Draft Planning Obligations Supplementary Planning Document

Ended on the 19 January 2023
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Natural Environment Mitigation

Obligation

Financial contribution for natural environment mitigation

Criteria

N1. Natural environment mitigation measures will be considered on a site-by-site basis. Where issues are localised and small scale, it is appropriate to deal with them by way of planning conditions. There may be circumstances where schemes require environmental mitigation measures to be included within an S106 agreement.

N2. Natural environment matters which may be included in a Section 106 Agreement include, but are not limited to:

  1. major contamination issues;
  2. biodiversity offsetting and net gain;
  3. ecological mitigation/ remediation;
  4. climate change mitigation, including tree planting and new woodlands;
  5. Essex Coast Recreational Disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy (RAMS);
  6. environmental enhancements;
  7. archaeological investigations, access and interpretation where the site potentially provides significant habitats and wildlife;
  8. repair and re-use of building or other heritage assets where the site potentially provides significant habitats and wildlife.

N3. Further details on some of the above issues are provided below.

Justification

Policy NE01 is clear that (only) when natural environment impacts are not fully mitigated, compensatory measures will be considered. Part 1 of Policy NE01 states that: "The Council will require development proposals to use natural resources prudently and protect and enhance the quality of the natural environment. All proposals should, wherever possible, incorporate measures to secure a net gain in biodiversity, protect and enhance the network of habitats, species and sites (both statutory and non-statutory) and avoid negative impacts on biodiversity and geodiversity. Compensatory measures will only be considered if it is not possible fully to mitigate any impacts."

Policy background

Policy NE01: Protecting and Enhancing the Natural Environment


Obligation

Biodiversity offsetting and biodiversity net gain

Criteria

N4. Guidance on biodiversity net gain will be set out in a forthcoming SPD.

Justification

Policy NE01 part (1) states that "all proposals should, wherever possible, incorporate measures to secure a net gain in biodiversity […] Compensatory measures will only be considered if it is not possible fully to mitigate any impacts."

Biodiversity net gain is now a mandatory requirement from the Environment Act 2021 to deliver the minimum 10% net gain.

The Essex Local Nature Partnership Planning and BNG working group are considering to prepare a guidance on this matter for Essex area. The Council may adopt this work when it is completed.

Policy background

Strategic Policy NE01: Protecting and Enhancing the Natural Environment


Obligation

RAMS

Criteria

N5. Planning obligations will be sought in accordance to Policy NE01 and the Recreational Disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy SPD which provides the scope of RAMS, the legal basis for RAMS and the level of developer contributions being sought for strategic mitigation and how and when applicants should make contributions.

Justification

To comply with the Council's responsibilities to protect habitats and species in accordance with the UK Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.

Policy NE01 part (4) states that "New residential development within the Essex RAMS and Epping Forest SAC Zones of Influence will be required to provide appropriate on-site measures for the avoidance of, and/or reduction in, recreational disturbance on European Designated Sites through the incorporation of recreational opportunities, including the provision of green space and footpaths in the proposals. Proposals will be required to follow the mitigation hierarchy by seeking to avoid creating recreational impacts first and foremost, with mitigation measures considered separately to avoidance."

Policy background

Policy NE01: Protecting and Enhancing the Natural Environment

Recreational Disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy SPD


Obligation

Delivering, or contributing towards air quality

Criteria

N6. Addressing air pollution issues (including exposure) from new and proposed developments should follow the below hierarchy:

  1. Addressing air pollution at the design and construction stage;
  2. Mitigation of residual impacts;
  3. Offsetting air pollution.

N7. When preparing evidence to demonstrate compliance to Policy NE08 part (1) and (2), developers should fully address each step and embed it in their development, before moving on to the next.

Mitigation measures

N8. If, after better design principles have been used, the detailed Air Quality Assessment still indicates that the air pollution levels do not fully satisfy Policy NE08 part (1) and (2), proposals will include how this will be addressed through mitigation measures in how the development is used, operated and maintained. This require the details of mitigation measures to be included in an agreement so that a robust legal mechanism is in place to ensure appropriate mitigation is carried out.

N9. In some cases, this may also require financial payments towards the Council's relevant action plans or sustainable transport measures that would address the cumulative impacts on air quality. Each site will be considered on its own merits.

N10. Mitigation may also be secured via the delivery of air quality monitoring technology, collection and analysis of air quality data, and ongoing maintenance of the equipment.

N11. Where technology is to be located on-site, provision for this will be secured through s106 agreement. This will include the provision of, and maintenance access to, air quality monitoring equipment.

N12. The specific location of air quality monitoring technology will be determined through discussions with the Council's Environmental Health team, and access in perpetuity will be secured through the s106 agreement for monitoring and maintenance purposes.

Off-setting

N13. In some circumstances, it may not be possible to fully mitigate air pollution impacts within the development site, especially for those in sensitive locations; in this case, an offsetting approach can be taken.

N14. The Institute of Air Quality Management provides a methodology to quantify the costs associated with pollutant emissions from transport (See The Land-Use Planning & Development Control: Planning For Air Quality, 2017). The Council will refer to this methodology (or its latest update) as a basis for defining the financial commitment required for the offsetting emission reductions or the contribution provided by the developers as 'planning gain':

  1. Identify the additional trip rates (as trips/annum) generated by the proposed development (as provided in the Transport Assessment);
  2. Assume an average distance travelled of 10 km per trip;
  3. Calculate the additional emissions of NOx and PM10 (kg/ annum), based on
  4. emissions factors in the Emissions Factor Toolkit, and an assumption of an average speed of 50 km/h;
  5. Multiply the calculated emissions by 5, to assume emissions over a 5-year time
  6. frame;
  7. Use the HM Treasury and Defra IGCB damage cost approach to provide a valuation of the excess emissions, using the currently applicable values for each pollutant; and
  8. Sum the NOx and PM10 costs.

N15. This will provide funding for the Council's measures to improve local and wider air quality as well as local communities' environment projects that aim to achieve the same objectives.

Justification

Air quality has a significant role to play in health and wellbeing, with poor air quality contributing towards illness and reduced life expectancy.

Policy NE08 part (4) states that mitigation should be provided on-site unless it can be demonstrated that it is inappropriate, and that off-site provision will deliver equivalent or wider benefits.

Policy background

Strategic Policy NE08: Air Quality

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