Sustainability Appraisal - Supplementary Report [EXAM 115/115B]

Ended on the 12th August 2020
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Appendix D

Revised SA Matrix for the Approaches to Distributing Development Growth

Table D.1 Updated SA matrix for the revised options for the Approaches to Distribution of Development Growth

SA Topic

SA Objective & Assessment of Effects

Nature of the likely sustainability effect (including positive/negative, short - medium term (5-10 years)/long term (10 - 20 years plus), permanent/temporary, secondary, cumulative and synergistic); Uncertainty

Approaches for Distribution of Growth

Option1 : New settlement (village scale) – 1,500-5,000 new homes

Option 2: New settlement (town scale) – more than 5,000 new homes

Option 3: Village extensions – especially those with services and facilities

Option 4: Growth around strategic roads

Option 5: Growth around sustainable transport hubs

Option 6: Urban extensions assumed to be 1,500-4,000

1. Housing

To ensure that the housing needs of all residents and communities are met

To ensure that the housing needs of all residents and communities are met

++?

++?

+?

++?

++?

++?

All the options have the potential for positive effects but there is some uncertainty about whether each option could provide sufficient housing to meet identified needs of all communities within the Plan area and/or housing needs outside the Plan area. The scale of new development in Options 1,2, 4, 5, and 6 for new settlements, transport corridors and urban extensions is more likely to have significant positive effects that will be cumulative in the longer term. For Option 3 village extensions, positive effects may only be minor since it is less clear that the scale of the identified need could be delivered.

All the options could provide an appropriate mix of types of housing but this is more likely to be deliverable with more certain significant positive effects for larger scale growth that is indicated by Options 1, 2 and 6. The scale and scope of a new settlement or urban extension is more likely to have significant positive effects for affordable and adaptable housing (including self-build, key workers and starter homes) which are critical issues for the CBC area. Development Management Polices in the Local Plan include specific housing requirements for starter, affordable, and supporting older people – these provide mitigation measures to help ensure that the mix of housing will be implemented with cumulative positive effects in the longer term. Option 2 with a town scale new settlement is more likely to offer more certainty and a wider range of housing.

All the options could offer an opportunity to help meet housing needs arising from outside the Plan area but there is uncertainty as effects depend upon proposals and specific locations.

2. Communities

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

+/-

+

-/+?

?

?

+?

The scale and scope of new settlements and urban extensions for Options 1,2 and 6 can promote new thriving and inclusive communities through good and early design with positive effects. Urban extensions at the larger settlements are also more likely to be able to integrate with existing communities. However, the potential for urban extensions to integrate with existing communities will depend in part on the design of new development. Community networks at these locations are likely to have higher levels of resilience when it comes to accommodating higher levels of growth. However, the potential for existing services and facilities at these locations to accommodate new residents will also influence the successful functioning of communities. This will depend on the capacity of existing provisions as well as the potential for new development to support the provision of new services and facilities. This is likely to be variable at different locations meaning the positive effects identified for option 6 are uncertain. The ability of villages to accommodate development growth under Option 3 is uncertain. Smaller settlements are likely to provide access to a smaller number of services and facilities with greater potential for these to become overburdened as new development occurs. Established community networks at smaller settlements may also be less capable of accommodating large numbers of new residents without being disrupted. However, potential negative effects for existing communities may be mitigated through reducing the number of new homes proposed; positive effects may be possible as new residents can invigorate or enhance communities – something that depends on scale and location. Similar effects are indicated for Options 4 and 5 for growth in transport corridors to the east (Area B) and north (Areas C and D) – uncertainty at this stage as depends upon scale and location. The key transport corridors to the south and west (Area A) pass through Green Belt land with the potential for negative cumulative effects.

Major development in Area A for all the Options will result in loss of the Green Belt (GB) with potential significant cumulative negative effects for identity and coalescence of existing settlements without significant landscape buffering. The Green Belt Study[1] has identified those areas that contribute strongly or weakly to GB aims. Therefore, uncertainty as effects depend upon scale and the precise location of potential development sites.

All the options have the potential for negative and/or positive effects with regard to integration and the identity of a settlement or community – uncertainty at this stage as this depends upon the sensitivity of the settlement/community and the scale/design of the development proposal. Whilst smaller developments might seem to be more readily integrated, larger developments can be more creative in scope and design offering enhancements to existing communities. This is acknowledged by Government, for example, with regard to the recent call for interest in locally-led garden villages[2].

