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West Mersea Sustainability Statement

Statement published14 April 2022, pursuant to Section 38A(9) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and Regulation 19 of the Neighbourhood..

IN THIS ARTICLE

West Mersea Neighbourhood Development Plan Sustainability Statement

This Statement is required by Regulation 16(4) of the The Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004.

Background

Colchester Borough Council decided by resolution under the Full Council urgency measures (Due to the legal requirement for the Full Council to ratify the results of the referendum within 8 weeks, this decision was approved in accordance with the urgency provisions contained in the Council Procedure Rules due to the Pre-Election period) on 8 April 2022 to make the West Mersea Neighbourhood Development Plan under Section 38A(4) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (as amended). The West Mersea Neighbourhood Development Plan forms part of the Development Plan for Colchester Borough.

The West Mersea Neighbourhood Development Plan covers the area designated by Colchester Borough Council as the Neighbourhood Plan Area in November 2016.

The West Mersea Neighbourhood Development Plan, the Strategic Environmental Assessment report, the Decision Statement pursuant to Section 38A(11) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and Regulation 111 of the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2010, and the Statement containing the particulars specified in Regulation 16(4) of the The Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004, and accompanying documents are available on Colchester Borough Council’s website: www.colchester.gov.uk

How environmental considerations have been integrated into the plan or programme

Environmental considerations have been integrated into the neighbourhood plan. The neighbourhood plan protects areas of green spaces, which will result in positive effects on the setting, identity and distinctiveness of West Mersea. West Mersea’s heritage assets will be protected through expecting that any listed building or heritage asset and their setting are maintained or where possible enhanced. Hedgerows which would be destructed or removed as a result of development, will be required to be replaced on the same site. The neighbourhood plan also protects existing footpaths, cycleways and bridleways and supports new developments which integrates with the current green infrastructure network. The Plan also seeks to provide protection and enhancement of designated habitats in their own rights and from the impact of new development; and ensures that where tourism is encouraged it respects the rural countryside, coastal character and natural habitat. The neighbourhood plan will avoid and mitigate likely significant effects in terms of recreational disturbance on Habitats sites in-combination by requiring contributions towards the Essex Coast Recreational disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy. The neighbourhood plan includes policies which promote good design and sustainable transport.

How the environmental report has been taken into account

The environmental report was prepared alongside plan preparation.

As the Plan does not make allocations for housing sites, the comments on the Environmental Report were limited. The three Statutory Bodies – Natural England, Historic England and Environment Agency responded and confirmed that the West Mersea Neighbourhood Plan will not have any significant effects on the designated sites. No amendments or requirements for mitigation were recommended as the Policies adequately cover the relevant issues.

How opinions expressed in relation to the environmental report have been taken into account

One representation was received in relation to the environment report. This was from Natural England who suggested a wider use of indicators and wider scope of one objective to include other aspects of the natural environment as opposed to conserving and enhancing biodiversity. The local planning authority and qualifying body agreed that they would be happy to give further consideration to this as part of monitoring.

How the results of any consultations entered into under regulation 14(4) have been taken into account

No consultations under regulation 14(4) were entered into.

The reasons for choosing the plan or programme as adopted, in the light of the other reasonable alternatives dealt with

The Plan does not allocate sites for Housing so there were a limited number of alternatives as the majority of policies look at the principles of promoting sustainable development and meeting the needs of the town within the plan period, adding to the principles established in the Colchester Local Plan which provides the Strategic Planning Framework.

The measures that are to be taken to monitor the significant environmental effects of the implementation of the plan or programme

Colchester Borough Council produces an Annual Monitoring Report, which monitors the implementation of planning policies. It includes a range of environmental indicators, which will be used to monitor the significant environmental effects of the implementation of the plan.

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