10. Landscape and Wildlife

10.1.

The Local Plan identifies those parts of the District that are of particular landscape or wildlife importance, and seeks to ensure that their quality will not be harmed by inappropriate development. However, the Council recognises that an approach to landscape and wildlife protection focused only on certain parts of the District would be inadequate. It therefore seeks to avoid any development that would diminish the diversity or abundance of the District’s flora and fauna (or the habitats on which they depend), or that would erode the distinctiveness or diversity of the area’s landscape character. Conversely, the Council encourages and welcomes development proposals that will contribute to broadening the District’s habitat diversity, or that will reinforce local landscape character.

10.2.

This approach accords with the provisions of the Council’s Local Agenda 21 strategy and the Biodiversity Action Plan, and will contribute to all three of the Council’s corporate objectives:

  • A good quality of life for all residents – The landscape and wildlife of the District are a cultural asset, and are very important in defining the character of the area as a whole. They provide a source of enjoyment and inspiration, contribute to the overall quality of life, and are strongly identified by local people with their community’s identity.
  • A thriving and prosperous economy – North Kesteven’s landscape and wildlife are very significant assets which contribute positively to the area’s attractive character. In this respect, they play a major role in establishing the image that the District projects to visitors, tourists, and potential inward-investors.
  • A clean, green and safe environment – The District’s landscape and wildlife are critical environmental resources. The abundance and diversity of an area’s wildlife are a good general indicator of the health of the environment. The distinctiveness and diversity of an area’s landscape is a fundamental determinant of its visual quality and identity. Preserving and enhancing landscape and wildlife are important aspects of ensuring that the future development of the District is sustainable.

Landscape

10.3.

The landscape of North Kesteven has been adapted from its natural state as successive generations of people have cleared natural woodland, farmed the land, defined field boundaries with hedges, walls, fences and ditches, planted and managed new trees, copses and woods, drained land, controlled watercourses and constructed roads, paths, buildings and settlements. The underlying geology, hydrology and soils continue to exert their influence upon the District’s character, but the landscape as we see it today is, to a significant extent, the product of the influences of each of these generations of people.

10.4.

Each generation inherited a landscape that had been modified by its predecessors, and retained what it valued or what was still useful, but changed what was no longer useful or valuable. This process continues today, and one of the roles of this Local Plan is to balance the on-going need for change with the need to protect and enhance the beauty and particular character of the District’s five broad areas of landscape character.

10.5.

The landscape character areas described below are based upon the Countryside Agency’s ‘Countryside Character Approach’, which identifies four Character Areas within North Kesteven District. The District Council supports the Agency’s approach, and the areas described below depart from the Countryside Agency’s assessment only in terms of identifying separate character areas for the Lincoln Cliff scarp and dip slopes (the Agency identifies a single character area - the Southern Lincolnshire Edge). This departure from the Agency’s assessment reflects the particular importance that the District Council gives to the Lincoln Cliff, as the most physically dominant landscape feature in the District.

The Fens

10.6.

Eastern-most parts of the District have a fenland character, i.e. they are very low-lying and very flat. The land is almost exclusively farmed for vegetable crops and grains, and fields are typically large and divided from one another by drainage channels. Tree and woodland cover is scarce (with the only significant area of woodland being to the north of South Kyme). The landscape is dominated by straight roads raised above the surrounding land, linear drainage channels, and embanked watercourses. The lack of trees, hedges and slopes means that views are very extensive and open, and this part of the District generally has an isolated character. The fenland part of the District contains very few villages, and settlements are generally small in size and linear in pattern, with buildings constructed in brick, slate and pantiles.

Dip slope

10.7.

