Appendix 1: Natural England: Consultation Response
Greater Cambridge Local Plan HRA Scoping Report
Representation ID: 50267
Respondent: Natural England
Natural England is satisfied with the proposed scope of the Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) as indicated in our letter to the Councils dated 11 October 2019 (ref. 295675). We believe this to be in general accordance with the requirements of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended).
We welcome consideration of long-distance impact pathways for European sites located beyond the identified 15km buffer, such as Wicken Fen Ramsar site, a component of Fenland SAC and the Ouse Washes Ramsar, SPA and SAC through hydrological and recreational pressure impacts for example. Consideration of recreational pressure impacts to Wicken Fen is particularly important in light of the findings of the Footprint Ecology visitor study recently commissioned by the National Trust. Our letter dated 11 October 2019 includes further advice regarding the assessment of recreational pressure impacts.
As previously indicated the HRA should provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that there is no credible risk of air pollution beyond the 200m threshold that could potentially result in an adverse effect to either of these European sites.
The findings and recommendations of the Councils’ Green Infrastructure & Biodiversity and Integrated Water Study evidence bases, being prepared for the Local Plan, should inform the HRA.
We welcome that the findings and recommendations of the HRA will inform the relevant aspects of the SA. Natural England would welcome early discussion on the HRA of the plan and can offer further advice as policy options are progressed.