How Conservation Impinges on Planning

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Information about How Conservation Impinges on Planning

Published on March 12, 2014

Author: nettyharley


What’s good for the goose? Ecology and Planning in Havant Borough Tristan Norton Senior Ecologist Hampshire County Council Ecology Team 01962 832335

M. Fluck Contents • How does Havant BC receive ecology advice? • Role of HCC Ecology Team • Legislation and Policy • Ecology within planning • Case Study – Brent geese • Legislation • Implications for planning • Wildfowl and development

Role of HCC Ecology Team Provide ecological advice to: • Districts (though not all) - £££ • HCC Highways • Major/minor schemes • HCC Property Services • E.g. schools, care homes, sports • County Planning • E.g. minerals & waste, watercourses

In a planning context, ‘ecology’ has a restricted scope… • Legally-protected species e.g. European Protected Species, WACA • Designated sites and their features e.g. Natura2000, SSSI • Listed species and habitats e.g. Section 41 NERC Act Priorities • Predominantly site/species-based (lists), but duty to ‘have regard’ to wider biodiversity issues e.g. under NERC Act • NPPF and Biodiversity 2020 – ecological networks M. Fluck

We no longer have capacity to provide: • General biodiversity advice - E.g. BAPs • Land management advice Our current role is restricted only to planning advice. Spending cuts have bitten… …more to come.

UK Policy National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) • Presumption in favour of ‘sustainable development’ • Except where ‘specific policies’ in place e.g. Hab/Birds Directive etc. • Promotes move from ‘no net-loss’ to ‘gain’ in biodiversity • Generally seen as positive for ecology, but…

Planning Applications • Screened by the Local Planning Authority – Biodiversity Checklist • Do any require ecology input? • We use HBIC data, applicant’s information + own knowledge • Provide opinion detailing likely ecological impact • Submitted information OK? If not, what needs doing? • Continual process – pre-app through to condition discharge

Designated sites… •Local – SINC – LNR •National – SSSI – NNR •International – SPA – SAC – Ramsar NOT FOR PUBLIC USE

Protected Species Bats Water Vole From HBIC and applications Site visits rare NOT FOR PUBLIC USE

Waders & Brent Geese Gradation of sites – Important – No Recorded Use – Uncertain (issues!) Based on 2002 and 2010 Studies Data Limitations… Significant issue for planning NOT FOR PUBLIC USE

EU Legislation Birds Directive (Council Directive 2009/147/EC) Habitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC) • ID and classify network of Special Protection Areas (SPA) and Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) = Natura 2000 network • To protect rare, vulnerable, regularly migratory, wetland species • Maintain populations of all wild bird species across their range • Protect characteristic habitats at the EU-scale

Dark-bellied brent goose Branta bernicla bernicla • Occur in internationally-important numbers in HBC (and wider Solent) • Present between October and March • Utilise coastal flats – eel grass beds – plus inland grass and arable • Occurrence dependent upon e.g. cropping or cutting regime • A complex dilemma for planning authority Hampshire Wildlife Trust M. Fluck

• Multi-year study into the impacts of recreational disturbance on wintering waterbirds in the wider Solent ecosystem • Disturbance to birds is a current issue throughout Solent • Disturbance affects survival rates of several bird species • Current disturbance levels contravene EU Directives – Natural England state default objection to increase in residential development within 5.7km of any SPA – LPAs must adopt SDMP recommendations • Impacts to geese are equivalent to impacts on SPA Solent Disturbance & Mitigation Project - SDMP

SDMP implications…

• Increased pressure on overwintering birds • Spatially and temporally shifting resource • Strategic, county-wide network of sites for overwintering waders and wildfowl? • Core permanent refuges + wide range of additional sites? • Intelligent use of real-time data to inform land management practises? The future? Ruth Livingstone

Summary… • Havant Borough is blessed with an amazing diversity of wildlife – internationally- important coastal bird assemblages • The planning system provides one route for the protection and enhancement of that heritage • Robust system of planning policy and wildlife legislation • Ecology need not be a block to development – timing is key • A county-wide strategic approach is required…if we are serious about conserving out natural heritage

Thank you for listening… M. Fluck

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