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

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Appendix G

SA Matrices for the Reasonable Alternative Employment Site Options

Aspley Guise Triangle/Milton Keynes South East Opportunity Area

Aspley Guise Triangle/Milton Keynes South East Opportunity Area

Employment Land/Jobs: 350ha) (Submitted Developable Area: 130-150 ha)

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

1. Housing

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

No housing is being proposed as part of this employment option. Likely neutral effect.

0

2. Communities

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

The employment site option is not within the Green Belt.

Development at this site will expand the urban area of Aspley Guise north and is unlikely to contribute to coalescence given the existing barrier of the M1 motorway; locating new development to the north should avoid potential coalescence with Milton Keynes to the west. The expansion north of the settlement of Aspley however is considered less likely to effectively integrate with existing development given the existing railway line providing a barrier for movement and connection with the existing urban form. Development in this area would require significant infrastructure investment to overcome this barrier, although the scale of the potential development could support this. Overall, it is therefore considered to have the potential for a minor long-term negative effect with some uncertainty at this stage of assessment.

0

-?

3. Services and Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[1]

Given the scale of the employment site option it is likely that sufficient services and facilities can be provided on site to satisfy the needs of the employees on site, without the need to travel offsite. Development at the site is in close proximity to services and facilities available within Aspley Guise and Milton Keynes. Development at the site is unlikely to lead to any significant effects against this SA Objective.

0

4. Employment

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

The option will deliver new employment land and jobs to support the economy with the potential for significant long term positive effects on the first part of this SA objective. The area is also well connected to J13 on the M1 for employment, and the proposed Ridgmont station for the East-West Link. Development in this location could also support the vitality and viability of local town centres, including Woburn Sands and Milton Keynes, with the potential for minor long term and cross-boundary positive effects.

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The site is not within or adjacent to an area of higher deprivation.

The Environmental Framework[2] identifies this area as located within Marston Vale, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have significant long-term positive effects against the second part of SA Objective 5.

0

++

6. Highways & Air Quality

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

Development of new employment land may generate increased traffic in this area, however, the site is adjacent to the strategic road network to the north where the A421 and M1 are located which may help to limit the potential for impacts relating to increased congestion resulting. Critical infrastructure needed for the delivery of the site has already been completed. The closest railway station is located within Aspley Guise within 100m to the south which is likely to help mitigate the potential for congestion to result. There are also numerous existing regular bus stops accessible in close proximity to the site within Aspley Guise and within Woburn Sands. The bus stops within Aspley Guise are within 100m of the site to the south.

Further mitigation is provided through Local Plan policies relating to transport. Potential overall for a residual uncertain minor negative effect. The precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain at this stage.

The site is not located within close proximity of an AQMA. It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[3]. 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 result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

-?

7. Sustainable Transport

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

The site is separated from the urban area of Aspley Guise by the existing railway line, however the site is located within 100m of Aspley Guise train station. Furthermore, access is available from the site to the bus service connections in Aspley Guise as well as the bus stops to the west of the site, along Lower End Road and within Woburn Sands. These locations, however, do not currently benefit from frequent services. The site will also have good access to the proposed EWR station at Ridgmont. There is potential for minor long term positive effects.

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8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[4]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development in this location can support the minimisation of in GHG emissions as development is delivered. This is further supported by relevant Local Plan policy on accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with relevant Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

+?

9. Water Resources & Quality

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

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this location lies within the Upper and Bedford Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[5] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 as a result of growth and reduced yield.

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of new employment land in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the employment option are considered to be in a poor overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from waste water'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

0?

10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

The site is located mostly outside of areas which are at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea[6]. A small section of the site (6%) is located within Flood Zone 2 and Flood Zone 3 and significant surface water flow path will restrict the layout of the development. Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities or Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable, with the potential for some positive effects. Likely residual neutral effects.

0

11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil[7]

Development in this location would predominantly result in the loss of greenfield land.

There is mostly Grade 3 (the split of sub-grade of this soil between 3a or 3b is not known) best and most versatile agricultural land in the site[8] with a significant negative effect. The site does not contain any previously developed land. Given that the location is greenfield land, development is unlikely to contain or require remediation for any contaminated land.

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0?

12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

There are no internationally designated biodiversity sites in or around the site. A SSSI (Wavendon Heath Ponds) is located south of the site[9] within 3.0km, however there is existing development between the site and the SSSI and a residual neutral effect is therefore likely.

There are two small County Wildlife Sites (CWS) almost immediately adjacent to the site to the south[10]. There are also Priority Habitats in the land surrounding the site, which includes Heath and Acid Grassland and Lowland Woodpasture & Parkland[11]. The site and the surrounding land are also located in the biodiversity network. Development in this location therefore has the potential to cause fragmentation of existing Priority Habitats, with the potential loss of ecological corridors and disturbance to the biodiversity network which is in the area. There is also potential for impacts on farmland species. However, mitigation is provided through relevant Local Plan policy on nature conservation.

There are opportunities for enhancement of the biodiversity network in the local area. There are opportunities to create new habitats along the railway line embankments to the south of the site, linking in with the biodiversity network. The Greensand Ridge Nature Improvement Area (NIA) is also located a short distance directly to the south of the site. Enhancing connections between the two CWSs and Priority Habitats with the NIA through new ecological corridors and biodiversity network improvements would result in benefits for both areas. The creation of new habitat sites in and around the site would also help improve the local biodiversity network. The existing rural footpaths in the site should also be maintained, as they allow existing residents access to open green space as well as connecting local settlements. The creation of the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway, which will pass to the north of Aspley Guise, will provide enhancement to the local biodiversity and GI networks, providing blue and green corridors which will allow wildlife movement, and creating new habitats, with biodiversity gains.

These enhancements would help meet the aims of the Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy[12] and the Central Bedfordshire Environmental Framework[13]. Overall there is the potential for long-term minor positive effects. A level of uncertainty is attached at this stage.

+?

13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This site is not located adjacent to or within the designated AONB landscape.

The site is within the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the potential to create high quality green infrastructure (identified against SA Objective 5) and landscape regeneration in new development and the need to protect the aquifers and quality of the River Great Ouse. Development in this site is considered overall to support these objectives.

The site is within the Salford-Aspley Clay Vale Landscape Character Area. Visually sensitive features in this area includes the views to the Greensand Ridge and Woburn, and landscape sensitive features include hedgerow patterns and remnant areas of deciduous woodland. The landscape strategy for the area focuses on conserving the subtle tributary valleys associated with the Great Ouse and enhancement/renewal of the landscape[14].

In all development at the site is considered unacceptable in landscape terms. The Aspley Triangle Vale is a distinctive landscape which needs to remain in an open condition. It has strong sense of place, and large scale development even as "villages" would detract from relative tranquillity and scale of the vale. Overall significant long term negative effects expected.

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14. Historic Environment

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

The site is located in close proximity to Listed Buildings in both Aspley Guise and Wavendon, as well as Conservation Areas in Aspley Guise and Husborne Crawley to the south. This includes Grade II Listed Buildings Chimney Cottage and Crossing House which are almost immediately adjacent to the site to the west and south respectively. The site also lies within the wider setting of Brogborough Ringwork Scheduled Monument and Woburn Abbey Grade I Registered Park and Garden. Given the scale of development at this location it is likely to affect the open countryside setting in between the settlements of Aspley Guise and Wavendon, and design will be required to respond to differing heritage settings in the south and west.

Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should ensure development does not lead to any significant effects on the settings of the Listed Buildings and the Conservation Areas with long minor negative effects but some uncertainty at this stage.

There are three small Archaeological Notification Areas within the site[15], in which development in accordance with Local Plan policy relating to archaeology could contribute to investigating and recording heritage assets of archaeological significance. The site contains above and below ground archaeological remains; but this would not prevent allocation providing appropriate mitigation is undertaken.

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Checkley Wood Garden Village

Checkley Wood Garden Village

Employment Land/Jobs: 364.89ha

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

1. Housing

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

No housing is being proposed as part of this employment option. Likely neutral effect.

0

2. Communities

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

The site is within the Green Belt. Approximately 40% of the site is located within Green Belt Area H with the remainder within parcel HAR2. Green Belt parcel HAR2 is considered to make a relatively weak contribution to the Green Belt. It is not expected that development of the site would it impact upon the Green Belt directly surrounding Leighton Buzzard.

The site is separated from the urban edge of by greenfield land and would not form an extension of this settlement. While the A5 would form a defensible barrier to the new development to the east, the position of the site between the settlements of Leighton Buzzard, Heath and Reach and Hockliffe could lead to perceptions of coalescence between these settlements. The contribution to coalescence of the settlements is considered to have the potential for minor long term negative effects on community identities; some uncertainty at this stage.

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-?

3. Services and Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[16]

Given the scale of the employment site option it is likely that sufficient services and facilities can be provided on site to satisfy the needs of the employees on site, without the need to travel offsite. The site would not be accessible to any of the town centre locations in the Plan area where the highest concentrations of services and facilities are provided. Development at the location is unlikely to lead to any significant effects against this SA Objective.

0

4. Employment

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

The option would deliver new employment land and jobs to support the economy with the potential for significant long term positive effects. Considering the distance from the site to the nearest town centre (Leighton Buzzard), opportunities for supporting and enhancing its vitality and viability are uncertain.

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The site is not within or adjacent to an area of higher deprivation in the District. There is an area of 20-30% most deprived in the northern portion of Leighton Buzzard, however, this is located more than 1.0km from the site.

The Environmental Framework[17] identifies this site as partly within the Ouzel River Valley, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. This will also support the objectives of the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area (see SA Objective 13). It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have significant long-term positive effects against SA Objective 5.

0

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6. Highways & Air Quality

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

Development of new employment land may generate increased traffic in this area. The site is adjacent to the A5 to the west. The site would potentially support the Heath and Reach bypass which would be a major benefit to the area, as well as significant improvements to the existing road network. These improvements and access to the A5 could help to mitigate increases in local traffic volumes. There are no railway stations or bus stops in close proximity to the site. The closest bus stops in Leighton Buzzard are within approximately 1.0km at Heath Road and additional bus stops are accessible within Heath and Reach at Leighton Road within 800m

Further mitigation is provided through Local Plan policies relating to transport. Potential overall for a residual uncertain minor negative effect. The precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain until at this stage.

