the BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’ and providing a model for other developments to utilise sustainable, carbon-neutral construction.

By 2025…

  • The protection of Sites of Special Scientific Interest has resulted in improvements to the percentage of which, by area, are in ‘favourable’ or better condition.
  • The proportion of the District’s energy supply from renewable and low carbon sources has been increased.
  • Existing dwellings incorporate renewable energy technologies to reduce their carbon emissions and energy costs.
  • New residential and non-residential developments, as appropriate, obtain a proportion of their energy needs from renewable or low carbon sources produced on-site.
  • New sustainable dwellings that meet the needs of local people of all social groups are in place and integrated into communities.

(3) Objectives

  1. Protect and enhance sites of local, national and international importance and protect the District’s historical and archaeological sites.
  2. Ensure development is directed away from the Coastal Protection Belt.
  3. Ensure development is away from the areas most at risk from flooding, or where this is unavoidable; ensure that appropriate flood mitigation measures are implemented before development ensues.
  4. Work with the Environment Agency to maintain the District’s flood defences.
  5. Reduce the impact of new development on flood risk
  6. Increase air quality and decrease the negative impact on the District’s residents.
  7. Encourage the growth of renewable energy projects and the integration of on-site renewable or low carbon energy technologies for new developments, as appropriate.
  8. Ensure new developments are sustainable in terms of their impact on the environment and resources.
  9. Encourage the remediation of contaminated land to fully utilise the District’s brownfield sites.

(3) Introduction

Many of the environmental issues facing the District are detailed within the emerging Core Strategy, as these are considered to be of critical importance to the future sustainable development of the District. The emerging Core Strategy explores the wide range of environmental challenges and opportunities primarily through the protection and enhancement of the natural environment and reducing the environmental impact of new development.

The emerging Core Strategy goes a long way to delivering the environmental objectives of the District, and the Council’s vision in this regard. The Core Strategy covers the following key environmental issues, including:

  • Local Wildlife Sites (LoWSs);
  • Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs);
  • The Crouch and Roach estuaries;
  • Special Protection Areas (SPAs);
  • Special Areas of Conservation (SAC);
  • Ramsar Sites (Wetlands of International Importance);
  • Historical and archaeological sites;
  • The Coastal Protection Belt;
  • Flood risk;
  • Air Quality Management Areas;
  • Renewable energy (including large and small scale renewable energy projects and on-site renewable and low carbon energy generation);
  • Code for Sustainable Homes;
  • BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method); and
  • Contaminated land.

The Council is committed to improving the biodiversity and wildlife value of the District and to protect and enhance, where appropriate, local, national and international sites of nature conservation importance, including the Coastal Protection Belt. The importance of protecting local historical and archaeological sites is also recognised within the emerging Core Strategy.

Some areas, particularly towards the less populated, rural east of the District are vulnerable to flooding. Flooding is therefore a key environmental issue which is addressed within the Core Strategy. Development will be directed away from areas most at risk of flooding (Flood Zone 2 and 3), as far as practicable, and flood risk will be appraised, managed and reduced in accordance with Planning Policy Statement 25 (PPS25 – Development and Flood Risk).

The emerging Core Strategy also seeks to reduce the impact of new development on the District, for example through requiring the inclusion of sustainable drainage systems (SUDS) to reduce flood risk, the designation of air quality management areas (AQMAs), as appropriate, and encouraging the use of renewable energy technologies. Appropriate sustainable construction standards are required to ensure that schemes are deliverable through compliance with the Code for Sustainable Homes standard for new residential development and BREEAM assessment criteria for new non-residential development.

The remediation of contaminated land is important to ensure the deliverability and full utilisation of previously developed land in the District to meet government guidance and objectives. The emerging Core Strategy therefore encourages the reuse of all brownfield sites including the remediation of contaminated land and the mitigation of potential risks to ensure the appropriate and efficient use of available land within the District. 

