Preston Parish Neighbourhood Plan 2018 - 2031 - February 2019
D. Environment Bank Biodiversity Impact Calculator 2015 v2 or as amended
D.1 Determining Planning Applications Affecting Sites of Significant Biodiversity Interest
D.4 When determining planning applications where there is a requirement to conserve and enhance biodiversity the following principles will be applied.
D.5 If significant harm resulting from a development cannot be avoided (by locating on an alternative site with less harmful impacts), adequately mitigated, or, as a last resort, compensated for, then planning permission will be refused.
D.6 Planning permission will be refused for development resulting in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats such as; ancient woodland, traditional orchards, aged, veteran, champion trees, or trees of a high conservation value located outside ancient woodland, unless the need for and benefits of the development in that location clearly outweigh the loss. In this instance substantial compensation consistent with the DEFRA Biodiversity Impact Calculator will be expected.
D.2 Sites of Acknowledged Nature Conservation Value
D.7 Local Wildlife Sites (LWS) are non-statutory designated sites that occur within Preston. There are also many non-designated sites that conform to the definition of Priority Habitat, as defined by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act (NERC) 2006. These are of varying degree of importance for nature conservation and receive varying degrees of protection.
D.8 The Herts Environmental Records Centre hold records of all known sites of nature conservation value in Hertfordshire.
D.9 There are also many known sites of critical importance to species of national and international importance, such as bat roosts. Records of these are held by HERC and/or specialist recording groups.
D.10 The Preston Parish Council (PPC) will consider applications for development affecting any of these sites against criteria commensurate with their relative ecological status and protection within a local, national and international status. Their local context is particularly important. Therefore a particular habitat or species may be nationally frequent but extremely rare locally or nationally scarce and locally frequent. Examples of this include water vole, otter or barbastelle bat. Development affecting any of these sites or species is expected to result in a net gain to their area or populations.
D.3 Networks of Biodiversity and Green Infrastructure
D.11 The protection and enhancement of biodiversity assets is dependent on robust networks of Green Infrastructure (GI) which facilitate movement and genetic exchange.
D.12 GI is expected to positively contribute to the conservation, restoration, re-creation and enhancement of networks of biodiversity on a landscape scale. The size and location of GI is expected to be suitable for the function it is intended to fulfil. Where required, GI should ensure permeability for wildlife through development and provide sufficient beneficial habitat to support target species, independent of its connective function.
D.13 Monitoring of GI and habitat creation to ensure that it develops in accordance with its stated intention will be expected. If it is not achieving satisfactory condition within stipulated timeframes, remedial measures will be required. Mechanisms to achieve this must be outlined in development proposals.
D.14 Buffering of watercourses is important to protect the aquatic environment from pollution and disturbance, and to create movement and habitat corridors for wildlife. Development will not be permitted within 8m of a watercourse.
D.15 Many species are entirely dependent on human habitation for their reproductive success. Modern housing standards virtually eliminate opportunities for these species. Consequently where appropriate, features for biodiversity within development will be expected. Simple inexpensive measures can result in significant gains such as, integrated bat roost cavities, integrated swift or house martin boxes. These measures, if required, are expected to be permanent in order to deliver meaningful ecological gain. Therefore these features will be expected to be built in to suitable structures rather than provided as vulnerable, isolated and temporary boxes.
D.16 Bat populations are particularly sensitive to development that severs or disturbs movement corridors. Where appropriate, flight corridors should be identified and protected or enhanced to ensure the ecological functionality of bat populations. Examples of suitable measures include green bridges, underpasses or tunnels that are situated on the exact traditional routes of bat populations and free from disturbance.
D.4 Ecological Survey Standards
D.17 The provision of quality ecological information is critical in determining the impacts of development and securing meaningful ecological gains. Survey and mitigation measures must therefore conform to the following principles:
D.18 Ecological information must be provided by suitably qualified personnel. Details of qualifications and experience must be provided with all ecological reports.
D.19 Ecological surveys must answer the following questions; what features are present, what is the ecological value of these features, how will these features be affected by the development proposals, how can these impacts be avoided, mitigated or compensated so that there is a net gain to biodiversity.
D.20 Survey methodology and reporting must conform with nationally accepted standards. All surveys and reporting must be conducted in accordance with British Standard 42020: Biodiversity – Code of practice for planning and development.
D.21 In certain circumstances divergence from these standards may be acceptable but this must be agreed with appropriate officers at North Herts District Council before commencement. Unauthorised deviation from these survey standards will not be accepted and may be reported to The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management - CIEEM.
D.22 Appropriate environmental records searches are expected in support of planning applications. When submitting ecological information the PPC expects that records searches, consistent with the rules of the professional body governing ecological consultants (CIEEM), are supplied to enable adequate ecological assessment.
D.23 Where European Protected Species (EPS) mitigation licences are required, answers to the 3 tests of the licence must be supplied for consideration by the PPC. Failure to do so will result in applications being refused as the PPC will be unable to meet its obligations under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010.
D.5 Wildlife And Lighting
D.24 Lighting within and around development is expected to respect the ecological functionality of movement corridors. Certain species of invertebrate and mammal are highly sensitive to inappropriate lighting. In these circumstances surveys are expected to determine where these movement corridors are and measures put forward that demonstrate how these will be protected and enhanced.
D.6 Wildlife And Landscaping
D.25 Landscaping design can have a significant beneficial effect on wildlife. Landscaping schemes will be expected to maximise opportunities for wildlife. The PPC expects the selection of ecologically appropriate species in such schemes, of local provenance where possible.
D.26 Tree planting schemes where the primary purpose is to provide ecological enhancement should look to maximise diversity of species. Species selected should be suitable to the soil conditions and be comprised of appropriate vegetation communities consistent with National Vegetation Classification communities (NVC).
D.27 Naturalistic tree planting should not be in straight lines.
D.28 The establishment and management regimes of naturalistic planting schemes are critical to their success. These must be stipulated in development proposals together with mechanisms to monitor and address any deficiencies in the fulfilment of their stated objective.
The Steering Group are informed that recentre search by the Royal Horticultural Society has shown that mixes are more valuable than single species and accordingly advice to Preston Parish Council is that an appropriate mix of native species should be used.