Waveney Local Plan

Natural Environment

Biodiversity

242 Butterfly8.176 Wildlife sites, flora and fauna and geological features are an important resource for current and future generations. The Council will seek to protect both formally designated sites and other areas of wildlife and geological interest. Within Waveney District there are several internationally and nationally important geological sites and wildlife habitats. These include Special Protection Areas, Special Areas of Conservation, Ramsar Sites, National Nature Reserves, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Ancient Woodland. A number of sites within and adjoining the Waveney area are recognised as internationally important for wildlife conservation, such as Benacre and Easton Bavents Lagoons and areas of geological importance that include Corton Cliffs and Covehithe.

8.177 Suffolk Wildlife Trust in conjunction with Suffolk County Council have identified a substantial number of regionally important wildlife sites within the Local Plan area, known as County Wildlife Sites. Suffolk has a list of local Biodiversity Action Plan species and habitats which are important to protect and enhance.

8.178 Sites protected for their biodiversity and geodiversity value are represented on the Policies Map. Other non-protected green spaces contribute towards the wider green infrastructure network and are shown on the Policies Map.

8.179 The National Planning Policy Framework gives significant protection to the internationally and nationally protected sites referred to above. It also encourages Local Plans to develop criteria based policies to assess the impact of development on wildlife and geodiversity sites. It states the level of protection should be commensurate with the level at which the site is designated (i.e. international, national and local). The Framework encourages positive planning at the landscape scale for the creation and enhancement of ecological and green infrastructure networks.

8.180 The Waveney Green Infrastructure Strategy identifies green infrastructure networks within built up areas in the District which could be used to help inform how new development can positively contribute towards enhancing green infrastructure in an area to benefit biodiversity.

8.181 Policy WLP8.32 sets out the approach to protecting and enhancing biodiversity and geodiversity within Waveney. The policy seeks to give an appropriate amount of protection to locally protected sites of biodiversity and geodiversity value as well as species and natural features found on sites. It also encourages the provision of features within developments which can support biodiversity and ecological networks. Such features could include roosting or nesting spots on trees and buildings for birds and bats, features which enable permeability for hedgehogs and water features such as ponds.

8.182 Development proposals should be accompanied by sufficient information to assess the effects of development on protected sites, species, biodiversity or geology, together with any proposed prevention, mitigation or compensation measures. The Suffolk Biodiversity Information Service can provide general species distribution data for development sites and further information is also available from the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. Natural England can provide detailed information regarding sites of geological importance. 

Policy WLP8.32 - Biodiversity and Geodiversity

Development will be supported where it can be demonstrated that it maintains, restores or enhances the existing green infrastructure network and positively contributes towards biodiversity through the creation of new green infrastructure and improvement to linkages between habitats. Regard should be had to the Waveney Green Infrastructure Strategy.

Proposals that will have a direct or indirect adverse impact on locally recognised sites of biodiversity or geodiversity importance, including County Wildlife Sites, Biodiversity Action Plan habitats and species, will not be supported unless it can be demonstrated that new opportunities to enhance the green infrastructure network will be provided as part of the development that will mitigate or compensate for this loss.

Where compensatory habitat is created, it should be of equal or greater size than the area lost as a result of the development, be well located to positively contribute towards the green infrastructure network and biodiversity and be supported with a management plan.

Where there is reason to suspect the presence of protected species, applications should be supported by an ecological survey undertaken by a suitably qualified person. If present the proposal must be sensitive to, and make provision for their needs.

Any development with the potential to impact on a Special Protection Area or Special Area for Conservation within or outside of the District will need to be supported by sufficient information to allow a Habitat Regulations Assessment to be undertaken.