East Cambridgeshire District Council is forging ahead with its commitments to the environment by taking the next steps in progressing its climate change and natural environment supplementary planning documents (SPDs).
At last night’s Finance and Assets Committee, all members voted in favour to adopt the council’s new Natural Environment SPD and also approved the Climate Change SPD to go to public consultation.
The Natural Environment SPD aims to increase biodiversity via new development, aid in the management, protection, enhancement and creation of priority habitats, and promote the creation of an effective, functioning ecological network throughout the district.
Now that the Natural Environment SPD has been approved for adoption, it will be used by the Council’s Planning Committee and become a material consideration when making decisions.
The document provides advice on policy requirements relating to issues such as: 'net gain' in biodiversity through development proposals, protection of existing nature sites as well as the protection and provision of trees.
It also offers helpful guidance on the information that should be submitted with a planning application where there is likely to be impact on the natural environment.
The council’s Climate Change SPD, which will be going to consultation following last night’s meeting, aims to help the planning system achieve development which has a lower impact on the climate and seeks to ensure developers play their part and help address the climate emergency when planning their development schemes.
The document looks to ensure that all future planning decisions have the environment as a priority consideration. It also provides necessary guidance to those building in the District as to their responsibility to the environment.
The Climate Change SPD proposes four new policies which cover the following key issues:
- Reducing carbon dioxide emissions
- Safeguarding renewable and low carbon energy sources
- Reducing energy demand in existing buildings
- Resilient and adaptable design to climate change
Cllr David Brown, Chairman of the Finance and Assets Committee at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said:
“The primary purpose of the new Natural Environment SPD is to make sure new development in our District both protects the natural environment and creates new areas for wildlife to thrive.
“We are fortunate to have many wildlife areas in East Cambridgeshire, of both national and international importance. We want to do all that we can to protect them, as well as create new habitats for wildlife to flourish.
“The Climate Change SPD compliments this, seeking to ensure that developers play their part and help address the climate emergency in the planning of their development schemes. Now it has been approved for public consultation, we can obtain resident feedback on this important issue.
“We are fully aware that as well as taking actions to mitigate climate change, we need to ensure we protect our natural environment and it is our vision that these two important documents will work together do this.”
Both SPDs form part of the Council’s Environment and Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan and progress on both areas is one of the 20 commitments for 2020/2021.
The Council’s Climate Change SPD will now go to public consultation over a six-week period, running from mid-October to the end of November 2020.