2.47 Policy NE3: Sites, Species and Habitats within the current Local Plan sets out the policy approach to development affecting internationally or nationally protected species and habitats, species, habitats or features of biodiversity/geodiversity importance or value and in all other cases. It is proposed to revise this policy through the partial update to reflect updates to the NPPF 2019, legislation, the emerging Environment Bill, B&NES Council’s Ecological Emergency declaration, and to provide clarity to applicants/developers as follows:
Consultation Reference DM 9
Amendments to Policy NE3: Sites, Species and Habitats
1 Development that would adversely affect, directly or indirectly,
internationally or nationally protected species and/or their habitats irreplaceable habitats, will not be permitted.
2 Development that would adversely affect, directly or indirectly, Internationally or Nationally Important Sites or Species and/or their habitats will not be permitted except in exceptional circumstances where:
a there is no alternative solution; and,
b there are imperative reasons of overriding public interest for the development; and,
c mitigation measures can be secured to prevent any significant adverse effect on the site, including retention of existing habitat and vegetation in situ; replacement habitat creation and bespoke measures.
which that would adversely affect, directly or indirectly, other species, habitats or features of biodiversity/ geodiversity importance or value will not be permitted unless only be permitted in the following cases: a for Sites of Special Scientific Interest, where the benefits of the development, at this site, clearly outweigh both the impacts that it is likely to have on the features of the site that make it of special scientific interest and any broader impacts on the national network of Sites of Special Scientific Interest; b a for Sites of Nature Conservation Importance; Local Nature Reserves, Regionally Important Geological/ Geomorphological Sites and other sites of equivalent nature conservation value, where material considerations are sufficient to outweigh the local biological geological / geomorphological and community/amenity value of the site; where impacts have been minimised; where there are opportunities to replace and/or offset the loss; and where the test of ‘No Satisfactory Alternative (including do-nothing) have been met; c b for UK Priority Species and UK Priority Habitats, where the importance of the development and its need for that particular location is sufficient to override the value of the species or habitat and where impacts have been minimised; where it can be demonstrated that it is possible to replace and/or offset the loss to at least equivalent or greater ecological value; and where the test of No Satisfactory Alternative (including do-nothing) have been met; d c for locally important species and habitats, where the importance of the development and its need for that particular location is sufficient to override the value of the species or habitat; e d for features of the landscape such as trees, copses, woodlands, grasslands, batches, ponds, roadside and grass verges, veteran trees, hedgerows, walls, orchards, and watercourses and their corridors if they are of amenity, wildlife, or landscape value, or if they contribute to a wider network of habitats, where such features are retained and enhanced unless the loss of such features is unavoidable and material considerations outweigh the need to retain the features.
4 In all cases:
Firstly, any harm to the nature conservation value of the site is minimised; and
secondly, compensatory provision of at least equal nature conservation value is made for any outstanding harm, and
Thirdly, ecological enhancements are made Biodiversity Net Gain will be delivered and managed in perpetuity (minimum of 30 years) through the appropriate means, for example legal agreement.
Then, as appropriate:
i Measures for the protection and recovery of priority species are made.
ii Provision is made for the management of retained and created habitat features.
iii Site lighting details are designed to avoid harm to nature conservation interests; including habitat connectivity and function as part of an ecological corridor.