3. Services & Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[3]

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[4].

+?

++?

+?

+/-?

+?

++?

All new development can ensure that there are no negative effects on existing facilities and services and all could have the potential to improve provision and accessibility. Options 1, 2, and 6 are likely to involve high levels of growth at a single location and therefore have the potential for negative effects on services as existing provisions might be overburdened by the high number of new residents. However, these options also have the greater potential for positive effects through early, creative masterplanning with the scale/scope to provide substantial new sustainable community infrastructure. A positive approach to masterplanning is also expected to help limit the potential for negative effects to occur.

While some of the locations for growth under Option 5 will not benefit from immediate access to substantial service provision (such as by the railway stations at Ridgmont, Millbrook and Kempston Hardwick), this type of growth will provide people who don't drive with easier access to services and facilities. Many of the larger settlements are along the strategic road network and therefore Option 4 could see some new development occurring at these locations where new residents would benefit from access to a high number of existing services and facilities. Development around the strategic roads would, however, also result in some smaller settlements accommodating high levels of development where service provision is not as strong. This approach would also be less beneficial for residents who do not have access to a car. Therefore, an overall mixed (minor positive and minor negative) effect is expected for Option 4.

The new settlements indicated in Options 1 and 2 are likely to have requirements for new infrastructure that will have a long lead-in time so positive effects are likely in the longer-term. Considering the lesser amount of growth that would be provided at a single location through Option 1 when compared to Option 2, the positive effect expected for Option 1 is likely to be minor while the positive effect expected for Option 2 is likely to be significant.

It is assumed that the scale of any new development as village extensions (Option 3) would be less than other options (acknowledging the likely limited capacity of villages) and likely to be at least less than 1,000 new homes such that effects will be reduced – both positive and negative. Village locations are also less likely to provide new residents with access to the wider range of existing services and facilities that are accessible at the District's larger settlements. A Development Management Policy: Provision for Social and Community Infrastructure is included in the Local Plan – developers will be required to deliver new facilities and services taking an integrated approach, ensuring timely delivery, and applying the principles of multi-functional space. This will provide mitigation measures for potential negative effects associated with the capacities of existing settlements to accommodate the additional growth - but still uncertainty for the as effects will depend upon the scale/scope of development and the precise location.

Potential allocation sites are being investigated, including testing separately through SA; with further mitigation measures being developed for any negative effects identified and to consider opportunities for enhancing potential positive effects.

4. Employment

To support the economy and ensure that there are suitable opportunities for employment

To support the economy and ensure that there are suitable opportunities for employment

+/-?

++/-?

-?

+?

++?

++?

All the options have the potential to provide a range of employment opportunities that are suitable for the skills of the workforce and will help to meet the identified needs of the communities. Milton Keynes, Bedford and Luton have a strong relationship with Central Bedfordshire, and Central Bedfordshire also sits within the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford Arc.

Development at and adjacent to existing larger settlements and as new settlements, tend to provide more sustainable employment to meet the needs of existing businesses, to attract future inward investment, and to be more resilient to change – with potential positive effects indicated for Options 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6. It is likely that the more substantial infrastructure provision that might be made at larger new settlements (Option 2) would do more to support employment growth than smaller new settlements, where infrastructure provision (including sustainable transport) is likely to be more limited. Therefore, the positive effect expected for Option 1 is likely to be minor while a significant positive effect is expected for Option 2. Both of these options are likely to result in some residents being located in areas of Central Bedfordshire where access to existing employment sites is more limited and therefore the positive effects recorded are expected in combination with a minor negative effect.

The limited scale for employment land opportunities through village extensions in Option 3 will not support the economic focus for larger warehousing facilities that must have good accessibility to transport corridors – potential for negative effects. This option is also is considered less likely to provide new residents with immediate access to the key employment sites in Central Bedfordshire, many of which are located in close proximity to the major service centres. Conversely, this indicates potential minor positive effects for Option 4 which is likely to respond positively to the specific opportunity for growth in the warehouse sector in Central Bedfordshire. Opportunities are particularly likely in Area C to the north west, Area B with the north-south corridor to the east, and Area A to the south east with London Luton Airport, including a new 24-hour light rail link between the railway station and the terminal. Uncertainty remains as depends upon precise locations.