The site is not located within close proximity of an AQMA. It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[18]. 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 result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

-?

7. Sustainable Transport

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

The site is not located in close proximity to a railway station or bus stop. The closest rail services to the site are accessible within Leighton Buzzard within 3.3km. The closest bus stops are accessible within Leighton Buzzard on Heath Road within 1.0km and within Heath and Reach on Leighton Road within 800m. A county cycle path and numerous footpaths cross the site which may provide some opportunities for users of the site to make use of active modes of transport. Considering the limited accessibility to rail links and bus stops but that some active transport routes are accessible form the site overall long term minor negative effects are expected.

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8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[19]

The site has been identified as having relatively limited access to sustainable transport links against SA Objective 7. It is therefore anticipated that development in this location would have limited potential to support the minimisation of in GHG emissions as development is delivered. Mitigation is likely to be achieved through Local Plan policy relating to accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Residual neutral effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

0?

9. Water Resources & Quality

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

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this site lies within the Upper and Bedford Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[20] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 as a result of growth and reduced yield.

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of new employment land in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the employment option are considered to be in a moderate and good overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from wastewater'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local plan Policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

0?

10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

The site is located mostly outside of areas which are at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea[21]. A small section of the site (less than 5%) is located within Flood Zone 2 and Flood Zone 3 and development should be designed to consider strategic suds/attenuation and may benefit from being split into drainage catchments. Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities or Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable, with the potential for some positive effects. Likely residual neutral effects.

0

11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil

Development in this location would result in the loss of large areas of greenfield. However, there are also areas within the site which have been used as quarries and other associated land uses. The site is mostly non-agricultural land with some smaller areas of Grade 3 (the split of sub-grade of this soil between 3a or 3b is not known) best and most versatile agricultural land in the site[22] with a significant negative effect.

Given the previous uses of the site there are various landfills, pits and industrial uses present which may require remediation. Development of the site may present opportunities to achieve remediation of contaminated areas, dependent upon site level surveys and investigations. Uncertain long term significant positive effects recorded.

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12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

There are no internationally designated biodiversity sites in or around the site. Two SSSIs lie within the site (Double Arches Pit and Nine Acres Pit) lie within the site boundaries. The largest of these, Nine Acres Pit SSSI, covers 6% of the site. Kings and Bakers Wood and Heaths SSSI is adjacent to the site to the north west.

The SSSI within the site boundaries are also County Wildlife Sites (CWS). King's and Baker's Woods and Heaths CWS covers much of the land to the west of the site and contains substantial areas of ancient woodland at Bragenham Wood. There are also Priority Habitats within the site, which includes Deciduous Woodland[23]. Development in this location therefore has the potential to cause fragmentation of existing Priority Habitats, with the potential loss of ecological corridors and disturbance to the biodiversity network which is in the area. Old minerals sites in this area represent key strategic opportunities for biodiversity meaning there is potential for enhancement. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to nature conservation.

There are opportunities for enhancement of the biodiversity network in the local area. The site is located within the Greensand Ridge Nature Improvement Area (NIA), within the Ouzel River Valley priority green infrastructure network corridor and the biodiversity network. Enhancing connections between Priority Habitats with the NIA and the GI network through new ecological corridors and biodiversity network improvements would result in benefits for both areas.

These enhancements would help meet the aims of the Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy[24] and the Central Bedfordshire Environmental Framework[25]. Overall there is the potential for long-term minor negative effects. A level of uncertainty is attached at this stage.

-?

13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This site is not located adjacent to or within the designated AONB landscape.

The site is within the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the potential to create high quality green infrastructure (identified against SA Objective 5) and landscape regeneration in new development and the need to protect the aquifers and quality of the River Great Ouse. Development in this site is considered overall to support these objectives.

The site is mostly within the Woburn Greensand Landscape Character Area. Visually sensitivities of this area include views to and from the adjacent low-lying, flat landscape. Tall development or unsympathetic felling on the ridge top in the area would be highly visible in views from the Vale. The landscape strategy for the area states that the approach should be to conserve key features including the ancient woodland, estate parkland and areas of pasture[26].

In all development at the site is considered unacceptable in landscape terms. The area benefits from a relatively open landscape character, with a strong visual relationship towards the more elevated historic estate landscapes to east. There is potential for development to have visual impacts within the site context and on the wider valued, more elevated historic estate / farmland landscapes associated with Woburn, Battlesden and Potsgrove. Mitigation of development to be achieved in a manner which is in keeping with the local landscape and planting character cannot be assured. Overall significant long-term negative effects expected.

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14. Historic Environment

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

The site is located in close proximity (within 120m) to Overend Green House Grade II Listed Building. Battlesden Park (Grade III Listed) is also located within 150m to the north east of the site but the A5 acts as a barrier between these areas meaning the potential for impacts upon the setting of this designated heritage assets is likely to be reduced.

Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should ensure development does not lead to any significant effects on the settings of heritage assets. The close proximity of these heritage assets and the existing rural character of the site means that residual long term minor negative effects are expected.

There are two Archaeological Notification Areas within the site[27], in which development in accordance with Local Plan policy relating to archaeology could contribute to investigating and recording heritage assets of archaeological significance. The site contains well preserved medieval archaeological earthworks and high status Roman remains are known to have been recovered from one of the quarries (Double Arches); but this would not prevent allocation providing appropriate mitigation is undertaken. Preservation in situ of the medieval earthworks may be required.

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Cranfield University Campus and Airfield

Cranfield University Campus and Airfield

Employment Land/Jobs: 238.17ha (Submitted Developable Area: 238.17ha)

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

1. Housing

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

No housing is being proposed as part of this employment option. Likely neutral effect.

0

2. Communities

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

The employment option is not located within the Green Belt, with a neutral effect.

The site includes land at and adjacent to Cranfield University which is designated as a Significant Facility in the Countryside. Employment development to the west of Cranfield would replace existing development at the airfield and university however the effect on the identity of the Cranfield would be influenced by the layout and design of the new development and mitigation might be achieved through appropriate landscape buffering. Therefore, residual neutral effects are expected in relation to settlement identity.

0

0

3. Services and Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[28]

Given the scale of the employment option it is likely that sufficient services and facilities can be provided on site to satisfy the needs of the employees on site, without the need to travel offsite. The option is in close proximity to the minor service centre of Cranfield which provides access to schools, multiple retail uses and a healthcare centre.

Development at the location is unlikely to lead to any significant effects against this SA Objective.

0

4. Employment

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

The option will deliver new employment land and jobs to support the economy with the potential for significant long term positive effects. The location contains existing bus stops at Cranfield University and is within 400m of additional existing bus stops which provide regular services to Bedford and Milton Keynes at High Street which will allow for increased access. Potential for significant long term cumulative positive effects but uncertainty of effects regarding opportunities for nearby town centres given that the site is not within close proximity to any of the principal or secondary town centres.

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The employment option is not within or adjacent to an area of higher deprivation and thus unlikely to lead to any significant effects.

The option includes previously developed land including an airport runway with a former inert landfill on site. Local Plan policies such as those relating to pollution and Health Impact Assessment provide mitigation measures regarding the protection of human health indicating neutral effects but some uncertainty at this stage of assessment. Previously developed and contaminated land are dealt with through SA Objective 11 Soils and Land and it is acknowledged that remediation would be required to safeguard the health of future occupiers.

The Environmental Framework[29] identifies that this area is not located within a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. However, it is considered that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure and habitat connectivity with the potential for minor long-term positive effects against SA Objective 5.

0?

+

6. Highways & Air Quality

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

The site is not immediately accessible to the strategic road network, however, there are no critical infrastructure requirements for development. The site is not within close proximity of a railway station, however, existing bus stops are located within the site at Cranfield University and also along High Street within 400m within Cranfield itself. These provide regular services to Milton Keynes and Bedford. As such, these services could help to mitigate increases in traffic associated with employees commuting to and from the site.

Given the scale of development it is anticipated that development can provide significant infrastructure investment, and mitigation is provided through relevant Local Plan policies with the potential for a residual uncertain minor negative effect. The precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain at this stage.

There is no designated AQMA in close proximity and therefore, no significant effects on air quality from traffic indicated at this stage. It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[30]. 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 result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

-?

7. Sustainable Transport

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

The site option is not within close proximity of a railway station. The nearest railways station is located within Lidlington which is approximately 4.7km to the south east. The site is connected to the existing urban areas of Milton Keynes and Bedford by regular bus services. It is anticipated that development in this location could accommodate viable extensions to such services (e.g. service number A1, A2, C1, C5, C10 and C11[31]) through appropriate development contributions. There is potential for a minor long term positive effect.

+

8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[32]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development at this site can support the minimisation of in GHG emissions as development is delivered. This is further supported by relevant Local Plan policy on accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long-term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

+?

9. Water Resources & Quality

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

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this site lies within the Upper and Bedford Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[33] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 as a result of growth and reduced yield.

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of new employment land in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the employment option are considered to be in a moderate overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from waste water'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan Policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

0?

10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

The employment option is not in an area at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea[34]. Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable, with the potential for some positive effects. Likely residual neutral effects.

0

11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil[35]

Only a small proportion of the site is greenfield land with the most northern parts of the site comprising Grade 3 agricultural land (although the sub-grade 3a or 3b is currently not known)[36]. Previously Developed Land amounts to approximately 90% of the site.

Given the nature of the land use at the site there may be contamination constraints and as described above under SA Objective 5 on health, contaminated land through previous uses is likely with the potential for negative effects. Local Plan policy relating to pollution should ensure that there will be no significant effects on health, and project level mitigation can ensure the appropriate remediation if necessary with the potential for minor positive effects through land restoration and helping resolve an existing sustainability problem – some uncertainty remains at this stage. Further positive effects through the potential redevelopment of some brownfield land.

0?

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12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

There are no internationally designated biodiversity sites in or immediately around the site. The closest SSSI to the site is Marston Thrift which is within 2.0km on the other side of the settlement of Cranfield.

Cranfield Manor Farm Meadow County Wildlife Site (CWS) is the closest designated site within 650m to the north east. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to nature conservation.

