LPP2: Site Allocations and Development Management Policies

Environmental Implications of Development

2.2  Waverley, as a rural Borough, benefits from a large number of valued biological and geological assets ranging from internationally designated wildlife sites such as the Wealden Heaths Special Protection Area, to locally important sites such as the wooded hillsides around Godalming. Development can lead to the deterioration or loss of these assets, or provide opportunities to enhance these assets, such as through the removal of invasive species.

2.3  The impact of pollution from development is also a growing concern. Each year in the UK, around 40,000 early deaths are attributable to air pollution, which has also been linked to a variety of health issues including cancer and heart diseases[1] . Air Quality Management Areas have been identified in Farnham and Godalming, where the emission of Nitrogen Dioxide and particulate matter, primarily from transport, regularly exceeds legal limits. Poor air quality can have a synergistic effect with other issues such as smoking[2] , greatly increasing the impact on human health. Relatively minor developments can cumulatively have a significant negative impact on air, water, and soil quality. As such, it is important that all development avoids contributing to the worsening of air, soil, and water quality.

2.4  There is also evidence that the stress of living within an area with environmental hazards such as poor air quality or a high risk of flooding can pose an additional risk to an individual's mental as well as physical health[3] , further emphasising the importance of directing development away from higher risk areas.

2.5  In September 2019 the Council declared a Climate Emergency, which commits Waverley to regard climate change as a serious threat that requires urgent action to reduce carbon emissions and conserve biodiversity. Planning and new development has a role to play in the transition to a low-carbon society, engaging communities and enabling environmentally-friendly choices in everything from energy to transport.

2.6  New development can also act as an agent of change, undermining the retention of community and employment uses, such as venues which operate in the evening or night. Where potentially incompatible development is planned nearby, it is important that measures such as effective noise insulation are used to ensure that existing development does not have any additional costs imposed on it, or be forced to move.

2.7  Where noise assessments are required, they should conform to the BS4142:2014 (or as updated) criteria with the aim of achieving -5dB LAeq compared to the background.

2.8  Policies NE1, NE2, and NE3 in Local Plan Part 1 set out the strategic approach to the protection of the natural environment. Policies RE1, RE2, RE3, TD1, and HA1 set out the strategic policies for the protection of landscapes, townscapes and heritage assets. The Spatial Strategy set out in policy SP2 in Local Plan Part 1 also seeks to direct development in the Borough away from environmentally sensitive areas, while Policies ST1, CC1, CC2, CC3 and CC4 seek to ensure development is located and designed to support sustainable development and to address climate issues, flood risk and pollution.

1. https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/every-breath-we-take-lifelong-impact-air-pollution [back]
2. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/109/1/71.short [back]
3. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/597846/NSFH_briefing_for_policymakers_and_practitioners.pdf [back]
DM1: Environmental Implications of Development

Development should:

  1. Avoid harm to the health or amenity of occupants of nearby land and buildings, and future occupants of the development, including by way of an unacceptable increase in pollution, light, noise, dust, vibration, and odour, or an increase in flood risk;
  2. Not cause a deterioration to the environment by virtue of potential pollution of air, soil or water, including that arising from the storage and use of hazardous substances, while seeking opportunities to improve air and water quality where possible;
  3. Not cause harm or damage to existing environmental assets such as areas of ecological, geological, townscape, or landscape value, and maximise opportunities to enhance such assets;
  4. Integrate effectively with existing development and not result in unreasonable restrictions on existing businesses or facilities. Where there is likely to be a conflict between proposed development and existing uses nearby, the agent of change should provide suitable mitigation prior to its completion;
  5. In areas where contamination is known or likely to be found, be subject to a desk-based assessment of the likelihood and extent of land contamination, followed by an intrusive investigation where appropriate, together with the provision of any appropriate remediation measures;
  6. Avoid exacerbating the damage to the environment caused by the emission of greenhouse gases by seeking to minimise these;
  7. Avoid negative impacts upon biodiversity and maximise opportunities to deliver net gain in relation to ecological and geological assets through the design, structure and landscaping of the development;
  8. Where adverse environmental impacts are unavoidable, and the benefits of the development demonstrably outweigh the harm, ensure impacts are appropriately mitigated.

Local Plan Part 1 parent policies

NE1: Biological and Geological Conservation

NE2: Green and Blue Infrastructure

RE3: Landscape Character

TD1: Townscape and Design

HA1: Protection of Heritage Assets

CC1: Climate Change

CC2: Sustainable Construction and Design

Monitoring

Indicators:

Refusal, and dismissal at appeal, of proposals which would have adverse environmental impacts and/or not provide appropriate mitigation for contaminated land.

The air and water quality in the Borough.

The status of designated environmental sites.

Targets:

Development does not create adverse environmental impacts.

Appropriate mitigation is provided for contaminated land.

Delivery of net gain through new development.