This chapter covers more specific issues concerning the protection and enhancement of the local environment. The Crouch and Roach estuaries are ecologically important environs which encompass some of the most sensitive habitats within Rochford District. The national and international importance of the estuaries is detailed within the emerging Core Strategy. The estuaries are therefore significant habitats for wildlife and are a valuable environment of ecological significance, which the Council wants to protect from any undue disturbance that may not have a positive effect. Further information on the constraints surrounding the Crouch and Roach estuaries can be found in the Council’s Strategic Environmental Assessment Baseline Information Profile.

Uses within the Natural Environment

Houseboats

Houseboats which have a permanent mooring are considered to be a form of residential development within the District, because the occupation of such dwellings would require the implementation of infrastructure necessary for permanent occupation, which is associated with traditional permanent housing, including roads, car parks and toilets. This would not only impact on the wildlife and the nature conservation importance of the estuaries, but also undermine the Council’s housing strategy, because the Council promote the development of residential dwellings within sustainable locations with good access to local services and community facilities. Such development would also conflict with the Council’s Green Belt policy. If moorings are located on Green Belt land, then permanent occupation within the sensitive locale of the Crouch and Roach estuaries is unlikely to be considered appropriate.

DM23 Houseboats – Preferred Option

Permanent moorings of houseboats are not normally considered to be appropriate within the Crouch and Roach estuaries, but will be permitted if it can be demonstrated that they will not have a negative impact on the:

  • Conservation or wildlife value of the estuaries which fall within the designated Ramsar site; Special Areas of Conservation; Special Protection Areas or Sites of Special Scientific Interest, or other nature conservation interests;
  • Coastal Protection Belt;
  • Openness and character of the Green Belt;
  • Conservation Areas;
  • Visual amenity of the area;
  • Water and air quality; and
  • Other users of the estuaries.

Permanent moorings, where permitted, should not cause disturbance or pollution to the surrounding environment, and associated infrastructure, should not impact on the appearance of the local area or the objectives of the Green Belt.

DM23 Houseboats – Alternative Option

Option Why is it not preferred?
Houseboats, whether in temporary or permanent occupation will not be permitted within the Crouch and Roach estuaries. This approach is considered too restrictive. The Council want to encourage some leisure use of the area where it would not have a detrimental impact on the environment or nature conservation interests. 

Nature Conservation

Other Important Landscape Features

Existing landscape features such as ponds, hedgerows and tree belts have a vital role to play both in supporting this biodiversity and contributing to the quality and appearance of the local environment. Some important hedgerows are also protected by the Hedgerow Regulations.

The Council will require developers to integrate existing features such as these into development schemes and to provide replacement features, using appropriate native species, in cases where the removal of existing features proves unavoidable. Developers must have regard to the different landscape characters and their differing habitats as defined within the Green Belt chapter and the findings of the Rochford District Historic Environment Characterisation Project (2006).

(6) DM24 Other Important Landscape Features – Preferred Option

When considering proposals for development, it must be shown that the developers have considered the landscape character of the area and findings of the Rochford District Historic Environment Characterisation Project. The Council will protect the following landscape features when considering proposals, which are of importance for fauna and flora from loss or damage:

  1. Hedgerows;
  2. Linear tree belts;
  3. Plantations and woodlands;
  4. Semi-natural grasslands;
  5. Marshes;
  6. Watercourses;
  7. Reservoirs;
  8. Lakes;
  9. Ponds; and
  10. Networks or patterns of other locally important habitats.

Development which would adversely affect, directly or indirectly, the landscape features listed above will only be permitted if it can be proven that the reasons for the development outweigh the need to retain the feature and that mitigating measures can be provided for, which would reinstate the nature conservation value of the features.

Appropriate management of these features will be encouraged through the imposition of conditions on planning permissions where appropriate and/or the completion of a legal agreement to secure the provision of a replacement feature of equivalent value, and to ensure the future management thereof.

DM24 Other Important Landscape Features – Alternative Option

Option Why is it not preferred?
Alternative features are protected. This is considered to be a comprehensive list of important landscape features which the Council want to protect.

(2) Are there any other issues which should be addressed within this chapter?

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