The employment site is also within close proximity of the Forest of Marston Vale , an environmental regeneration project covering 61 square miles between Milton Keynes and Bedford. There is the potential for improvement and enhancement of the biodiversity network. The site is in an area which has a limited biodiversity network, and so the creation of new ecological corridors and new habitats would help increase the ecological value of the area. While the site does not lie within a strategic green infrastructure corridor these enhancements would help meet the aims of the Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy[37] and the Central Bedfordshire Environmental Framework[38]. The biodiversity network runs to the east of Cranfield and there may be potential for improving links from the site to this network. There are a number of footpaths which cross the site (mostly from west to east) and these should be maintained to allow current and future residents access to greenspace and the CWSs. Overall, it is considered that there is the potential for long-term minor positive effects from the site, although some uncertainty at this level of assessment.

+?

13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This option is not located adjacent to or within the designated AONB landscape.

The site is within the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the potential to create high quality green infrastructure (identified against SA Objective 5) and landscape regeneration in new development and the need to protect the aquifers and quality of the River Great Ouse. Development in this location is considered overall to support these objectives with the potential for minor long term positive effects against SA Objective 13.

The site is also within the Cranfield to Stagsden Clay Farmland character area. The area is characterised by its open and exposed character with long, distant views and a strong skyline. A rural character is displayed over much of the area. The development at the airfield and university is, however, recognised as a strong visible presence in this area. Furthermore, the site itself comprises mostly previously developed land meaning the potential for significant adverse impacts are limited. The landscape strategy for the area focuses on enhancing and renewing the landscape and conserving its rural agricultural character. The Forest of Marston Vale Forest Plan should be referred to as the endorsed strategy for environmentally- and green infrastructure -led regeneration. Development at the site should integrate within rural setting via establishing significant, multifunctional landscape settings at its edges. Considering its mostly brownfield character, development at the site can contribute to the landscape strategy where applicable, with a positive effect. Some uncertainty until masterplanning completed.

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14. Historic Environment

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

The site is located within 400m of numerous Listed Buildings which are set within the existing development at Cranfield. The position of the Grade II Listed Buildings Hartwell Almshouses and 43 High Street at the western edge of the settlement means that the settings of these designated heritage assets are potentially most sensitive to new development. Development at the employment option may have an effect on the setting of these heritage assets, and therefore mitigation measures may be required. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should ensure development does not lead to any significant effects.

Parts of three Archaeological Notification Areas are located within the employment site option. The site has multi-period archaeological potential and contains a number of cropmarks but this would not prevent its allocation providing appropriate mitigation is undertaken. Development could investigate and record heritage assets of archaeological significance in accordance with Local Plan policy on archaeology, resulting in increased archaeological knowledge of the local area, however likely neutral effects with some uncertainty at this stage.

0?


Land adjacent to Popes Farm

Land adjacent to Popes Farm Georgetown Sandy, SG19 2AE

Employment Land/Jobs: 22ha (Submitted Developable Area: 21ha)

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

1. Housing

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

No housing is being proposed as part of this employment option. Likely neutral effect.

0

2. Communities

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

The employment site option is not within the Green Belt.

Development at the site option would be adjacent to the settlement of Sandy, although the presence of the A1 would act as a barrier between these locations. It is unlikely to contribute significantly to settlement coalescence. The settlement of Sandy has no clear historic or distinctive characteristics. There is opportunity for development to be complimentary, subject to layout and design. Therefore, residual neutral effects are expected in relation to settlement identity.

0

0

3. Services and Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[39]

Given the scale of the employment site option it is likely that sufficient services and facilities can be provided on site to satisfy the needs of the employees on site, without the need to travel offsite. Despite this, the option is in close proximity to the major service centre of Sandy which offers a wide range of service and facility provisions. Development at the location is unlikely to lead to any significant effects against this SA Objective.

0

4. Employment

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

The option will deliver new employment land and jobs to support the economy with the potential for significant long term positive effects. Sandy provides access to a railway station but this is located in the southern part of the settlement approximately 2.0km to the south east of the site. Also, opportunities for supporting and enhancing the vitality and viability of Sandy town centre with further positive effects.

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The site is not within an area of higher deprivation but is within 500m of Sandy LSOA which is in the 20-30% most deprived in England.

The Environmental Framework[40] identifies this area as located within Ivel River Valley, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have significant long-term positive effects against SA Objective 5.

+

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6. Highways & Air Quality

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

Though development of new employment land may generate increased traffic in this area it is located in close proximity to the strategic road network (the A1 is adjacent to the site), which may limit the potential for congestion to result. The closest railway station is located within Sandy but is still approximately 2.0km from the site to the south east. There are existing regular bus services accessible within 200m at Sandy on Sunderland Road which provide frequent access to Biggleswade.

Further mitigation is provided through Local Plan policies on transport. However, the precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain at this stage.

An AQMA has been declared along the A1 where it passes by Sandy[41] and development at this location is likely to result in increased levels of traffic within this area. A significant negative effect is therefore expected in relation to air quality. It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[42]. 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 result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

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7. Sustainable Transport

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

The nearest railways station is located within Sandy but is still approximately 2.0km from the site to the south east. There are bus stops within Sandy at Sunderland Road approximately 200m from the site to the south east. Services from these bus stops provide frequent access to Biggleswade. A number of footpaths also run through the site and the National Cycle network runs along the southern boundary of the site which may provide further opportunities for site users to make use of more sustainable modes of transport. There is potential for a minor long term positive effect.

+

8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[43]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development at this site can support the minimisation of in GHG emissions as development is delivered. This is further supported by Local Plan policy relating to accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

+?

9. Water Resources & Quality

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

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this site lies within the Upper and Bedford Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[44] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 as a result of growth and reduced yield.

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of new employment land in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the employment option are considered to be in a moderate or good overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from wastewater'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

0?

10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

A substantial portion of the site (approximately 40%) lies within Flood Zone 2 and Flood Zone 3[45]. Appropriate layout and flood mitigation measures would therefore be required. Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable. Likely minor negative effects overall.

-

11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil[46]

Development in this location would result in the loss of greenfield land. The site comprises mostly Grade 1 agricultural land with some small areas of Grade 3 agricultural land to the north. The sub-grade 3a or 3b of this land is currently not known[47]. As such development of the site is likely to result in the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land with a significant negative effect. However, an element of uncertainty remains in the agricultural land classification until lower level site assessments have been completed.

Given that the location is mostly greenfield land, development is unlikely to require remediation for any contaminated land. The site contains only a small area of previously developed land which comprises around 5% of its total area.

--?

0?

12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

There are no internationally designated biodiversity sites in or immediately around the site. The closest SSSI is Sandy Warren which is within 3.4km to the south east on the other side of the settlement of Sandy. Southill Lake and Woods SSSI is located within 7.4km to the south west.

Zwetsloots Pits County Wildlife Site (CWS) is adjacent to the site to the north west. South Mills Pits CWS and Rivers Ivel and Hiz CWS are also within close proximity to the site. South Mills Pits CWS is within 140m of the site to the south west and the Rivers Ivel and Hiz CWS runs to the west of much of the site within approximately 140m at the closest point. The site represents an important wetland corridor of regional value for habitats with a number of protected species associated with it. The Greensand Ridge Nature Improvement Area (NIA) is adjacent to the southern edge of the site. The employment option is also within the Ivel River Valley Green Infrastructure (GI) network and the biodiversity network[48]. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to nature conservation.

There is the potential for improvement and enhancement of the biodiversity network. Development could link existing undesignated habitat areas in the site with the local biodiversity networks and the NIA. This would provide major benefits for the local biodiversity network, and ecological benefits for the NIA. There is also the opportunity to create ecological corridors linking undesignated habitats with the biodiversity networks. Overall potential for the employment site to have a minor positive effect on biodiversity, through providing ecological enhancements beneficial to local biodiversity. A level of uncertainty is attached at this level of assessment.

+?

13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This option is not located adjacent to or within the designated AONB landscape.

The site is within the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the potential to create high quality green infrastructure (identified against SA Objective 5) and landscape regeneration in new development and the need to protect the aquifers and quality of the River Great Ouse. Development in this location is considered overall to support these objectives with the potential for minor long term positive effects against SA Objective 13.

The site is mostly within the Great Ouse Clay Valley Landscape Character Area. Visually sensitive features in this area include views across open water bodies (including the River Ivel) and along the river corridors enclosed by woodlands and the level topography means that tall structures and large scale buildings are highly visible in the area[49]. The landscape strategy for the area focuses on enhancing the strong links to the river landscape character and the tranquil, rural sections of riverside and open water bodies fringed by woodland.

In all the site has limited scope for development which is more likely to be acceptable where it is of a small scale. Development for distribution use is unlikely to be unacceptable. The area is vulnerable to urban fringe use and quality small scale development on southern part of site would be more acceptable if it secured sympathetic edge treatment. In all considering the potential sensitivities of the site residual neutral effects expected with some uncertainty at this stage.

0?

14. Historic Environment

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

The site is located within 50m of Dick Turpin Public House a Grade II Listed Building to the north. A number of Listed Buildings are located to the south of the site within Sandy along London Road, the closest of which is within 550m. Blunham Conservation Area is located within 570m of the site to the west. There are numerous Listed Buildings within this Conservation Area. Development at the site may have an effect on the setting of these heritage assets. The close proximity of the Listed Building to the north means it is particularly sensitive to new development. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which could help to mitigate significant effects. Residual minor negative effects expected given the close proximity of the Listed Building to the north.

There are parts of two Archaeological Notification Areas within the site. Development could investigate and record heritage assets of archaeological significance in accordance with Local Plan Policy relating to archaeology, resulting in increased archaeological knowledge of the local area. The site also lies within a landscape that is known to contain multi-period archaeological remains and includes cropmarks (recorded on the CBC Historic Environment Record) however this would not prevent allocation or development providing a suitable mitigation strategy is agreed. Likely neutral effects with some uncertainty at this stage.

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Land at Bedford Road, Husborne Crawley

Land at Bedford Road, Husborne Crawley

Employment Land/Jobs: 14.49ha (Submitted Developable Area: 14.49ha)

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

1. Housing

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

No housing is being proposed as part of this employment option. Likely neutral effect.