Option 5 would ensure more people without access to cars are able to reach employment opportunities via sustainable transport links. These links are also likely to provide residents with sustainable means of reaching the important centres of Milton Keynes, Bedford and Luton outside of the District. Many of these sustainable transport links are concentrated at or in close proximity to the larger settlements in Central Bedfordshire where there are opportunities for further sustainable employment growth and where many of the existing key employment sites are located. Even where railway stations are located in areas which are not in close proximity to larger settlements (such as Ridgmont, Millbrook and Kempston Hardwick), key employment sites are in close proximity. The positive effect expected for Option 5 is likely to be significant. Furthermore, there is some potential for medium scale employment growth along the major transport corridor following the M1, A5 and the railway with positive effects for meeting employment needs of communities in Area A, particularly for Dunstable with higher rates of unemployment. Option 4 is considered less likely than Option 5 to provide a high number of residents with access to employment opportunities and therefore the positive effects expected are likely to be minor.

The potential to incorporate development at locations where infrastructure provision is currently strongest is likely to help support sustainable long-term employment growth in Central Bedfordshire. These locations also provide access to a high number of existing employment opportunities in the District. As such, a significant positive effect is expected for Option 6.

Options 4, 5 and 6 also offer opportunities to support and enhance the vitality and viability of town centres with the potential for positive effects but uncertainty at this stage as depends upon precise location.

Development Management Policies on Employment Sites and Uses are included in the Local Plan, including proposed strategic site allocations and guidance on use. These provide mitigation measures but still uncertainty for the SA as effects will depend upon the scale/scope of development and the precise location.

Potential allocation sites are being investigated, including testing separately through SA; with further mitigation measures being developed for any negative effects identified, and including possibilities for enhancement of positive effects.

5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

+?

++?

+?

+?

++?

+?

The delivery of new development has the potential to result in increased air pollution through increased numbers of journeys in the plan area. New development may also occur in areas particularly affected by air quality issues, to the detriment of human health. The topic of air pollution has been considered separately through SA objective 6.

All options have the potential for improving health and well-being through provision of new development which could incorporate Green infrastructure (GI), open space and opportunities for recreation but this is more likely to be implemented through the scale and scope of the larger development that is indicated for Option 6 with significant cumulative positive effects in the longer term. It is likely that Options 1 and 6 would provide some opportunities for the incorporation of new infrastructure which would benefit human health; however the scale of provision supported is likely to be less compared to Option 2 and therefore the positive effect expected for these options are likely to be minor. Careful and creative masterplanning will be needed to ensure that there are no negative effects for existing nearby communities and that opportunities for reducing any inequalities are identified. Uncertainty remains at this strategic stage.

The approaches for Options 4, 5 and 6 in Area A with its communities of high deprivation[5], particularly around Houghton Regis and the boundary with Luton, have the potential for positive effects – but uncertainty as depends on size and precise location of development. In these areas new development could support an uplift in indicators relating to deprivation, including health deprivation and disability, through the provision of new community infrastructure including open space. Also, there is potential for positive effects for deprived communities in Luton – with identified needs outside the Plan area. Care would be needed to ensure that existing health facilities and green infrastructure (GI) have the capacity to accommodate increased numbers of people.

It is likely that focussing growth around the sustainable transport hubs in Central Bedfordshire would result in residents making use of more active modes of transport on a regular basis. This is likely to result in health benefits and therefore the positive effects expected for Option 5 are likely to be significant.

The village extensions in Option 3 are assumed to be of less size than other options and thus less substantial effects are likely – both positive and negative.

The scale and scope of major developments, including new villages and towns, can offer thresholds for sustainable development through creative masterplanning with major improvements/provision of health services and GI. The positive effects of GI on health is well evidenced[6]. This is acknowledged by Government, for example, with regard to the ongoing trials for healthy new towns[7] that are seeking to rethink how health and care services can be delivered. There are two demonstrator sites at Bicester, Oxon and Northstowe, Cambs and these may provide lessons learnt that could be applied to Central Bedfordshire. The higher numbers in Option 2 (town scale) could place higher pressures on GI but also might facilitate more creative masterplanning – uncertain at this stage until further studies undertaken.

