Approach to mitigation for recreational pressure on International Nature Conservation Designations

The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (as amended) includes the requirement for the Council to consider the potential impact of development on certain nature conservation designations. This includes Special Protection Areas (SPA) and Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), which are designated for bird species and habitats and other species respectively. National guidance advises that Ramsar sites should be treated in the same way; these are designated for wetlands of international importance.

Information is provided below in relation to the Council’s approach to two of the designations covered through this legislation in relation to recreational pressures – the Solent and Southampton Water SPA and the New Forest SPA. There are other international designations that may be affected by development across the Borough. For more information please see the Habitat Regulation Assessment page, which is available from the related pages link.

Solent and Southampton Water SPA
The Council has been working in partnership with a number of organisations to consider the potential for new residential development to impact on this designation. More detail on this research can be found at:

http://www.solentforum.org/forum/sub_groups/Natural_Environment_Group/Disturbance_and_Mitigation_Project/

As a result of this research, it has been identified that new residential development (falling within Use Class C3) within 5.6km of the Solent SPA designations, including the Solent and Southampton Water SPA, is likely to have a significant effect when considered in combination. The map below sets out the 5.6km zone.

The approach to mitigation was agreed by the Council’s Cabinet on 15th May 2014. Unless evidence can be provided to show that the proposal would not lead to a likely significant effect (when considered alone or in-combination), mitigation will need to be provided. This applies to residential proposals coming forward through a planning application or the prior approval process. Please see the attachments for more information. The Council is continuing to work with other organisations as part of the Solent Recreation Mitigation Partnership.

New Forest SPA
Through the Revised Local Plan, the Council has identified the potential for new residential development in the Borough to have a likely significant effect on the New Forest SPA when considered in combination. To address this matter in advance of the adoption of the Revised Local Plan, the Council has developed an interim mitigation framework in relation to this matter. This was agreed by the Council’s Cabinet on the 1st October 2014. A copy of the framework is available below.

This sets out that unless evidence can be provided to show that the proposal would not lead to a likely significant effect (when considered alone or in-combination), mitigation will need to be provided within the zone identified. Mitigation options are set out within the framework – applicants would need to discuss the appropriateness of mitigation options with the Council in relation to specific sites.