0

2. Communities

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

The employment site option is not within the Green Belt.

Development at the site option would not be located within close proximity to an existing settlement given that it is separately by Brogborough by the A421 and M1. It will therefore not contribute towards settlement coalescence. There are no significant historic or distinctive characteristics within the vicinity of the site which may be affected by development. Therefore, residual neutral effects are expected in relation to settlement identity.

0

0

3. Services and Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[50]

Given the scale of the employment site option it is likely that sufficient services and facilities can be provided on site to satisfy the needs of the employees on site, without the need to travel offsite. The site is located within 1.0km and 2.0km of Brogborough and Ridgmont to the north and south east respectively, both of which are small villages.

Development at the location is unlikely to lead to any significant effects against this SA Objective.

0

4. Employment

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

The option will deliver new employment land and jobs to support the economy with the potential for significant long term positive effects. Ridgmont railway station is located within 650m to the north east which is likely to provide some users of the site with improved levels of access. Uncertainty of effects regarding opportunities for nearby town centres given that the site is not within close proximity to any of the principal or secondary town centres in Central Bedfordshire.

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The site option is not in an area of higher deprivation and thus unlikely to lead to any significant effects.

The Environmental Framework[51] identifies this area as located mostly within Martson Vale, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have significant long-term positive effects against SA Objective 5.

0

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6. Highways & Air Quality

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

Though development of new employment land may generate increased traffic in this area it is located in close proximity to the strategic road network (the A421 and M1 are adjacent to the site), which may limit the potential for congestion to result. The closest railway station is located within 650m to the north east at Ridgmont which is likely to provide users of the site with suitable access to sustainable transport links. There are existing regular bus services accessible within Brogborough at Bedford Road and by Aspley Guise railway station to the north and west respectively within 1.0km and 1.2km.

Further mitigation for the likely negative effects is provided through Local Plan policies on transport. Potential overall for a residual uncertain minor negative effect. The precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain at this stage.

There is no designated AQMA in close distance and therefore, no significant effects on air quality from traffic indicated at this stage. It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[52]. 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 result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

-?

7. Sustainable Transport

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

The nearest railways station is located within 650m to the north east at Ridgmont. The location of the railway station in relation to the site is likely to provide users of the site with a good level of access to sustainable transport links. There are bus stops within Brogborough at Bedford Road and by Aspley Guise railway station to the north and west of the site within 1.0km and 1.2km respectively. However, these bus stops provide access to limited existing bus services. A footpath also runs through the site which may provide further opportunities for site users. There is potential for a minor long term positive effect.

+

8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[53]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development in this location can support the minimisation of in GHG emissions as development is delivered. This is further supported by Local Plan policy relating to accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

+?

9. Water Resources & Quality

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

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this site lies within the Upper and Bedford Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[54] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 as a result of growth and reduced yield.

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of new employment land in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the employment option are considered to be in a moderate overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from waste water'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

0?

10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

Small areas of the northern part of the site lie within Flood Zone 2 and Flood Zone 3[55]. Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable. Likely residual neutral effects likely overall.

0

11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil[56]

Development in this location will result in the loss of greenfield land. The site comprises mostly Grade 4 agricultural land with some small areas of Grade 3 agricultural land to the west. The sub-grade 3a or 3b of this land is currently not known[57]. While this area only comprises a small part of the site it is considered that there is the potential for the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land with a significant negative effect. However, an element of uncertainty remains in the agricultural land classification until lower level site assessments have been completed.

Given that the location is greenfield land, development is unlikely to contain or require remediation for any contaminated land. The site does not contain any previously developed land.

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12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

There are no internationally designated biodiversity sites in or immediately around the site option. The closest SSSI to the site is Wavendon Heath Ponds which is within 4.0km to the south and Marston Thrift which is within 4.2km to the north.

Aspley Guise Meadows County Wildlife Site (CWS) is the closest designated site within 1.1km to the south west. There is no Priority Habitat within the site; however it is adjacent to an area of Priority Habitat (Deciduous Woodland) to the north west beyond the A421. The Greensand Ridge Nature Improvement Area (NIA) is within 1.1km to south east of the site option at its closest point. The employment option is also within the Marston Vale Green Infrastructure (GI) Network and the biodiversity network[58]. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to nature conservation.

There is the potential for improvement and enhancement of the biodiversity network. Development could link existing undesignated habitat areas in the site with the local biodiversity networks, GI network and the NIA. This would provide major benefits for the local biodiversity network, and ecological benefits for the NIA. There is also the opportunity to create ecological corridors linking undesignated habitats with the biodiversity networks. Overall potential for the employment site to have a minor positive effect on biodiversity, through providing ecological enhancements beneficial to local biodiversity. A level of uncertainty is attached at this level of assessment.

+?

13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This option is not located adjacent to or within the designated AONB landscape.

The site is within the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the potential to create high quality green infrastructure (identified against SA Objective 5) and landscape regeneration in new development and the need to protect the aquifers and quality of the River Great Ouse. Development in this location is considered overall to support these objectives.

The site is also within the Salford-Aspley Clay Vale Landscape Character Area. Visually sensitive features in this area include the views to the Greensand Ridge and Woburn, and landscape sensitive features include hedgerow patterns and remnant areas of deciduous woodland. The landscape strategy for the area focuses on conserving the subtle tributary valleys associated with the Great Ouse and enhancement/renewal of the landscape. Development at the site can contribute to the landscape strategy where applicable. In all the site has very limited capacity for development. Despite the presence of M1 junction, the area is part of a rural vale which provides important foreground to the Greensand Ridge at Aspley Guise. The vale landscape of the Aspley Triangle within which the site lies, is considered to be important in own right and has been assessed through the LCA as having moderate–high sensitivity. Overall considering the sensitivity of the landscape a significant negative effect is expected with some uncertainty recorded at this stage.

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14. Historic Environment

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

The site is located within 500m of Brook Farmhouse, a Grade II Listed Building to the north west on the other side of the M1. The Grade II listed Ridgmont Station is also located on the other of the M1 within 670m of the site to the north east. Numerous Listed Buildings are also located within Husborne Crawley Conservation Area to the south of the site within 650m. Development at the employment option may have an effect on the setting of these heritage assets although the distance between the site and these features, the separation provided by the existing road network and their existing setting amongst residential development may limit the potential for adverse impacts. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should ensure development does not lead to any significant effects.

There are no Archaeological Notification Areas located within or in close proximity to the employment option. However, the site lies within a landscape that contains multiperiod archaeological remains (identified on the Central Bedfordshire Council Historic Environment Record). Archaeological remains would not prevent allocation or development providing that an appropriate mitigation strategy is undertaken. Likely neutral effects at this stage likely overall.

0


Land at Hitchin Road, Shefford

Land at Hitchin Road, Shefford

Employment Land/Jobs: 14.34ha` (Submitted Developable Area: 14.34 ha)

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

1. Housing

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

No housing is being proposed as part of this employment option. Likely neutral effect.

0

2. Communities

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

The employment site option is not within the Green Belt.

Development at the site option will not contribute towards settlement coalescence and is not expected to affect the character of Shefford. There are no significant historic or distinctive characteristics within the vicinity of the site which may be affected by development. Therefore, residual neutral effects are expected in relation to settlement identity.

0

0

3. Services and Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[59]

Given the scale of the employment site option it is likely that sufficient services and facilities can be provided on site to satisfy the needs of the employees on site, without the need to travel offsite. Despite this, the option is in close proximity to the minor service centre of Shefford which offers a range of service and facility provisions.

Development at the location is unlikely to lead to any significant effects against this SA Objective.

0

4. Employment

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

The option would deliver new employment land and jobs to support the economy with the potential for significant long term positive effects. Arlesey railway station is located within 3.0km to the east which may provide some users of the site with improved levels of access. Uncertainty of effects regarding opportunities for nearby town centres given that the site is not within close proximity to any of the principal or secondary town centres in Central Bedfordshire.

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The site is not in an area of higher deprivation and thus unlikely to lead to any significant effects.

The Environmental Framework[60] identifies this area as located mostly within Flit Valley, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have significant long-term positive effects against SA Objective 5.

0

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6. Highways & Air Quality

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

Though development of new employment land may generate increased traffic in this area, it is located in close proximity to the A507, which may limit the potential for congestion to result. The closest railway station is located within 3.0km to the east at Arlesey which may provide some users of the site with access to suitable transport. There are existing regular bus services accessible within Shefford at Clifton Road within approximately 1.0km. Bus services are also accessible within 500m of the site to the east at New Road, however, these services are much less frequent. Development at the site would involve the improvement and extension of existing roads.

Further mitigation is provided through Local Plan policies on transport. Potential overall for a residual uncertain minor negative effect. The precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain until at this stage.

There is no designated AQMA in close proximity and therefore, no significant effects on air quality from traffic indicated at this stage. It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[61]. 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 result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

-?

7. Sustainable Transport

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

The nearest railways station is located within Arlesey which is approximately 3.0km to the east. The location of the railway station in relation to the site is likely to provide only limited access to sustainable transport links for users of the site. The nearest existing regular bus services are accessible within Shefford at Clifton Road which is approximately 1.0km to the north and provide access to Hitchin and Bedford. Less frequent bus services are accessible at New Road to the east of the site within 500m. It is anticipated that growth in this location could accommodate viable extensions to the services at New Road in particular given the close proximity of the site. There is potential for a minor long term positive effect.

+

8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[62]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development in this employment site can support the minimisation of in GHG emissions as development is delivered. This is further supported by Local Plan policy relating to accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

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9. Water Resources & Quality

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

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this site lies within the Upper and Bedford Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[63] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 as a result of growth and reduced yield.

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of new employment land in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the employment option are considered to be in a moderate overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from waste water'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

0?

10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

The employment site is not in an area at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea[64]. Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable. It is, however, noted that existing downstream flooding problems associated with the watercourse at New Road to the east of the site have been identified. As such, development should be required not to exacerbate this issue. Likely residual neutral effects overall.