A Development Management Policy: Provision for Social and Community Infrastructure is included in the Local Plan – developers will be required to deliver new facilities and services and Green Infrastructure. This will provide mitigation measures but still uncertainty for the SA as effects will depend upon the scale/scope of development and the precise location.

6. Highways & Air Quality

To maintain and improve the existing highway network and reduce associated indirect impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions

To maintain and improve the existing highway network and reduce associated indirect impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions.

-?

+?

--?

-?

++?

+?

Strategic road links north-south in Central Bedfordshire are good but there are gaps for strategic movement east-west that will be improved with the A5-M1 link road[8] and the potential Expressway. Long journey times exacerbated by high out-commuting are established characteristics for the Plan area. Whilst the LTP3 identifies several strategic transport schemes that are either planned or under construction, the identified need for development growth will place demands on the capacities of the highway networks with the potential for cumulative negative effects in both short and longer terms – particularly for Option 4 where growth would be concentrated around strategic roads. Minor negative effects are expected for this option.

New settlements can be designed through creative masterplanning to minimise negative effects on the existing transport networks and contribute to resolving existing problems but may need major infrastructure investment with associated uncertainties of funding and timing – and this depends on precise likely location of development. Option 2 is particularly likely to achieve these types of benefits as larger settlements could create critical mass to support new infrastructure provision, thereby limiting the need for new residents to travel longer distances on a regular basis. By providing development at smaller new settlements, Option 1 is less likely to result in similar benefits, and a higher number of residents will need to travel regularly to access essential services. Therefore, minor negative effects are expected for Option 1. It is noted that the higher housing numbers within individual new settlements under Option 2 may exacerbate negative as well as positive effects. There is uncertainty at this stage of assessment until further site specific studies are undertaken. Mitigation measures are available for both of these options by locating near a railway station and other sustainable transport modes to reduce the additional loading on the existing network.

The scale of identified development growth spread around the larger villages in Option 3 is likely to have significant negative effects on the transport network as the villages are characterised by their rural nature (and with limited sustainable transport services – see SA Objective No 7 following) – and this will be synergistic and cumulative in the longer term. Approximately 50% of residents commute for work to surrounding areas predominantly using private vehicles[9]. Some mitigation is provided through focusing new development on those villages with services and facilities, thus reducing some need to travel, negative effects are still indicated unless employment is also provided and sustainable transport modes enhanced. Uncertainty remains until further locationally specific studies are undertaken.

It is likely that locating growth primarily around the sustainable transport hubs in Central Bedfordshire (Option 5) would reduce the need for new residents to use cars on a regular basis. Many of these locations are within or well related to the larger settlements and therefore are accessible to employment opportunities and (to a lesser extent) services and facilities. Sustainable transport links also allow for access to the settlements of Luton, Bedford and Milton Keynes which are of importance for some residents' employment needs. This option is also likely to help support the viability of sustainable transport links in Central Bedfordshire with benefits related to potential for reduced pressures on the road network and improved local air quality. Overall significant positive effects are expected for this option.

Urban Extensions as suggested through Option 6 have the potential to mitigate likely negative effects on the transport networks by careful masterplanning that minimises the need to travel by car because of the location of such developments adjacent to the larger settlements. The scale and scope of such developments is sufficient to support transport improvements with the potential for overall neutral effects – uncertainty at this stage as depends upon precise locations. There is potential for positive effects through Option 5 with growth around sustainable transport hubs that should reduce the need to travel by car.

Effects on traffic and the highway network will have concomitant effects on air quality. Significant negative effects are more likely to occur in the short-term as it is assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[10]. In 15 to 20 years' time low emission vehicles will make up the majority of cars on the roads in the UK. It is also likely that there will be reductions in various contributing sectors that will also help to address air quality issues and result in decreases in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, this is uncertain at this stage. These reductions in emissions, together with the potential improvements to strategic road infrastructure and public transport, could help to address air quality issues. Particular consideration will be needed for Sandy, Ampthill and Dunstable that have Air Quality Management Areas designated primarily due to traffic.

Development Management Policies are included in the Local Plan that specifically seek to mitigate transport impacts on the network, including requirements for a Travel Assessment and/or Travel Plan, and encouragement of low emission vehicles - this will provide more certainty of implementation of mitigation measures to reduce potential negative effects to neutral in the longer term. However, depends upon the overall scale and location of new development.

