Histon and Impington - Designation of Neighbourhood Area (July 2014)

Representation ID: 164843

Received: 11/07/2014

Respondent: Natural England

Representation Summary:

Natural England is a stautory consultee in neighbourhood planning. Must be consulted where proposals likely to affect a SSSI or 20hectares or more of best most versatile agricultural land. Also consult on Strategic Environmental Assessments.

General advice offered on following subjects with relevant web links
Protected landscapes; Protected species; Local Wildlife Sites; Best Most Versatile Agricultural Land; and Opportunities for enhancing the natural environment.

Full text:

Thank you for notifying Natural England of the neighbourhood designation request.

Natural England is a non-departmental public body. Our statutory purpose is to ensure that the natural environment is conserved, enhanced, and managed for the benefit of present and future generations, thereby contributing to sustainable development.

Natural England is a statutory consultee in neighbourhood planning. We must be consulted on draft Neighbourhood Development Plans where the Town/Parish Council or Neighbourhood Forum considers our interests would be affected by the proposals. We must be consulted on draft Neighbourhood Development Orders and Community Right to Build Orders where proposals are likely to affect a Site of Special Scientific Interest or 20 hectares or more of Best and Most Versatile agricultural land. We must also be consulted on Strategic Environmental Assessments, Habitats Regulations Assessment screening and Environmental Impact Assessments, where these are required. Your local planning authority will be able to advise you further on environmental requirements
The following is offered as general advice which may be of use in the preparation of your plan/ order.
Natural England, together with the Environment Agency, English Heritage and Forestry Commission has published joint advice on neighbourhood planning which sets out sources of environmental information and ideas on incorporating the environment into plans and development proposals. This is available at:

Local environmental record centres hold a range of information on the natural environment. A list of local records centre is available at:

Protected landscapes
If your neighbourhood planning area is within or adjacent to a National Park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), we advise that you take account of the relevant National Park/AONB Management Plan for the area. For Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you should seek the views of the AONB Partnership.

National Character Areas (NCAs) divide England into 159 distinct natural areas. Each is defined by a unique combination of landscape, biodiversity, geodiversity and cultural and economic activity. Their boundaries follow natural lines in the landscape rather than administrative boundaries, making them a good decision making framework for the natural environment.

Protected species
You should consider whether your plan or proposal has any impacts on protected species. To help you do this, Natural England has produced standing advice to help understand the impact of particular developments on protected or Biodiversity Action Plan species should they be identified as an issue. The standing advice also sets out when, following receipt of survey information, you should undertake further consultation with Natural England.
Natural England Standing Advice -

Local Wildlife Sites
You should consider whether your plan or proposal has any impacts on local wildlife sites, eg Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) or Local Nature Reserve (LNR) or whether opportunities exist for enhancing such sites. If it appears there could be negative impacts then you should ensure you have sufficient information to fully understand the nature of the impacts of the proposal on the local wildlife site.

Best Most Versatile Agricultural Land
Soil is a finite resource that fulfils many important functions and services (ecosystem services) for society, for example as a growing medium for food, timber and other crops, as a store for carbon and water, as a reservoir of biodiversity and as a buffer against pollution. It is therefore important that the soil resources are protected and used sustainably. Paragraph 112 of the National Planning Policy Framework states that:
'Local planning authorities should take into account the economic and other benefits of the best and most versatile agricultural land. Where significant development of agricultural land is demonstrated to be necessary, local planning authorities should seek to use areas of poorer quality land in preference to that of a higher quality'.

General mapped information on soil types is available as 'Soilscapes' on the and also from the LandIS website; which contains more information about obtaining soil data.

Opportunities for enhancing the natural environment
Neighbourhood plans and proposals may provide opportunities to enhance the character and local distinctiveness of the surrounding natural and built environment, use natural resources more sustainably and bring benefits for the local community, for example through green space provision and access to and contact with nature.

Opportunities to incorporate features into new build or retro fitted buildings which are beneficial to wildlife, such as the incorporation of roosting opportunities for bats or the installation of bird nest boxes should also be considered as part of any new development proposal.

Should the proposal be amended in a way which significantly affects its impact on the natural environment then, in accordance with Section 4 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, Natural England should be consulted again at