0

11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil[65]

Development in this option will result in the loss of greenfield land. The site comprises mostly Grade 2 best and most versatile agricultural land with a small area of Grade 3 agricultural land. The sub-grade 3a or 3b of this smaller area of land is currently not known[66]. It is considered there is the potential for the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land with a significant negative effect, however, it is recognised that there remains an element of uncertainty in the agricultural land classification until lower level site assessments have been completed.

Given that the location is greenfield land, development is unlikely to contain or require remediation for any contaminated land. The site does not contain any previously developed land.

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0?

12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

There are no internationally designated biodiversity sites in or immediately around the site. The closest SSSI to the site is Southill Lake and Woods which is within 4.8km to the north on the other side of the settlement of Shefford.

Henlow Pit County Wildlife Site (CWS) is the closest designated site within 110m to the south west beyond the junction of the A507 and Hitchin Road. There is no Priority Habitat within the site however it is adjacent to an area of Priority Habitat (Deciduous Woodland) to the north east. The Greensand Ridge Nature Improvement Area (NIA) is within 3.0km to north west of the employment option at its closest point. The employment option is also within the Flit Valley Green Infrastructure (GI) Network[67]. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to nature conservation.

There is the potential for improvement and enhancement of the biodiversity network. Development could link existing habitat areas in the site with the local biodiversity networks and the NIA. This would provide major benefits for the local biodiversity network, and ecological benefits for the NIA. There is also the opportunity to create ecological corridors linking undesignated habitats with the biodiversity networks. Overall potential for the employment site to have a minor positive effect on biodiversity, through providing ecological enhancements beneficial to local biodiversity. A level of uncertainty is attached at this level of assessment.

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13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This option is not located adjacent to or within the designated AONB landscape.

The site is within the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the potential to create high quality green infrastructure (identified against SA Objective 5) and landscape regeneration in new development and the need to protect the aquifers and quality of the River Great Ouse. Development in this location is considered overall to support these objectives.

The local landscape assessment identifies the site as being located partially within the Upper Ivel Clay Valley[68]. The visual sensitives of the area include open views over arable farmland and the landscape strategy focuses on enhancing degraded features such as hedgerows and tree planting to increase biodiversity. It has been identified that there is very limited capacity for low key development at the site. Any development would need to be in keeping in scale, form and character with nearby existing built form and include landscape mitigation. Considering the sensitivities of the site, overall a significant negative effect is expected. Some uncertainty until masterplanning completed.

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14. Historic Environment

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

The site is located within 900m and 1.0km of numerous Listed Buildings to the north east and north which are set within the existing development at Clifton and Shefford respectively. The heritage assets at Clifton lie within the Clifton Conservation Area. Development at the employment option may have an effect on the setting of these heritage assets although the distance between the site and these features and their existing setting amongst residential development may limit the potential for adverse impacts. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should ensure development does not lead to any significant effects.

There are no Archaeological Notification Areas located within or in close proximity to the employment option. The site is considered to have low archaeological potential. Likely neutral effects likely overall.

0


Land at Marston Moretaine and Lower Shelton

Land at Marston Moretaine and Lower Shelton

Employment Land/Jobs: 182.00 ha (Submitted Developable Area: 182.00 ha)

SA Topic & 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

1. Housing

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

No housing is being proposed as part of this employment option. Likely neutral effect.

0

2. Communities[69]

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

Development in this area will not result in the loss of any Green Belt land. A negligible effect is therefore expected in relation to this element of the SA objective.

The site is located to the north and north-west of Marston Moretaine and would extend the built form of the settlement in this direction. This would erode the existing open space between Marston Moretaine and Cranfield, however it would not result in direct coalescence between the two settlements. The site would be adjacent to Lower Shelton and would result in coalescence with this settlement.

There is likely to be negative effects on the settlement identities of Marston Moretaine and Lower Shelton. Marston Moretaine is bordered by the A421 to the north, however development at the site would extend the settlement north of this road. There would also be loss of settlement identity for Lower Shelton which is a small linear development with rural qualities, and these characteristics may be lost as a result of development.

Considering the potential for development at the site to directly contribute to coalescence between Marston Moretaine and Lower Shelton, a significant negative effect is expected in relation to this element of the SA objective. Uncertainty is attached at this stage.

0

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3. Services & Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[70]

The site is in close proximity to existing services/facilities within Marston Moretaine[71]. This includes healthcare facilities, schools, pubs, restaurants and shops. The scale of development means there is scope for enhancements to access and provision of services/facilities. Given the scale of the employment site option it is likely that sufficient services and facilities can be provided on site to satisfy the needs of the employees on site, without the need to travel offsite. Development at the site is unlikely to lead to any significant effects against this SA Objective

0

4. Employment

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

The option will deliver new employment land and jobs to support the economy with the potential for significant long term positive effects. Stewartby railway station is located within 1.5km to the east which is likely to provide some users of the site with improved levels of access. The site is separated from the larger village of Marston Moretaine by the A421 and in any case is not in close proximity to any of the principal or secondary town centres. Uncertainty of effects are therefore recorded regarding opportunities for nearby town centres.

++

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities[72]

The site is not within or adjacent to an area of higher deprivation and thus unlikely to lead to any significant effects.

The Environmental Framework[73] identifies this area as located within Marston Vale, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. Development in this area can also support the objectives of the Community Forest of Marston Vale, which has been identified as a strategic area for landscape improvements, and support increased connectivity and regenerate land marred by industrialisation (from the brick making industry). The Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterway Park is a key project for this GI area, however this will be located outside of the site, although there are opportunities to provide GI benefits which link to this project.

Due to the strategic level of growth and the location of the site is considered that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure and blue infrastructure priorities and have long-term positive effects against SA Objective 5.

The site is in close proximity to a range of existing public open space. This includes Marston Vale Millennium Country Park, community woodland and informal recreation spaces.

Overall potential for long-term significant positive effects on health.

0

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6. Highways & Air Quality

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

The site is adjacent to the A421 and is therefore considered to have good access to the strategic road network. A short distance to the south (approximately 4.6km) the A421 provides access to the M1. Early transport modelling[74] identifies that infrastructure improvements, such as to the M1 J13 and other local highway issues, would be crucial given the level of stress and identified congestion on the strategic routes in this area. Development at the site would result in a significant increase on traffic in the local area, including on roads which experience congestion and a potential increase on traffic in nearby settlements such as Marston Moretaine, Lower Sutton and Cranfield.

Due to the strategic level of proposed development it is anticipated that development can provide significant infrastructure investment in the local road network which could mitigate against the increase in traffic as a result of development. Good sustainable transport links could also provide mitigation by reducing the reliance on private vehicle use. However, the precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain at this stage.

The nearest AQMA to the site is in Ampthill[75] some 5.5km away and development of the site is therefore unlikely to result in an increase in traffic in this area such that significant negative effects are not considered likely. It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[76]. 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 result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

Overall, a minor negative effect is expected in relation to this SA objective.

-

7. Sustainable Transport

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

The site is accessible to bus stops located within Marston Moretaine. The closest of these are located within 250m of the site to the south east. It is, however, noted that the A421 would act as a barrier. Services from these bus stops include regular (hourly or more) services to Bedford and less regular services to Lidlington and Milton Keynes. Development at the site could provide support the delivery of new bus stops and extend existing services to the site so people can access these public transport services through appropriate development contributions. This will reduce the reliance on private vehicles and help mitigate against any increase in traffic.

The site does not have direct access to a railway station, with the nearest stations approximately 1.5km away at Stewartby, on the opposite side of Marston Moretaine. Development at the site could contribute to improved access to the railway stations and contribute to meeting the objectives provided by the Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership, which aims to improve trains services. This would have positive effects on sustainable transport for the area.

National cycle route 51 is located to the south west of the site within 300m[77], and provides access to Bedford, Cranfield and Milton Keynes. There are existing PRoW paths in the site boundary which connect to the wider ranging PRoW network. Development at the site could have adverse impact in terms of the accessibility to these existing routes, independent upon the design of development, however, there are likely to be opportunities to improve access to existing routes and encourage uptake of more active and sustainable modes of transport.

Overall a minor positive effect is expected in relation to this SA objective.

+

8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[78]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development in this location can support the minimisation of in GHG emissions as development is delivered. This is further supported by Local Plan policy relating to accessibility.

As such, a minor positive effect is expected in relation to this SA objective, although an element of uncertainty is attached at this stage.

It is likely that this positive effect would occur in the long-term, particularly as new opportunities for renewable energy emerge as supported by planning policy.

+?

9. Water Resources & Quality

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

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this site lies within the Upper and Bedford Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[79] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 as a result of growth and reduced yield.

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of new employment land in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the employment option are considered to be in a moderate or good overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from waste water'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan Policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

0?

10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

The site is not in an area at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea[80]. However, significant overland flow path on eastern side of the site has the potential to limit the layout of development. Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems where applicable and there may be possibilities for enhanced effects to help resolve existing flooding problems but uncertain at this stage of appraisal.

Overall a neutral effect is expected in relation to this SA objective.

0

11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil

Development at this site will predominantly result in the loss of greenfield land (with the exception of a vehicle compound area, if this is included). Therefore, a negative effect is expected in relation to this element of the SA objective.

The site contains Grade 3 best and most versatile agricultural land (it is currently unknown whether the sub-grade is 3a or 3 b)[81]. It is recognised that there remains an element of uncertainty in the agricultural land classification until lower level site assessments have been completed. Given that the location is greenfield land, development is unlikely to contain or require remediation for any contaminated land. Given the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land a long term significant negative effect is expected in relation to this element of the SA objective.

The site does not contain a significant proportion of previously developed land, and therefore a neutral effect is expected in relation to this element of the SA objective.

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0?

12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

The option is not located near any internationally designated sites and is not located in the Nature Improvement Area. It is located within 160m of a nationally designated biodiversity site, Blow's Down SSSI (which is also designated as a County Wildlife Site (CWS))[82]. The SSSI is a rich and varied site with a large area of open, unimproved grassland[83], and contains Lowland Calcareous Grassland Priority Habitat. The SSSI may be negatively affected by potential development due to an increase in recreational use and potential increase in noise and light pollution. However, it should be noted that the SSSI is already in close proximity to existing development at Cranfield meaning the potential for significant effects to result are limited. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to nature conservation. The area at the south western boundary of the site falls within Marston Thrift LNR and also contains areas of ancient woodland. These areas would need to be avoided by any new development.