From the fenland, the dip slope of the Lincoln Cliff rises gently westwards, and the landscape character of the District changes. In more northern parts of the District there is a very sharp visual transition from fenland to dip slope, but in southern parts the switch is less clearly defined. In all parts, however, the change from fenland to dip slope is marked by a line of settlements, some of which are substantial in size (such as Billinghay or Heckington). Indeed, the dip slope contains many more settlements than the fenland area, and these settlements are generally much larger and more nucleated, although the predominant building materials remain brick, slate and pantile. The dip slope’s character is still very open and views remain extensive, since fields are large in size and often lack strong boundary definition - although there is a marked increase in hedgerows and (further to the west) stone walls. Tree cover is generally greater and woodland areas become more common and larger, and conversely the intensity of the agricultural use is lower than in the fenland. The dip slope has a gently rolling topography and, in some northern parts of the District, has an elevated character where settlement is very limited. In southern parts of the District, the dip slope’s character is somewhat more intimate and enclosed, with greater tree cover and a greater number of settlements.

Lincoln Cliff

10.8.

The gentle rise of the dip slope ends as the short but steep scarp slope of the Lincoln Cliff falls to the west, and this change in landscape character is marked by a line of settlements at the Cliff top, where limestone is the predominant building material. The Cliff is a prominent and strongly linear feature but is not uniform, as it varies both in height and in the severity of its slope. The majority of the scarp is farmed for the production of arable crops or for the grazing of livestock and is divided up into relatively small fields, most commonly by thorn hedges. The top of the slope is comparatively well wooded, and this contributes further to the Cliff’s visual prominence.

Trent and Witham Vales

10.9.

From the foot of the scarp slope westwards, the Trent and Witham valleys dominate the District’s landscape character. The landform is relatively flat, though more undulating than fenland areas. It remains a relatively open landscape with large predominantly arable fields, and long views are available. Nonetheless, field boundaries in this part of the District are generally more clearly defined than elsewhere, usually by trimmed thorn hedges. Levels of woodland and tree cover are similar to those on the dip slope, with the exception of those parts of the District immediately to the west of Lincoln, where substantial woods are found. Settlements in this part of the District are generally small and nucleated, with the exception of those in direct proximity to Lincoln.

Kesteven Uplands

10.10.

The very southern-most parts of the District, around Walcot and Stow, are characterised as being part of the Kesteven Uplands. The transition from Lincoln Cliff Dip Slope to Kesteven Uplands is very gradual, and is not generally sharply defined. Nonetheless, the topography of the Uplands is generally more undulating (particularly towards Walcot) and, although arable farming predominates and field sizes remain large, boundaries are more strongly defined – usually by well-maintained thorn hedges. Consequently extensive views are not as common, and the area’s character is generally more intimate and enclosed. Particularly characteristic of this part of the District are the wide verges between the highway edge and the hedgerows that define field boundaries.

POLICY LW1 - Landscape Conservation View Map of this site ?

The Council will seek to protect the distinctive landscapes of the identified Landscape Character Areas and any special features which contribute to that character. Where development is acceptable, it will be required to contribute to the local distinctiveness of the area, be well integrated into the local landscape character, protect any features of importance to the local scene, and respect any important views.

Justification

10.11.

The landscape of North Kesteven is not uniform, and at least five broad areas of different landscape character can be identified (as described in the preceding paragraphs). These separate characters are, to a significant degree ‘man-made’, but there is a risk that future human activities could undermine the landscape’s appearance, or erode its present level of diversity. The District Council does not expect the area’s landscape to remain unchanged, because there must be some evolution in response to on-going changes in the use and management of land. However, the Council considers that all countryside is valuable, and is concerned to ensure that new development does not harm landscape quality, reduce the variation in landscape across the District, or interrupt important views and, where possible, the Council will expect development to generate improvements.

10.12.