7. Sustainable Transport

To encourage a demonstrable modal shift and reduce the need to travel

To encourage a demonstrable modal shift and reduce the need to travel

+?

++?

-?

--?

++?

+?

Development within walking/cycling distance of mainline railway stations and services/jobs to discourage out-commuting will provide mitigation measures to reduce the potential negative effects.

Larger scale developments (particularly through Option 2 but also Options 1 and 6) have the scope for effective design and implementation of sustainable transport modes – cycling and walking – with the potential for significant positive effects for Option 2 in particular, especially if this can be linked into the limited networks available in the Plan area. Careful and early masterplanning will help to ensure that opportunities for a modal shift are progressed but uncertainty at this stage of assessment until further studies are completed. Larger scale development also offers the opportunity to support the delivery of proposed sustainable transport infrastructure such as the East-West Rail Link with significant positive effects.

While Option 1 would be similar to Option 2 in that it results in the creation of new settlements, the scale of development at each settlement would be lesser in comparison and so the potential for supporting new sustainable transport infrastructure provision is less. The scale of service delivery at these locations is also likely to be less meaning that residents are required to travel more regularly compared to Option 2. Overall the positive effect is expected to be minor for this option.

The scale of potential growth in village extensions in Option 3 may not be sufficient to support new provision of sustainable transport modes. The villages are characterised by rural roads and limited sustainable transport modes; there is also an issue for the long distances needed to access services and facilities in the rural area, encouraging car use. Mitigation measures are possible by limiting new development to a size and location focused around settlements with existing services and suitable sites. Potential for minor negative effects but depends upon location specificity and uncertainty remains until further studies.

Option 5 with growth around sustainable transport hubs will encourage the use of railways with positive effects where development is focused near to railway stations. However, rail use has been increasing and is predicted to continue increasing, so there are likely to be issues for capacity in the longer term. Larger developments are more likely to be able to provide cycling/walking/bus links to railway stations with cumulative significant positive effects. This option is most likely to directly support the viability of sustainable transport links in Central Bedfordshire. Option 4 could result in more people using cars day-to-day as growth would be focussed around the strategic road network. This option is considered is least likely to help encourage the achievement of modal shift in the District and therefore significant negative effects are expected.

Development Management Policies are included in the Local Plan that promote enhanced access to encourage more public transport use and ensure accessibility through realistic alternatives to use of the car – these will provide mitigation measures to reduce negative effects and confirm more certainty of potential positive effects for sustainable transport.

8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and withstand the effects of climate change[11]

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and withstand the effects of climate change

+?

+?

-?

--?

+?

+?

All development has the potential to result in increased levels of greenhouse gas emissions as new residents need to travel to work and essential services. Greenhouse gases will also result from the heating of new homes and the operation of new businesses. Where development is of a scale which will support the incorporation of new services and facilities and sustainable transport facilities this will help to reduce the need to travel regularly by car and the associated greenhouse gas emissions. Options 2 and 5 are considered most likely to achieve these benefits. The high level of growth provided at a single location through these options may also mean that the incorporation of renewable energy infrastructure may be more viable.

Option 3 is considered less likely to result in these types of benefits given the reduced scale of development involved and a minor negative effect is therefore identified. The provision of new settlements through Options 1 and 2 may allow for a masterplanning approach to design to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Minor positive effects are therefore expected for Options 1 and 2.

Option 4 is expected to have the most negative effects in relation to greenhouse gas emissions. This option would result in some new residents having good access to services and facilities as well as employment opportunities, considering that the strategic road network aligns with the large settlements in Central Bedfordshire in places. However, this approach would be least likely to encourage the use of alternative modes of transport. Significant negative effects are expected for this option. Conversely Option 6 is most directly expected to help reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions from car use and minor positive effects are likely.

The pattern of development that would result from Option 6 would allow new residents to make use of existing services and facilities at the large settlements, providing new growth in areas which are well related to these areas. The level of growth at new urban extensions would support some level of new infrastructure provision to prevent overburdening of facilities, which otherwise might create the need for some residents to travel further afield. Minor positive effects are also expected for this option.

