Wealden District Council

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Protecting the ecology and environment

News : 05 July 2018

The Local Plan Draft Proposed Submission Document allows growth to proceed without infringing the Council’s legal duties to protect Wealden’s environment.

View of the Ashdown Forest

Increased emissions from vehicles travelling in and around the District threaten to worsen the degraded ecology of the Ashdown Forest heathland. Emissions also threaten the chalk grassland of the Lewes Downs Special Area of Conservation, even though it is not in the District.
Air quality mitigation measures are necessary for identified development within the Plan to take place if they lead to an increase in local traffic movements.
These include both a financial contribution and a range of over 11 other measures including appropriate electric vehicle charging infrastructure, guaranteed high speed broadband connections and the provision of electric public transport, cycling and walking schemes to reduce the use of petrol and diesel vehicles.
The Council will also work with Natural England, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and neighbouring authorities to jointly progress a Site Nitrogen Action Plan (SNAP) which will proactively seek to further reduce levels of nitrogen deposition over the longer term.
The protected bird species of Ashdown Forest is also threatened by increased visitor numbers connected to new housing. To avoid and mitigate this, the Local Plan has a three tiered approach:
• Residential development will not be permitted with 400 metres of Ashdown Forest Special Protection Area (SPA) unless there are exceptional circumstances.
• Development within 7kms of Ashdown Forest SPA will required a financial contribution toward the provision and maintenance of Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspaces (SANGS) and the Strategic Access Management and Monitoring Strategy (SAMMS).
• Large Development schemes, close to but beyond the 7km boundary, may, after assessment, be required to implement mitigation measures to ensure there is no detrimental impact on the SPA.