Applicants must consider the character and appearance of their site and the landscape that surrounds it. The Council is committed to undertaking a full Landscape Character Assessment. Applicants should consider the effect that their proposal will have upon the particular character, quality or interest of the area. Valuable individual landscape features must be retained, where possible, and proposals should seek to add to or otherwise enhance individual features where feasible. Similarly, it is important that significant views should not be extinguished or diminished in quality by new development. Where possible and appropriate, new development should take the opportunity to open up new public views or to enhance existing views. Applicants must also ensure that their proposals are designed with consideration for local character and that they do not reduce local distinctiveness. The fundamental principle across the whole District is that the Council expects development to, at the very least, not harm landscape quality and diversity, and preferably to improve it.

10.13.

The Lincoln Cliff scarp slope is the most physically dominant landscape feature in the District, and in the context of the relatively flat land to both sides, its visual significance is greatly enhanced. There are spectacular and extensive views from the Cliff towards the Trent and Witham valleys, and significant views of the scarp from this lower land. In recognition of the particularly dramatic appearance of the Lincoln Cliff and the vulnerability of its character to harm by insensitive development, it is identified as an area of distinctive landscape character (the boundaries of which are defined upon the Proposals Map). Within this area, greater attention will be paid to the landscape impact of development proposals, particularly in terms of impact upon views from, to and along the Cliff. In this respect, it is unlikely that planning permission will be granted for development that would be visually prominent, by virtue of its size or location (e.g. on the skyline) as this is highly likely to detract from the character of the area.

POLICY LW2 - Green Wedges View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for development within a Green Wedge (as defined on the Proposals Map), only if the development will not adversely affect:

  1. The landscape setting of the City of Lincoln or any other settlement;
  2. The appearance or landscape character of the Green Wedge;
  3. The recreational value of the Green Wedge; and
  4. The wildlife value of the Green Wedge.
unless there is a need for the development which clearly overrides the importance of any adverse effects, such as the Lincoln Eastern Bypass.

Where development is permitted the Council will, where appropriate, seek to enter into an agreement with the developer or will place a condition on the permission to require the implementation of measures to minimise, mitigate or compensate for any adverse effects.

Justification

10.14.

The City of Lincoln Local Plan identifies a number of areas of land as Green Wedges, which are intended to bring continuous, or closely linked open space into the heart of the City’s built-up area. The City of Lincoln Local Plan seeks to protect these Wedges from development that would reduce or harm their recreational or wildlife value, or their contribution to the landscape character and setting of the City.

10.15.

This Local Plan identifies six areas of largely undeveloped land adjacent to the City of Lincoln as Green Wedges, and these areas are intended to complement the City’s designations. They were selected to either directly link with or to associate with the City’s Green Wedges, and hence to extend the established open space links within the City’s built-up area further into the surrounding countryside. The Green Wedges are valuable in different ways (and the character of each of the Wedges is described in Appendix 5), but they have four broad roles, as follows:

  1. Landscape
  • They may be of intrinsic landscape value (natural beauty or visual significance).
  • They may provide important views into or out of the City.
  • They may play an important role in providing an attractive setting to the City.
  1. Recreation
  • They may provide recreational opportunities for the inhabitants of the City or any of the adjacent North Kesteven settlements, or visitors.
  • They may provide opportunities for the existing footpath, bridleway or cycle route networks to be enhanced.
  1. Wildlife
  • They may provide links of value to wildlife between the City and the countryside,between County Wildlife Sites and the countryside, or between different County Wildlife Sites.
  1. Coalescence
  • They may help to prevent the coalescence of settlements.
10.16.

Applicants who put forward proposals for new development or for the intensification of any existing use within a Green Wedge must show that their proposals have been prepared with proper consideration for the Wedge’s value. They must show that their proposals do not reduce the Wedge’s existing landscape, recreational or wildlife value and must, where possible, show that their proposals will enhance the Wedge’s value. The level of detail appropriate for the assessment will depend upon the scale and nature of the development and its likely impacts upon the Wedge. The current designation of land as Green Wedge should not preclude the future consideration of its longer-term suitability for development against other locations.