It is noted that there is potential for minor negative effects during the construction phases for all options with some level of uncertainty at this stage of assessment.

9. Water Resources & Quality

To minimise the demand for water and maintain or improve water quality

To minimise the demand for water and maintain or improve water quality

+?

+?

?

?

?

+?

All development has the potential for high water efficiency and water neutrality but generally, the scale and scope of the larger developments, especially new settlements and urban extensions in Options 1, 2 and 6, offers potential possibilities for exemplar design and construction including local water reuse/recycling schemes where appropriate. This is particularly relevant in the Anglian Water region with issues for water resources – high population and relatively low rainfall. Minor positive effects are therefore expected for these three options.

The Anglian area is known to be under water resources stress[12] but water companies are under a statutory obligation to provide potable water regardless of the level of development growth. This has implications for the timing of necessary infrastructure – for water resources, wastewater treatment and the associated sewerage network. Some issues have already been identified with regard to the capacity of wastewater facilities at Chalton WWTW[13].

Uncertainty at this stage of assessment until more locational specificity.

Development Management Policies to protect environmental resources, including water quality, are included in the Local Plan. These will provide mitigation measures with likely residual neutral effects for both water resources and water quality, but still uncertainty for the SA as effects will depend upon the scale/scope of development and the precise location.

10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

?

?

?

?

?

?

A Development Management Policy on Flood Risk is included in the Local Plan in line with Government legislation and guidance to avoid and reduce flood risk. This will provide mitigation measures to reduce the potential for adverse effects but still some uncertainty for the SA objective as effects will depend upon the scale/scope of development and the precise location.

It is expected that the level of overall development required through each option would mean that a substantial amount of greenfield land would need to be developed. Therefore, all options are likely to have similar impacts in terms of increases in impermeable surfaces. The larger developments, including new settlements and Urban Extensions in Options 1, 2 and 6, have the scale and scope to provide creative design and potentially contribute to resolving existing flood risk issues. However, for all options the precise location of development in relation to flood risk areas will have the greatest bearing on the potential for new residents and businesses to be adversely affected.

11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil

To protect and conserve soil

+/-

+/-

-

-

-

+/-

Central Bedfordshire is predominantly rural being one of the least densely populated Unitary Council areas, however there are some more sizeable settlements within the District. Defra identifies small pockets of best and most versatile agricultural land situated largely around the borders of the Plan area, particularly surrounding Bedford and Milton Keynes, and an area surrounding Biggleswade[14]. However, most rural land is greenfield and less important agricultural land Grade 3b-5.

All development will take land and the soil resource will be lost with permanent negative effects. However, mitigation is available by avoiding the best and most versatile agricultural land resulting in residual minor effects.

The scale and scope of developments under Options 1, 2 and 6 tend to offer possibilities for higher densities of housing and the potential for soil/greenfield enhancement through Green Infrastructure networks, together with possibilities for allotments and community gardens. As such, minor positive effects are expected for these three options in combination with the minor negative effects also identified.

12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity and geodiversity

?

?

?

?

?

?

There are no European designated sites[15] within the Plan area although there are several outside the area and potentially within the Plan's influence. There are nationally (including SSSIs and NNRs) and locally important sites (including County Wildlife Sites) for biodiversity and geodiversity within Central Bedfordshire. These are distributed across Central Bedfordshire, meaning that some rural locations as well as some areas which are closer to the larger settlements (such as Houghton Regis Marl Lakes SSSI, Blow's Down SSSI, Dunstable and Whipsnade Downs SSSI all by Houghton Regis and Dunstable and Cooper's Hill SSSI by Ampthill) have importance for biodiversity and geodiversity.

Development Management Policies on Green Infrastructure, Enhancing Ecological Networks and Nature Conservation are included in the Local Plan and these will avoid important assets and thus avoid any significant negative effects. These Policies will provide mitigation measures with resultant potential neutral effects but still uncertainty for the SA as effects will depend upon the scale/scope of development, the precise location and the importance/sensitivity of local biodiversity and geodiversity.

The larger developments, including new settlements and urban extensions as in Options 1, 2 and 6, have the scale and scope to provide creative design and contribute to enhancement of green infrastructure and ecological networks – however, uncertainty until further studies and depends upon location. Opportunities for resolving existing problems and promoting aspirations for enhancing local biodiversity can be identified through the Environmental Framework[16]. Effects relating to biodiversity and geodiversity will also be influenced by the specific location of the new development which is unknown under each option at this stage.