There are also a small number of CWSs in close proximity to the site. In addition to the CWS which covers the SSSI to the west, Stewartby Lake CWS is the closest of these designations. This designation is within 360m but is separated from the site by the A421. The northern part of the site, together with land to the north-west and west is also within the biodiversity network[84]. The site also lies partially within Marston Vale, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. Due to the presence of a number of different Priority Habitats as well as a LNR and CWSs, there is the possibility of negative effects, including habitat fragmentation and species disturbance. However, mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to nature conservation.

Enhancement could be achieved through increasing the connectivity of areas of Priority Habitats with the SSSI, LNR and CWSs in the surrounding area via new ecological corridors. Existing rural footpaths could also be developed to allow future residents better access to the area's natural environment, with positive benefits for health and green space access (see also SA Objective No 5). These enhancements would help meet the aims of the Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy[85] and the Central Bedfordshire Environmental Framework[86]. It is considered that there is the potential for long-term benefits for local biodiversity but some uncertainty at this stage. It is also recognised that the close proximity of areas of ancient woodland as well as multiple designated sites means there is potential for detrimental impacts as a result of habitat loss, disturbance or fragmentation.

Overall considering the potential for adverse impacts of development on the surrounding SSSI and ancient woodland against the potential for achieving biodiversity enhancements an overall uncertain long term minor negative effect is expected in relation to this SA objective. A level of uncertainty is attached at this stage.

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13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

The site is not located adjacent to or within the designated AONB landscape.

The site is within the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the potential to create high quality green infrastructure (identified against SA Objective 5) and landscape regeneration in new development and the need to protect the aquifers and quality of the River Great Ouse (SA Objective 9 outlines the available mitigation for such effects). Development at the site is considered likely to support these objectives.

The local landscape assessment places the site predominantly within the North Marston Clay Vale character area[87]. Visual sensitivities in this area include the extensive views and contrast between the open vale and woodland slopes. The landscape strategy for the area includes renewing the landscape which has previously been used for mineral extraction, and that regeneration should be environmentally-led. There may be opportunities to integrate development within wooded framework to a create sense of place.

Overall a long term positive effect is expected in relation to this SA objective. It is recognised that some uncertainty at this stage.

+?

14. Historic Environment

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

There are a number of Listed Buildings within or in close proximity to the site (Beancroft Farmhouse, Charity Farmhouse and Lower Wood End Farmhouse) that may be affected by development. The site also lies within the wider setting of the Moat Farm, Cranfield Scheduled Monument. Development may require mitigation measures to avoid negative effects on the settings of these Listed Buildings. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should ensure development does not lead to any significant effects.

The option also includes a number of Archaeological Notification Areas[88], in which development in accordance with Local Plan Policy on archaeology could contribute to investigating and recording heritage assets of archaeological significance.

Overall a minor negative effect is likely in relation to this SA objective. Uncertainty is attached at this stage.

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Land at Ridgmont (M1 Junction 13)

Land at Ridgmont (M1 Junction 13)

Employment Land/Jobs: Up to 35 hectares of employment land with up to 2,000 new jobs

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

1. Housing

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

No housing is being proposed as part of this employment site option. Likely neutral effect.

0

2. Communities

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

Green Belt land is located to the east and south of the site, but development will not result in the loss of Green Belt with a neutral effect.

The development of employment land is unlikely to significantly affect the identity of any settlements in the local area. Potential for neutral effects on settlement identity.

0

0

3. Services and Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[89]

Given the scale of the employment site option it is likely that sufficient services and facilities can be provided on site to satisfy the needs of the employees on site, without the need to travel offsite. The option is in close proximity to the major settlement of Milton Keynes and smaller settlements Woburn Sands and Aspley Guise which offer a wide range of service and facility provisions.

Development at the location is unlikely to lead to any significant effects against this SA Objective.

0

4. Employment

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

The site would deliver new employment land and jobs to support the economy with the potential for significant long term positive effects. The location is adjacent to Ridgmont railway station allowing for increased access. Potential for significant long term cumulative positive effects but uncertainty of effects regarding opportunities for nearby town centres.

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The site option is not within or adjacent to an area of higher deprivation and thus unlikely to lead to any significant effects.

The Environmental Framework[90]identifies this area as located within Marston Vale, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. Development in this area can also support the objectives of the Community Forest of Marston Vale, which has been identified as a strategic area for landscape improvements, and support increased connectivity and regenerate land marred by industrialisation (from the brick making industry). There is also the potential for enhancements to blue infrastructure through the delivery of the Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterway Park within the GI corridor.

It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have significant long-term positive effects against the second part of SA Objective 5.

0

++

6. Highways & Air Quality

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

Though development of new employment land may generate increased traffic in this area and early transport modelling[91] identifies that infrastructure improvements would be crucial given the level of stress on the strategic routes in this area, this is mitigated to a large degree by its location alongside the railway line, and potential for sustainable transport connections in this respect.

Further mitigation is provided through Local Plan policies relating to transport. Potential overall for a residual uncertain minor negative effect. The precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain at this stage.

There is no designated AQMA in close distance and therefore, no significant effects on air quality from traffic indicated at this stage. It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[92]. 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 result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

-?

7. Sustainable Transport

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

The employment site option is located adjacent to a railway line and Ridgmont railway station. Furthermore, the location will benefit from the East West Rail Link (EWR), with improved rail connections and access to services/facilities and employment. Ridgmont railway station also provides access to regular bus services towards Ampthill. There is significant potential for the creation of sustainable transport connections and to encourage a modal shift with significant long term positive effects.

++

8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[93]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development at this site option can support the minimisation of in GHG emissions as development is delivered. This is further supported by relevant Local Plan policy relating to accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

+?

9. Water Resources & Quality

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

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this location lies within the Upper Bedford and Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[94] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 as a result of growth and reduced yield.

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of new employment land in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the growth location are considered to be in a moderate overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from waste water'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

0?

10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

The employment site option is not in an area at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea[95]. Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable, with the potential for some positive effects. Likely residual neutral effects.

0

11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil

Development in this location would predominantly result in the loss of greenfield land. Some Grade 3 best and most versatile agricultural land (sub-grade 3a or 3b is not known)[96] has been identified within the site[97]. It is considered there is the potential for the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land with a significant negative effect, however, it is recognised that there remains an element of uncertainty in the agricultural land classification until lower level site assessments have been completed.

Given that the location is greenfield land, development is unlikely to contain or require remediation for any contaminated land, however as it is in close proximity to the motorway and potentially subject to contaminated water runoff this remains uncertain at this stage. There will be no regeneration of brownfield land.

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0?

12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

There are no internationally designated biodiversity sites in the employment site option or in close proximity to it, and no SSSIs, with no significant negative effects likely.

There is no Priority Habitat within the site[98]. Boughton End Grasslands County Wildlife Site (CWS) is north of the site[99]. The Greensand Ridge Nature Improvement Area (NIA) is a short distance to the east and south. There are several Biodiversity Networks in the area, including the Greensand Scarp Slope to the north and the Milton Keynes Corridor to the south. The site is also within the Bedford to Milton Keynes (Marston Vale) Green Infrastructure (GI) Network[100].

The area does not have a high number of biodiversity assets. However, development may have an effect on the local Priority Habitat and CWS through increased recreational use and loss or fragmentation of key habitat. Ecological buffers could be implemented to protect local biodiversity and Priority Habitats, and there is mitigation provided through relevant Local Plan policy relating to nature conservation.

There are a range of opportunities for development at the site to provide benefits for local biodiversity. The site is within the planned route for the Milton Keynes to Bedford Waterway, which will provide a range of biodiversity benefits for the local area by creating new green and blue corridors and creating new areas of habitat[101]. The site is also within the Forest of Marston Vale[102], an environmental regeneration project covering 61 square miles between Milton Keynes and Bedford. Development could link existing habitat areas in the site with the local biodiversity networks, the NIA and the proposed Waterway area. This would provide major benefits for the local biodiversity network, and ecological benefits for the NIA and waterway network. There is also the opportunity to create ecological corridors linking undesignated habitats with the biodiversity networks. Overall potential for the employment site to have a minor positive effect on biodiversity, through providing ecological enhancements beneficial to local biodiversity. A level of uncertainty is attached at this stage.

+?

13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This employment site option is not located adjacent to or within the designated AONB landscape.

The site is within the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the potential to create high quality green infrastructure (identified against SA Objective 5) and landscape regeneration in new development and the need to protect the aquifers and quality of the River Great Ouse. Development in this location is considered overall to support these objectives with the potential for minor long term positive effects against SA Objective 13.

The site is within the Salford-Aspley Clay Vale Landscape Character Type. Visually sensitive features in this area includes the views to the Greensand Ridge and Woburn, and landscape sensitive features include hedgerow patterns and remnant areas of deciduous woodland[103]. The landscape strategy for the area focuses on conserving the subtle tributary valleys associated with the Great Ouse and enhancement/renewal of the landscape. Development at the site can contribute to the landscape strategy where applicable, with a positive effect. Some uncertainty remains at this stage.

+?

14. Historic Environment

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

There are limited heritage assets in the area. The nearest Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings to the south of the junction are approximately 1km away[104].There is a Listed Building adjacent to the south of the site[105]. Approximately 1.5km north of the motorway there is also a Scheduled Monument[106]. Development at the site may have an effect on the setting of the heritage assets, and therefore mitigation measures may be required. Mitigation is provided through relevant Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should ensure development does not lead to any significant effects.

There are several, small Archaeological Notification Areas in the site. Development could investigate and record heritage assets of archaeological significance in accordance with Local Plan policy relating to archaeology, resulting in increased archaeological knowledge of the local area, however likely neutral effects with some uncertainty at this stage.

0?


Land at Wharley Farm

Land at Wharley Farm

Employment Land/Jobs: 88ha (Submitted Developable Area: 14.14ha)

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

1. Housing

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

No housing is being proposed as part of this employment option. Likely neutral effect.

0

2. Communities

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

The site is not within the Green Belt.

The site would not contribute to settlement coalescence. It lies to the north of Cranfield University, which specialises in science, technology and engineering. Appropriate employment development (i.e. specialising in science and technology) would be complimentary to existing development and could be integrated into the area.

