A six-week consultation is set to be launched to ensure new development across East Cambridgeshire protects and enhances the environment.
At today’s (February 6) East Cambridgeshire District Council (ECDC) Finance and Assets Committee, members approved a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for Natural Environment.
The SPD aims to increase biodiversity, via new development, and help with Natural Cambridgeshire’s vision of doubling the area of rich wildlife habitats and natural greenspace across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
It comes after ECDC joined more than 200 councils across the UK in declaring a climate emergency and pledged to take action to reach net zero carbon by 2050.
This SPD feeds into the actions the council has committed to implement to help deliver this target.
Councillor David Brown, chairman of ECDC’s Finance and Assets Committee, said: “The SPD plays a vital role in helping to highlight sites across the district which are of local, national or international importance, including Wicken Fen which is home to more than 8,500 species of rare plants, birds and animals.
“This SPD outlines the Council’s proposed approach; we do not want to just protect the wildlife that the district is home to, but also create new areas for biodiversity to thrive.
“Applicants seeking planning permission should also look to create new habitats such as woodlands and ponds as well as homes that incorporate wildlife friendly measures, such as bird and bat boxes.”
The consultation will start in mid-February and last until towards the end of March.
Councillor Anna Bailey, leader of ECDC, said: “The SPD makes clear that the Council will not accept development that either harms wildlife sites or fails to make enough efforts to improve or increase areas for wildlife.
“Applications for development must include genuine net gain for biodiversity – we want an approach to development that leaves the natural environment in a measurably better state than it was beforehand.”
Today’s Finance and Assets Committee also approved to consult on a Custom and Self-Build SPD.
The Council is also working on a further SPD to support the forthcoming Environment and Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan. A draft is expected in the summer.
Once the consultation is open, the SPDs and consultation can be viewed here: www.eastcambs.gov.uk/local-development-framework/supplementary-planning-documents