One of the main principles behind the new planning system is sustainable development. To help achieve this, we are required to carry out a sustainability appraisal on many of our Local Plan documents.
Sustainability appraisal (SA) is a process which looks at the possible effects of policies or proposals on the environment. We use the resulting information as we prepare planning documents.
Government regulations set out how SA reports are to be prepared and consulted on and the SA process involves many stages (Stages A-E). The first stage in carrying out an SA is to do a 'Scoping Report', specifying what the SA will cover (i.e. its scope), and when it will be produced.
The first draft of the LDF Scoping Report was prepared in 2007, and aims to ensure that the SA will be comprehensive enough to support all the future LDF documents that we produce. In line with government regulations, we consulted a select number of statutory bodies.
In light of the comments received, and consultants advice, we amended the Scoping Report in 2010. It is split into different sections.
To accompany our Core Strategy Options Paper, we prepared a ‘Interim Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulation Assessment' (Appropriate Assessment).
Our Sustainability Appraisal (SA) and Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) for the Core Strategy Preferred Options, was published alongside the main document in May 2011. A consultation period enabled any comments on the SA or HRA to be sent to the Council. A further Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) was undertaken in response to the changes made on the Local Plan Preferred Options paper, and published in January 2012.
A final SA was then undertaken on the Local Plan Publication document, following changes made on the Local Plan Preferred Options as a result of consultation responses.
A further SA and HRA was then conducted on the Local Plan Main Modifications document, following the recommendations of the Planning Inspector during the Examination process.
The Local Plan was adopted 16 October 2013. Alongside it, a SA Statement was produced, documenting the SA and HRAs undertaken at each stage of the process, and how the Local Plan was modified as a result of findings and comments.
Monitoring (Stage E) When the Local Plan is adopted, it will then be monitored. More information on this will be available in the Annual Monitoring Reports.
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