Wealden District Council & Special Areas of Conservation
August 2018 Statement
Further to the statement below, we undertook an Air Quality Impact Assessment in 2018. The purpose of the assessment was to identify likely significant effects of planned housing and employment growth in Hastings on the conservation objectives of Ashdown Forest Special Area of Conservation (SAC) from 2017 to 2033.
The assessment took account of the traffic growth expected on roads within the area of the Ashdown Forest SAC/Special Protection Area (SPA). We considered anticipated growth and development within Hastings and also in the development plans of other neighbouring authorities. This was a requirement of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017. The focus of the assessment was on Ashdown Forest SAC and SPA.
It was not considered necessary to consider air quality implications of growth in Hastings on the Pevensey Levels SAC and Ramsar site or the Lewes Downs SAC. In respect of Pevensey Levels SAC/Ramsar site the interest feature of this SAC, the Lesser Ramshorn Snail (Anisus vorticulus) is not affected by nitrogen from vehicle emissions. Lewes Downs SAC is too far removed to be affected. Nitrogen deposition from additional traffic beyond that modelled would have to be four times that currently expected from all traffic to exceed critical load at this location.
We have modelled the expected growth in Hastings to 2033 including the Local Plan, existing planning permissions and the emerging Area Action Plan. This demonstrated that development will not result in an adverse effect on the integrity of Ashdown Forest either alone or in combination with other plans or projects. The proposed development is considered to be within the allowances made within the strategic modelling and therefore it is not considered to harm the special conservation objectives of Ashdown Forest, Pevensey Levels or Lewes Downs Special Areas of Conservation.
The council will no longer hold in abeyance any major applications because of these Special Areas of Conservation.
January 2018 Statement
In January 2018 the Council started to receive objection letters received from Wealden District Council (WDC) regarding various applications in the borough and their impact, as Wealden see it, on Ashdown Forest, Lewes Downs and Pevensey Levels Special Areas of Conservation (SAC).
The following is a brief update of our position and how we are progressing the determination of planning applications.
Following a meeting with the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council it was decided that we would explore the option of producing an addendum to the Local Plan's Habitat Regulation Assessment.
If this is possible, it would be a blanket assessment of development in the borough that is both in the plan and yet to come forward in respect of the various SAC's outside our borough.
In the meantime, and subject to updates on the progress of the above, Planning Services will:
- Determine all non-major applications except where an objection is received from WDC
- Hold in abeyance all major applications and applications where an objection is received from WDC.
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