Wealden District Council is required to produce a Sustainability Appraisal (which also incorporates Strategic Environmental Assessment) for all of its policy documents except for the Statement of Community Involvement, Authority Monitoring Report, Community Infrastructure Levy and the Local Development Scheme.
The Council’s previous scoping report was approved in July 2015 and formed the basis for the Sustainability Appraisal of the Wealden Local Plan (2019). The Wealden Local Pan (2019) reached the Examination in Public (EiP) stage of the plan-making process but was later withdrawn by the Council on 19th February 2020.
As part of the development of the new Wealden Local Plan, a new Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report was prepared in June 2020 and was made available for a five week consultation period from 8th July 2020 – 12th August 2020, in line with the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004 (the SEA Regulations). The Council sought the views of the three statutory consultation bodies (Natural England, the Environment Agency and Historic England), as well as our neighbouring local planning authorities; the Sussex Local Nature Partnership; Sussex Wildlife Trust; High Weald AONB Unit and Highways Authority. A number of comments were received from all parties consulted and these were incorporated as appropriate into the Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report.
Between the 23rd November 2020 and the 18th January 2021, the Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report was consulted on alongside the Direction of Travel document and was updated following the receipt of comments.
The final Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report was approved by the Council in March 2021. The Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report (2021) sets out the baseline information for the district, planning legislation and guidance and issues to be addressed, resulting in the formation of 18 Sustainability Objectives against which the Wealden Local Plan and its policies will be assessed.