POLICY LW3 - Visual Amenity Areas View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for proposals that will adversely affect the amenity value of a Visual Amenity Area (as defined on the Proposals Map), only if there is a need for the development which clearly overrides the amenity value of the Area.

Justification

10.17.

Some settlement curtilages contain open areas that have an important positive impact in terms of the settlement’s character or appearance. Some open areas are the historical product of a gradual and often haphazard evolution. Others are a planned response to provide for green space or recreational facilities. Some areas play an important role in separating potentially conflicting land uses, such as industry and housing, whilst others are valuable in terms of the views that they facilitate. These areas may be under threat of development and, while it is recognised that infilling has an important part to play in meeting the District’s development needs, building on these key sites would normally be unacceptable.

10.18.

The Visual Amenity Areas have been selected on the basis of the following criteria

  • They should be open to public view
  • They should play an important role in the character of the settlement, enhancing the locality or surrounding buildings, or framing or permitting views.
10.19.

The fact that an open area within a settlement has not been identified under this policy does not necessarily imply that its development would be acceptable.

POLICY LW4 - Trees of significant amenity value View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for proposals that will adversely affect a tree or trees protected by a tree preservation order or any other tree(s) of significant amenity value only if the need for the development clearly overrides the amenity value of the tree(s). Where permission is granted for a development that would involve the removal of a tree or trees, a condition may be applied to require the planting of an equivalent or greater number of trees on or near the site.

Justification

10.20.

Trees contribute enormously to the character of many parts of the District – they are very important visual elements in the District’s landscape, since they are attractive in themselves, soften and give a context to development, and screen unsightly areas from view. However, the amenity value of trees is not confined only to their contribution to the District’s visual character. They also help to reduce noise and air pollution, and help to cool towns and villages during hot weather. Furthermore, they provide habitats for wild creatures, help to stabilise soil against erosion, and play a role in reducing climate change by locking up carbon dioxide. As a result, they are highly valued by the majority of people, and the relative scarcity of tree cover within North Kesteven gives them an added importance.

10.21.

Where it is ‘expedient in the interests of amenity’, the Council has the power to make a tree preservation order (TPO) to protect trees, and there are currently well over 500 orders in effect across North Kesteven, which cover thousands of individual trees. However, many trees of at least equal amenity value to those covered by orders are not specifically protected by TPOs.

10.22.

The Council will give considerable weight to the preservation of trees, and proposals that involve the removal of a tree of significant amenity value (whether protected by a TPO or not) will only exceptionally receive planning permission where an applicant can demonstrate all of the following:

  • That the development could not equally well go ahead elsewhere, where no harm to trees would be involved;
  • That the proposed development scheme could not be modified to retain the tree; and
  • That the amenity value of the tree is outweighed by the benefits to the community of the development proposal.
10.23.

New planting to compensate for the tree(s) lost will normally be required.

10.24.

In the case of a planning application for development near to a tree of significant amenity value where the applicant indicates that they intend to retain the tree, the applicant will have to show that:

  • The development will not damage the tree by severing its roots, compacting the soil or altering the water table. In this context, applicants will need to provide information concerning the proposed location of underground services, and present and proposed ground levels.
  • Adequate room is allowed for the future growth of the tree.
  • The relationship between the tree and the proposed development will not be such that a future occupier may wish to fell or prune the tree because they are concerned that the tree obscures a view, overshadows the building or its curtilage, or poses a threat to them or their property.
10.25.

The Council will publish supplementary planning guidance concerning trees and development, which will provide guidance on taking account of trees’ needs during the survey, design and construction phases of development.

Wildlife

10.26.

The plants, fish, mammals, insects, birds and other wild creatures that live in and migrate through North Kesteven are a vital part of the District’s heritage. Contact with nature is a source of pleasure to many people, and can help to contribute to general well being and good mental health. Furthermore, plant-life can play a significant role in stabilising soil against erosion and degradation, reducing air pollution and helping to reduce the effects of climate change by locking up carbon dioxide. The diversity of an area’s flora and fauna is also a good general indicator of the health of the environment.