0

+

3. Services and Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[107]

Given the scale of the employment site option it is likely that sufficient services and facilities can be provided on site to satisfy the needs of the employees on site, without the need to travel offsite. The option is in close proximity to the minor service centre of Cranfield which provides access to schools, multiple retail uses and a healthcare centre.

Development at the location is unlikely to lead to any significant effects against this SA Objective.

0

4. Employment

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

The option will deliver new employment land and jobs to support the economy with the potential for significant long term positive effects. The location contains existing bus stops at Cranfield University and is within 460m of additional existing bus stops at College Road which provide regular services to Bedford and Milton Keynes which will allow for increased access. Potential for significant long term cumulative positive effects but uncertainty of effects regarding opportunities for nearby town centres given that the site is not within close proximity to any of the principal or secondary town centres in Central Bedfordshire.

++

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The employment option is not within or adjacent to an area of higher deprivation and thus unlikely to lead to any significant effects.

The Environmental Framework[108] identifies that this area is not located within a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. However, it is considered that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure and habitat connectivity with the potential for minor long-term positive effects against the second part of SA Objective 5.

0

+

6. Highways & Air Quality

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

The site is not immediately accessible to the strategic road network, however, there are no critical infrastructure requirements for development. The site is not within close proximity of a railway station, however, existing bus stops are located within the site at Cranfield University along College Road within 460m. These provide regular services to Milton Keynes and Bedford. As such, these services could help to mitigate increases in traffic.

Given the scale of development it is anticipated that development can provide significant infrastructure investment, and mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to transport, with the potential for a residual uncertain minor negative effect. The precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain at this stage.

There is no designated AQMA in close distance and therefore, no significant effects on air quality from traffic indicated at this stage. It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[109]. 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 result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

-?

7. Sustainable Transport

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

The site option is not within close proximity of a railway station. The nearest railways station is located within Lidlington which is approximately 5.7km to the south east. The site is connected to the existing urban areas of Milton Keynes and Bedford by regular bus services. It is anticipated that growth at this site could accommodate viable extensions to such services (e.g. service number A1, A2, C1, C5, C10 and C11[110]) through appropriate development contributions. There is potential for a minor long term positive effect.

+

8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[111]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development in this site can support the minimisation of in GHG emissions as development is delivered. This is further supported by Local Plan policy relating to accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long-term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

+?

9. Water Resources & Quality

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

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this site lies within the Upper and Bedford Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[112] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 as a result of growth and reduced yield.

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of new employment land in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the employment option are considered to be in a poor overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from wastewater'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

0?

10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

The employment option is not in an area at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea[113]. Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable, with the potential for some positive effects. Likely residual neutral effects.

0

11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil

The site is made up of entirely greenfield land. The majority of the site (70%) comprises Grade 3 agricultural land (although the sub-grade 3a or 3b is currently not known)[114] with the potential for significant negative effects. There is no Previously Developed Land within the site and contamination issues are not expected.

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0?

12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

There are no internationally designated biodiversity sites in or immediately around the site. The closest SSSI to the site is Marston Thrift which is within 2.6km to the east on the other side of Cranfield.

Cranfield Manor Farm Meadow County Wildlife Site (CWS) is the closest designated site within 1.5km to the north east. Priority Habitat (Deciduous Woodland) is located adjacent to the north of the site. There is potential for development to result in habitat disturbance, fragmentation or loss. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to nature conservation.

The employment site is also within close proximity of the Forest of Marston Vale, an environmental regeneration project covering 61 square miles between Milton Keynes and Bedford. There is the potential for improvement and enhancement of links to the biodiversity network which runs on the eastern side of Cranfield. The site lies within an area which has a limited biodiversity network, and so the creation of new ecological corridors and new habitats would help increase the ecological value of the area. While the site does not lie within a strategic green infrastructure corridor these enhancements would help meet the aims of the Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy[115] and the Central Bedfordshire Environmental Framework[116]. There is a footpath which cross the site from west to east and a further footpath which runs along the southern boundary and these should be maintained to allow current and future residents access to greenspace and the CWSs. Overall, it is considered that there is the potential for long-term minor positive effects, although some uncertainty at this level of assessment.

+?

13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This option is not located adjacent to or within the designated AONB landscape.

The site is within the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the potential to create high quality green infrastructure (identified against SA Objective 5) and landscape regeneration in new development and the need to protect the aquifers and quality of the River Great Ouse. Development in this location is considered overall to support these objectives with the potential for minor long term positive effects against SA Objective 13.

The site is also within the Cranfield to Stagsden Clay Farmland character area. The area is characterised by its open and exposed character with long distant views and a strong skyline. A rural character is displayed over much of the area. Small scale development is considered appropriate with opportunities to enhance the existing development edge. The site appropriate for low rise development in scale with the university and farmland setting. Potential for long term minor positive effects. Some uncertainty at this stage.

+?

14. Historic Environment

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

There are no designated heritage assets within close proximity to the site. Numerous Listed Buildings are located within Cranfield to the east, however these are located more than 1.0km from the site and are set amongst substantial amounts of existing residential development which may reduce the potential for significant effects in terms of their respective settings. A moated site to the north of Cranfield has been designated as a Scheduled Monument and is located within 1.6km of the site. Mitigation of potential effects relating to heritage is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should ensure development does not lead to any significant effects.

A number of Archaeological Notifiable Areas are located to the north of the site. Furthermore, the landscape within which the site lies is known to contain multi-period archaeological remains and is noted to have archaeological potential. Development could investigate and record heritage assets of archaeological significance in accordance with Local Plan policy on archaeology, resulting in increased archaeological knowledge of the local area, however likely neutral effects with some uncertainty at this stage.

0?


Land at Winterwoods Farm

Land at Winterwoods Farm

Employment Land/Jobs: 36.2ha (Submitted Developable Area:36.2 ha)

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

1. Housing

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

No housing is being proposed as part of this employment option. Likely neutral effect.

0

2. Communities

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

The employment option is not located in the Green Belt with a neutral effect.

The site is not located adjacent to any existing settlements being separated from the settlement of Brogborough and existing employment sites to the west by the A421. The development of employment land is unlikely to significantly affect the identity of any settlements in the local area. Therefore, residual neutral effects are expected in relation to settlement identity.

0

0

3. Services and Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[117]

Given the scale of the employment site option it is likely that sufficient services and facilities can be provided on site to satisfy the needs of the employees on site, without the need to travel offsite. Despite this, the option is in close proximity to the major settlement of Milton Keynes and smaller settlement of Brogborough which offer a range of service and facility provisions.

Development at the location is unlikely to lead to any significant effects against this SA Objective.

0

4. Employment

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

The option would deliver new employment land and jobs to support the economy with the potential for significant long term positive effects. The site is located within 1.0km of Ridgmont railway station which will allow for increased access although it is noted that the A421 could act as a barrier. Potential for significant long term cumulative positive effects. Uncertainty of effects regarding opportunities for nearby town centres given that the site is not within close proximity to any of the principal or secondary town centres in Central Bedfordshire.

++

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The employment option is not within or adjacent to an area of higher deprivation and thus unlikely to lead to any significant effects.

The Environmental Framework[118] identifies this area as located within Marston Vale, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. Development in this area can also support the objectives of the Community Forest of Marston Vale, which has been identified as a strategic area for landscape improvements and support increased connectivity and regenerate land marred by industrialisation (from the brick making industry).

It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have significant long-term positive effects against SA Objective 5.

0

++

6. Highways & Air Quality

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

Though development of new employment land may generate increased traffic in this area it is located in close proximity to the strategic road network (the A421 and M1), which may limit the potential for congestion to result. Furthermore, the potential for increased traffic to be generated is likely to be mitigated to a large degree by its location within 1.0km of Ridgmont railway station where bus links are also accessible. Development at the site would also support the upgrading of existing highway access and provide a new roundabout on Salford Road.

Further mitigation is provided through Local Plan policies on transport. Potential overall for a residual minor negative effect. The precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain at this stage.

There is no designated AQMA in close distance and therefore, no significant effects on air quality from traffic indicated at this stage. It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[119]. 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 result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

-?

7. Sustainable Transport

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

The employment option is located within 1.0km of Ridgmont railway station although the A421 would potentially act as a barrier to access to this location from the site. The location will benefit from the East West Rail Link (EWR), with improved rail connections and access to services/facilities and employment. Bus connections are also accessible in close proximity to the train station. There is potential for the creation of sustainable transport connections and to encourage a modal shift with long term minor effects.

+

8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[120]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development in this employment site option can support the minimisation of in GHG emissions as development is delivered. This is further supported by Local Plan policy relating to accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

+?

9. Water Resources & Quality

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

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this site lies within the Upper and Bedford Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[121] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 as a result of growth and reduced yield.

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of new employment land in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the employment option are considered to be in a moderate overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from wastewater'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

0?

10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

The employment site option is not in an area at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea[122]. Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable, with the potential for some positive effects. Likely residual neutral effects.

0

11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil[123]

Development in this option will predominantly result in the loss of greenfield land. The site comprises Grade 3 best and most versatile agricultural land although the sub-grade 3a or 3b is currently not known[124]. It is considered there is the potential for the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land with a significant negative effect, however, it is recognised that there remains an element of uncertainty in the agricultural land classification until lower level site assessments have been completed.

Given that the location is greenfield land, development is unlikely to contain or require remediation for any contaminated land, however as it is in close proximity to the motorway and potentially subject to contaminated water runoff this remains uncertain at this stage. The option contains a small area of previously developed land (less than 5% of the overall site area) comprising commercial development located within its central portion. The land is good condition with no obvious signs of potential obstacles or contamination.

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0?

12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

There are no internationally designated biodiversity sites in or in close proximity to the employment site option, and no SSSIs, with no significant negative effects likely.

There is no Priority Habitat within the site[125]. Brogborough Lake County Wildlife Site (CWS) and Holcot Wood CWS are to the north east and north of the employment option within 1.2km[126]. The Greensand Ridge Nature Improvement Area (NIA) is within 1.5km to south of the employment option at its closest point. The employment option is also within the Bedford to Milton Keynes (Marston Vale) Green Infrastructure (GI) Network[127].