13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

-

-

--?

-

-

--?

All development has the potential for negative effects on landscape and townscape. There are a number of sizeable towns in Central Bedfordshire and a significant proportion of the population resides in areas which abut Luton to the south east; however much of the plan area is predominantly rural meaning the potential for impacts on the landscape character may be particularly significant. There are also larger areas of flat land and high levels of tranquillity in the plan area. Vulnerability and sensitivity to change have been identified[17] for a number of settlements – this will be taken into account in further studies such that potential significant negative effects may be reduced to minor negative effects.

Extensions to the larger villages through Option 3 may have the potential for more significant negative effects as it may be more difficult to mitigate the cumulative effects throughout the dispersed and rural landscape of the area – effects will depend upon the scale and location of proposed development and uncertainty at this stage until further detailed studies including possibilities for local mitigation are undertaken.

Option 6 would involve urban extensions to existing settlements in the plan area. This could potentially lead to adverse impacts in terms of established townscape of the larger settlements. Furthermore, the settlements of Houghton Regis and Dunstable within the south east of Central Bedfordshire are in close proximity to or adjoin the Chilterns AONB. In comparison to the other options, Option 6 would probably result in the highest level of development occurring in that part of Central Bedfordshire. As such, Option 6 is considered most likely to have impacts on the setting of the AONB and therefore potential significant negative effects are identified.

The developments through Options 1 and 2 may also have the potential for greater negative effects as they would result in the creation of new settlements which is likely to disrupt existing landscape character where previously there was no development. These options also have the opportunity for more creative design and mitigation impacts relating to landscape character through careful early masterplanning. Development Management Policies on Landscape Character and Value are included in the Local Plan and these will avoid important assets and settings to avoid negative effects. They will provide mitigation measures but with likely potential cumulative negative effects overall due to the overall quantum of new development; however, still uncertainty for the SA as effects will depend upon the scale/scope of development and the precise location.

14. Historic Environment

To ensure the protection and enhancement of heritage assets, the historic environment and its setting

To ensure the protection and enhancement of heritage assets, the historic environment and its setting

?

?

?

?

?

?

The Plan area has a rich historical heritage with nationally and locally important assets. Impacts on these assets will be dependent in part of the specific location of new development. These impacts will also be influenced by the design of development and measures taken to ensure that significant adverse effects on the setting of heritage assets are mitigated. Uncertainty is therefore recorded for all options.

Development Management Policies on the Historic Environment are included in the Local Plan that aim to avoid harm to important assets and settings to avoid or mitigate any significant negative effects. These policies will further help to ensure the mitigation of adverse impacts, particularly where the siting of development means that harm cannot be avoided entirely. -


[1] LUC for Central Bedfordshire Council (September 2016) Green Belt Study

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/locally-led-garden-villages-towns-and-cities

[3] This relates to the provision of services and facilities, such as schools, healthcare centres, shops, and hospitality (café, restaurant, pub).

[4] This relates to the provision of services and facilities, such as schools, healthcare centres, shops, and hospitality (café, restaurant, pub).

[5] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/english-indices-of-deprivation-2015

[6] http://planningguidance.communities.gov.uk/blog/guidance/natural-environment/green-infrastructure/ ; Also, guidance from Natural England, Landscape Institute, RTPI, TCPA and http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/planning/green/plans.aspx

[7] https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/innovation/healthy-new-towns/

[8] Central Bedfordshire Local Transport Plan 3 (LTP3) 2011-2026

[9] ONS: Neighbourhood Statistics for Central Bedfordshire Local Authority

[10] http://ec.europa.eu/environment/air/transport/road.htm

[11] Please note that Flood Risk is considered by the SA within objective number 10

[12] Anglian Water, Water Resources Management Plan 2014

[13] JBA for Central Bedfordshire Council (Jan 2017) Water Cycle Study Stage 1

[14] Defra Magic Map Application

[15] Habitats Regulations Assessment for Central Bedfordshire Local Plan (2014)

[16] http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/environment/natural/environmental-framework.aspx

[17] LUC for Central Bedfordshire Council, Landscape Character Assessment (2016)

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