10.27.

In North Kesteven, only seven sites are identified as being of sufficient importance for wildlife that they merit statutory protection. They are protected as Sites of Special Scientific Interest and cover just over 150 hectares, which represents only 0.16% of the District’s total area (whereas 2% of the East Midlands’ land area is statutorily protected, and 6% nationally). Although the District contains 44 sites that are protected as being of Countywide importance for wildlife, even these sites are fewer in number than the Lincolnshire average. Thus, it is clear that North Kesteven is relatively lacking in internationally, nationally or locally important wildlife habitat, and the Council will support the identification of new sites.

10.28.

The Council is committed to safeguarding the District’s existing flora and fauna and, where possible, increasing its abundance and diversity. This approach accords with the provisions of the Council’s Local Agenda 21 strategy. The Council is a signatory to the Lincolnshire Biodiversity Action Plan, which seeks to safeguard, manage and increase those habitats or species that are most at risk or in decline nationally or locally. The provisions of the Biodiversity Action Plan are taken into account in making planning decisions, and are material considerations in determining planning applications. The Council also works in partnership with the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust to maximise the District’s biodiversity.

10.29.

The Council recognises that it would be a mistake to believe that the District’s biodiversity can be protected and improved by focussing purely on specific areas of land that are of unusual value for wildlife. Designated ‘nature reserves’ (Sites of Special Scientific Interest or County Wildlife Sites) are very important in that they represent relatively (or sometimes very) rare habitats. However, they represent only a very small part of the District’s total area and, as a consequence, they are not the habitat where most of the District’s wildlife lives. Furthermore, most individual reserves are quite small and are separated from one another by large areas of land that may not have such special value for wildlife. Thus, the potential for species to migrate from reserve to reserve, or for genetic exchange between plants or animals occupying different reserves may be limited.

10.30.

The Council acknowledges the importance of designated sites of nature conservation value and will seek to protect such reserves from potentially harmful forms of development and, where conflict of interest is unavoidable, will seek to minimise the adverse effects upon the value of the site. However, the majority of the District’s wildlife lives in the farmland, settlements, buildings, gardens and parks of the District, rather than in reserves. It is therefore very important to ensure that the wildlife value of the District as a whole is protected and enhanced. Thus, the Council will give great weight to nature conservation issues in considering any planning application that will affect protected species, or landscape features that are important for wildlife.

10.31.

The Council will welcome and encourage measures to increase public access to sites of nature conservation interest, provided this does not undermine or reduce the site’s interest. Similarly, the erection of sensitively designed and located displays and interpretation facilities will be welcomed. Such measures can greatly enhance the recreational and educational value of sites, and can help to maximise their potential to contribute to the District’s economy.

POLICY LW5 - Sites of Special Scientific Interest View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for proposals that will directly or indirectly adversely affect a Site of Special Scientific Interest (as shown on the Proposals Map) only if:

  1. The benefits of the development, on the site, clearly outweigh the likely impacts on the features of the site that make it of special scientific interest and any broader impacts on the national network of SSSIs;
  2. The proposed development could not feasibly be located in a less sensitive location; and
  3. Where appropriate, the implementation of measures to minimise, mitigate or compensate for the harm, or to ensure the future management and enhancement of the site’s interest, is assured by means of an agreement between the developer and the Council or by means of a condition upon the permission.

Justification

10.32.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) are identified because their flora, fauna, geological or geophysical features are of national importance. They are designated by English Nature, and there are seven such sites in the District, which are listed in Appendix 6. The protection of these sites is of key importance because what they exemplify is rare and irreplaceable. This policy aims to ensure that Sites of Special Scientific Interest will be safeguarded against any harmful effects of development.

10.33.

