Draft Over Village Design Guide SPD
Representation ID: 167893
Respondent: Natural England
"The SPDs could consider making provision for Green Infrastructure within development. This should be in line with any GI strategy covering your area.
The SPD could consider incorporating features which are beneficial to wildlife within development
The SPD may provide opportunities to enhance the character and local distinctiveness through green infrastructure and contact with nature."
Dear Hana Loftus
South Cambridgeshire District Council - Village Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)
Thank you for your consultation on the above dated 11 April 2019, which was received by Natural England on 11 April 2019.
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.
Our remit includes protected sites and landscapes, biodiversity, geodiversity, soils, protected species, landscape character, green infrastructure and access to and enjoyment of nature.
While we welcome this opportunity to give our views, the topic this Supplementary Planning Document covers is unlikely to have major effects on the natural environment, but may nonetheless have some effects. We therefore do not wish to provide specific comments, but advise you to consider the following issues:
This SPD could consider making provision for Green Infrastructure (GI) within development. This should be in line with any GI strategy covering your area.
The National Planning Policy Framework states that local planning authorities should plan 'positively for the creation, protection, enhancement and management of networks of biodiversity and green infrastructure'. The Planning Practice Guidance on Green Infrastructure provides more detail on this.
Urban green space provides multi-functional benefits. It contributes to coherent and resilient ecological networks, allowing species to move around within, and between, towns and the countryside with even small patches of habitat benefitting movement. Urban GI is also recognised as one of the most effective tools available to us in managing environmental risks such as flooding and heat waves. Greener neighbourhoods and improved access to nature can also improve public health and quality of life and reduce environmental inequalities.
There may be significant opportunities to retrofit green infrastructure in urban environments. These can be realised through:
* green roof systems and roof gardens;
* green walls to provide insulation or shading and cooling;
* new tree planting or altering the management of land (e.g. management of verges to enhance biodiversity).
You could also consider issues relating to the protection of natural resources, including air quality, ground and surface water and soils within urban design plans.
Further information on GI is include within The Town and Country Planning Association's "Design Guide for Sustainable Communities" and their more recent "Good Practice Guidance for Green Infrastructure and Biodiversity".
This SPD could consider incorporating features which are beneficial to wildlife within development, in line with paragraph 118 of the National Planning Policy Framework. You may wish to consider providing guidance on, for example, the level of bat roost or bird box provision within the built structure, or other measures to enhance biodiversity in the urban environment. An example of good practice includes the Exeter Residential Design Guide SPD, which advises (amongst other matters) a ratio of one nest/roost box per residential unit.
The SPD 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 infrastructure provision and access to and contact with nature. Landscape characterisation and townscape assessments, and associated sensitivity and capacity assessments provide tools for planners and developers to consider how new development might makes a positive contribution to the character and functions of the landscape through sensitive siting and good design and avoid unacceptable impacts.
For example, it may be appropriate to seek that, where viable, trees should be of a species capable of growth to exceed building height and managed so to do, and where mature trees are retained on site, provision is made for succession planting so that new trees will be well established by the time mature trees die.
Other design considerations
The NPPF includes a number of design principles which could be considered, including the impacts of lighting on landscape and biodiversity (para 125).
Strategic Environmental Assessment/Habitats Regulations Assessment
A SPD requires a Strategic Environmental Assessment only in exceptional circumstances as set out in the Planning Practice Guidance here. While SPDs are unlikely to give rise to likely significant effects on European Sites, they should be considered as a plan under the Habitats Regulations in the same way as any other plan or project. If your SPD requires a Strategic Environmental Assessment or Habitats Regulation Assessment, you are required to consult us at certain stages as set out in the Planning Practice Guidance.
Should the plan be amended in a way which significantly affects its impact on the natural environment, then, please consult Natural England again.
Please send all planning consultations electronically to the consultation hub at firstname.lastname@example.org.