The Council must consult with English Nature over proposals to develop land in, around, or where it is likely to affect an SSSI, and the views of English Nature will be a very important factor in the Council’s decision-making process. Nonetheless, even though SSSIs are nationally important, other factors may override the nature conservation considerations. Such circumstances will, however, be very rare – a development that would reduce the value of an SSSI will need to be of greater importance than the Site, and that will mean that it must be of at least national importance itself. Even then, the Council will wish to ensure that short and longer-term harm is kept to the minimum and that, where possible, alternative habitat is provided. Thus, the Council will consider the use of conditions or will seek to enter into agreements with the applicant to ensure that:

  • the site’s value is retained or enhanced where possible (e.g. that important physical features or habitat areas are retained or improved); or
  • new habitat is provided elsewhere to replace that lost; and/or
  • the existing site, or the habitat provided to replace that lost is properly managed/improved in the future.

POLICY LW6 - County Wildlife Sites and Local Nature Reserves View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for proposals that will directly or indirectly adversely affect a County Wildlife Site or a Local Nature Reserve (as shown on the Proposals Map), only if:

  1. There is a need for the development which clearly overrides the importance of the Site or Reserve;
  2. The proposed development could not feasibly be located in a less sensitive location; and
  3. Where appropriate, the implementation of measures to minimise, mitigate or compensate for the harm, or to ensure the future management and enhancement of the Site’s interest, is assured by means of an agreement between the developer and the Council or by means of a condition upon the permission.

Justification

10.34.

County Wildlife Sites are identified because their flora, fauna, geological or geophysical features are of County-wide importance. They are designated by the Council, following advice from the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, and there are 44 such sites in the District. In addition the District contains 2 Local Nature Reserves, which were also designated by the Council. The County Wildlife Sites and the Local Nature Reserves are listed in Appendix 7. The protection of these sites is of less importance than in the case of SSSIs but nonetheless they exemplify habitats of unusual value in the context of the County. This policy aims to ensure that County Wildlife Sites will be safeguarded against any harmful effects of development.

10.35.

When a planning application is received that may affect a County Wildlife Site, the Council will seek advice from recognised nature conservation organisations such as English Nature, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds or the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, and will give significant weight to the protection of the Site’s interest and value. It is only where other material factors override nature conservation considerations that the Council will grant planning permission for a proposal that will have a harmful effect upon a County Wildlife Site. Nonetheless, even though such sites are locally important, other factors may override the nature conservation considerations. Such circumstances will, however, be rare - a development that would reduce the value of a County Wildlife Site will need to be of greater importance than the Site and that will mean that it must be of at least County-wide importance itself. Even then, the Council will wish to ensure that short and longer-term harm is kept to the minimum and that, where possible, alternative habitat is provided. Thus, the Council will consider the use of conditions or will seek to enter into agreements with the applicant to ensure that:

  • the Site’s value is retained or enhanced where possible (e.g. that important physical features or habitat areas are retained or improved); or
  • new habitat is provided elsewhere to replace that lost; and/or
  • the existing Site, or the habitat provided to replace or supplement that lost is properly managed/improved in the future.

POLICY LW7 - Features of importance for wildlife View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for proposals that will directly or indirectly adversely affect any habitat listed as a priority in the Lincolnshire Biodiversity Action Plan or an existing landscape feature (such as a pond, reservoir, lake, gravel pit, disused railway, road verge, river, canal or drain or their banks, building traditional field boundary (such as a hedgerow or stone wall), linear tree belt/shelter, plantation or small woodland, larger semi-natural or ancient woodland, heathland, parkland, semi-natural grassland or unimproved pasture) that is important for wild flora or fauna, only if:

  1. The need for the development clearly override the importance of the feature; and
  2. Where appropriate, the implementation of measures to minimise, mitigate or compensate for the harm, or to ensure the future management and enhancement of the feature’s value, is assured by means of an agreement between the developer and the Council, or by means of a condition upon the permission.

Justification

10.36.

The countryside and settlements of North Kesteven contain a wealth of natural and manmade features that play a valuable role as habitat for wild plant and animal species. Such features can play an important role in the migration, dispersal and genetic exchange of wild flora and fauna – either as ‘stepping stones’ or direct links between one habitat and another. If such features are lost or if their value to wildlife is diminished, the number and diversity of wild species in the District will tend to reduce and, given the Council’s commitment to maintaining and improving the District’s biodiversity, such losses should be avoided wherever possible.

10.37.

Clearly, however, every example of these sorts of features will not be of equal value as wildlife habitat, e.g. road verges that are frequently mowed, ponds that are maintained for exotic plants or fish, or areas of commercial coniferous woodland may have relatively little value as natural habitat. Nature conservation issues will not be particularly important in determining all applications affecting all examples of the features listed above. Applicants must assess whether their proposal will affect any features of value to wildlife and, if it will, they must provide information concerning the feature itself, the nature of its value to wildlife, the impact that their proposal will have, and the measures they propose to alleviate or compensate for that impact. The Council will seek advice from recognised nature conservation organisations such as English Nature, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds or the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.

10.38.

It is only where other material factors override nature conservation considerations that the Council will grant planning permission for a proposal that will have a harmful effect upon a valuable feature. Even then, the Council will wish to ensure that short and longer-term harm is kept to the minimum and that, where possible, alternative habitat is provided. Thus, the Council will consider the use of conditions or will seek to enter into agreements with the applicant to ensure that:

  • the value of any unaffected parts of the feature is retained or enhanced; or
  • new habitat is provided elsewhere to replace that lost; and/or
  • the existing site, or the habitat provided to replace that lost is properly managed/improved in the future.

POLICY LW8 - Protected species View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for proposals that will adversely affect protected species or their habitat, only if:

  1. The need for the development clearly override the importance of the protected species;
  2. The proposed development could not feasibly be located in a less sensitive location; and
  3. An agreement between the developer and the Council or a condition upon the permission will:
  1. Facilitate the survival of individual members of the species;
  2. Reduce disturbance to the minimum;
  3. Provide adequate alternative habitats to sustain at least the current levels of population of the species.

Justification

10.39.

Certain plant and animal species are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc.) Regulations 1994, and under specific legislation such as the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. [In North Kesteven, it is most common for development proposals to affect owls, bats or water voles]. Applicants must assess whether their proposal will affect any protected species (if necessary by commissioning a survey by a suitably qualified person or organisation) and, if it will, they must provide information concerning the species, the impact that their proposal will have, and the measures they propose to alleviate or compensate for that impact. When the Council receives a planning application that is likely to harm (either directly or indirectly) any protected species or its habitat, it will give significant weight to the protection of the species. The Council will seek advice from English Nature, and will permit harmful proposals only in exceptional circumstances. Such proposals will be allowed only if the benefits of the development to the community outweigh that of the protected species and, even then, the Council will need to be satisfied that the proposed development could not equally well be sited elsewhere, where it would not affect a protected plant or animal species.

10.40.

Even when a case can be made for a proposed development to be permitted where it will affect a protected species, the Council will wish to ensure that harm to the species is minimised. Thus, the Council is likely to either seek to enter into an agreement with the applicant or to attach conditions to any approval to: facilitate the survival of individual members of the species; reduce disturbance to the minimum; and provide adequate alternative habitats to sustain at least the current levels of population of the species.

10.41.

Developers should note that, even if they have received planning permission to carry out works on a site affecting a protected species, they must still conform with any relevant statutory species protection provisions, and should therefore consult with English Nature. Furthermore, developers should be aware that, if they intend to carry out any works that would interfere with a badger sett, they will need to obtain a licence from English Nature.

10.42.

 >> 9. Development in the Countryside  /  >> 11. The Historic Environment

 

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