The area does not have a high number of biodiversity assets. The site is identified as part of a Great Crested Newt recolonization area with potential for enhancements relating to wet woodland. However, development may have impacts on farmland species as well as on the CWS through increased fragmentation of key habitat. Ecological buffers could be implemented to protect local biodiversity and there is mitigation provided through Local Plan policy relating to nature conservation.

The employment site option is also within close proximity of the Forest of Marston Vale, an environmental regeneration project covering 61 square miles between Milton Keynes and Bedford. Development could link existing habitat areas in the employment site with the local biodiversity networks and the NIA. This would provide major benefits for the local biodiversity network, and ecological benefits for the NIA. There is also the opportunity to create ecological corridors linking undesignated habitats with the biodiversity networks. Overall potential for the employment site to have a minor positive effect on biodiversity, through providing ecological enhancements beneficial to local biodiversity. A level of uncertainty is attached at this level of assessment.

+?

13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This employment site option is not located adjacent to or within the designated AONB landscape.

The option is within the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the potential to create high quality green infrastructure (identified against SA Objective 5) and landscape regeneration in new development and the need to protect the aquifers and quality of the River Great Ouse. Development in this location is considered overall to support these objectives with the potential for minor long term positive effects against SA Objective 13.

The site option is also mostly within the Salford-Aspley Clay Vale Landscape character area. Visually sensitive features in this area include the views to the Greensand Ridge and Woburn, and landscape sensitive features include hedgerow patterns and remnant areas of deciduous woodland[128]. The landscape strategy for the area focuses on conserving the subtle tributary valleys associated with the Great Ouse and enhancement/renewal of the landscape. Higher land is more visually sensitive. There is capacity within the site for small – mid scale development in scale with village gateway. It will be of importance to maintain rural character as development is delivered. Development at the site could contribute to the landscape strategy where applicable, with a minor positive effect. Some uncertainty at this stage.

+?

14. Historic Environment

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

The site option is located within 35m of the Grade II Listed Building Brook Farmhouse on the other side of Salford Road. Additional designated heritage assets are within 700m and 1.0km to the north (Grade II Listed Manor Farmhouse) and west (Grade I Listed Church of St Nicholas and Grade II Listed Hulcot Manor) respectively[129]. Development at the site option may have an effect on the setting of these heritage assets, and therefore mitigation measures may be required. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should ensure development does not lead to any significant effects. Considering the close proximity of the Listed Building on Salford Road in particular long term residual minor negative effects are expected.

One small Archaeological Notification Areas is adjacent to the western edge of the employment site option. The site lies within a landscape that is known to contain multi-period archaeological remains dating to the prehistoric, Roman and medieval periods. Development could investigate and record heritage assets of archaeological significance in accordance with Local Plan policy on archaeology, resulting in increased archaeological knowledge of the local area.

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Land East of Junction 11A and North of Vauxhall Plant

Land east of Junction 11A and north of Vauxhall Plant

Employment Land/Jobs: 74ha (Submitted Developable Area: 35ha)

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

1. Housing

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

No housing is being proposed as part of this employment option. Likely neutral effect.

0

2. Communities

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

Development in this site will result in the loss of Green Belt land. The Green Belt Study[130] identifies this land as falling within parcels L1 and L2. Parcel L1 is identified as making a relatively weak contribution to the Green Belt. The development of new employment land has the potential for significant negative effects through loss of Green Belt.

Development at the site location will expand the urban area of Luton north and contribute to the coalescence of Luton and Lower Sundon, with the site boundary approximately 170m from Lower Sundon as opposed to the current 800m between Luton's northern boundary and Lower Sundon[131].

The site is adjacent to the northern boundary of Luton, and therefore could integrate well with the existing urban area of Luton. The site is therefore considered unlikely to have a negative effect on the community or settlement identity of Luton. However, the site is likely to have impacts on the identity of the hamlet directly adjacent to Junction 11A, which forms an extension of Chalton, given that new development would adjoin this settlement. Furthermore, development would also likely have indirect negative effects on the identity of the settlement of Lower Sundon, as the rural character of the settlement may be degraded. Therefore, the site is considered to have the potential for minor long-term cumulative negative effects on communities. These effects are uncertain at this stage

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3. Services and Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[132]

Given the scale of the employment option it is likely that sufficient services and facilities can be provided on site to satisfy the needs of the employees on site, without the need to travel offsite. Despite this, the site is within close proximity to a range of existing services/facilities in North Luton. Development at the location is unlikely to lead to any significant effects against this SA Objective.

0

4. Employment

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

The option would deliver new employment land and jobs to support the economy with the potential for significant long term positive effects. Luton provides access to a railway station. This facility is located within approximately 1.7km to the south east of the site at Leagrave. There are no town centres in close proximity to the site, however, development in this location could also support the vitality and viability of Luton town centre, with the potential for minor long term and cross-boundary positive effects.

++

+

5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The site is not within or adjacent to an area of higher deprivation.

The Environmental Framework[133] identifies this area as located within both the Chalk Arc and Upper Lea River Valley strategic green infrastructure corridors. These corridors are identified as areas where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have significant long-term positive effects against SA Objective 5.

0

++

6. Highways & Air Quality

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

Though development of new employment land may generate increased traffic in this area it is located in close proximity to the strategic road network (the M1 is adjacent to the site), which may limit the potential for congestion to result. The closest railway station is located within Luton at Leagrave and is approximately 1.7km from the site to the south east. There is an existing regular bus stop accessible within 370m at Luton on Needham Road which provides access to frequent services.

Further mitigation is provided through Local Plan policies on transport. However, the precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain at this stage.

An AQMA has been declared along the M1 where it passes into Luton[134] and development at this location is likely to result in increased levels of traffic within this area. A significant negative effect is therefore expected in relation to air quality. It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[135]. 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 result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

--?

7. Sustainable Transport

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

The nearest railways station is located within Luton at Leagrave and is approximately 1.7km from the site to the south east. There are bus stops within Luton at Needham Road approximately 370m from the site to the south east. This bus stop provides access to frequent services. A footpath also run through the site and the National Cycle network runs within 220m of the southern boundary of the site which may provide further opportunities for site users to make use of more sustainable modes of transport. There is potential for a minor long term positive effect.

+

8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[136]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development at this site can support the minimisation of in GHG emissions as development is delivered. This is further supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

+?

9. Water Resources & Quality

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

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this site lies within the Upper Lee catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the requirement to provide good quality water for residential and business requirements.

It is also recognised[137] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 as a result of growth and reduced yield.

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of new employment land in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the employment option are considered to be in a moderate or bad overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from wastewater'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

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10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

None of the site lies within Flood Zone 2 or Flood Zone 3[138]. Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable. Likely neutral effects.

0

11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil[139]

Development in this option will result in the loss of greenfield land with the potential for long-term negative effects. The site comprises mostly Grade 2 agricultural land with some small areas of Grade 3 agricultural land to the north. The sub-grade 3a or 3b of this land is currently not known[140]. As such development of the site is likely to result in the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land with a significant negative effect. However, an element of uncertainty remains in the agricultural land classification until lower level site assessments have been completed.

Given that the location is mostly greenfield land, development within the site is unlikely to require remediation for any contaminated land. The site does not contain any previously developed land. However, the site is adjacent to land which previous served as a landfill for inert waste to the north.

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12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

There are no internationally designated biodiversity sites in or immediately around the proposed growth location. Sundon Chalk Quarry SSSI is adjacent to the site to the north on the other side of Sundon Road. The close proximity of the SSSI means that there is potential for adverse impacts in terms of habitat fragmentation and increases in light and air pollution.

The quarry has also been designated as a County Wildlife Site (CWS). Chalton scrub and grassland CWS and River Flit CWS are located to the north west of the site within 200m and 580m respectively. The site is adjacent to an area of Priority Habitat (Lowland Calcareous Grassland) to the north. The employment option is also within both the Chalk Arc and Upper Lea River Valley strategic green infrastructure corridors and the biodiversity network lies outside of the site to the north[141]. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to nature conservation.

There is the potential for improvement and enhancement of the biodiversity network. Development could link existing undesignated habitat areas in the site with the local biodiversity networks. There is also the opportunity to create ecological corridors linking undesignated habitats with the biodiversity networks.

Overall potential for the employment site to have an minor negative effect on biodiversity, weighing the potential for adverse impacts on the SSSI against the potential for achieving ecological enhancements. A level of uncertainty is attached at this level of assessment.

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13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This option is located within 320m of the AONB which is to the north east. Views from the wider AONB are to be taken into consideration as part of development of the site.

The site is within the Chilterns National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the need to conserve the Chilterns' groundwater resource and secure sustainable water use and to create or enhance green infrastructure in relation to the urban fringe and growth areas such as Luton to support the objectives of this landscape area..

The Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment[142]identifies the site option as being located within the Houghton Regis-North Luton Rolling Chalk Farmland area. The landscape has a high visual sensitivity and has a range of positive landscape features which includes the fields within the site which are an important survival of relict landscape and hedgerows providing landscape patterning. The strategy for the landscape area includes conserving and enhancing positive features (opportunities for hedgerow strengthening in relation to transport corridors)[143]. There are opportunities for development within the site to enhance infrastructure corridors, including the M1.

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14. Historic Environment

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

The site is located within 125m of Church of St Mary, a Grade I Listed Building to the north east within Lower Sundon. There are a number of additional Listed Buildings within Lower Sundon including Aubers Farmhouse, Chestnut Cottage and St Mary's Vicarage the closest of which is within 520m of the site. Development at the employment option may have an effect on the setting of these heritage assets. The close proximity of the Listed Buildings to the north east and the limited amount of existing development at Lower Sundon means they are particularly sensitive to new development. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which could help to mitigate significant effects. Residual minor negative effects expected.

There are several Archaeological Notification Areas in the site. Development could investigate and record heritage assets of archaeological significance in accordance with Local Plan policy on archaeology, resulting in increased archaeological knowledge of the local area. The site has multi-period archaeological potential but this would not prevent allocation providing appropriate mitigation is undertaken. Likely neutral effects with some uncertainty at this stage.

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Land East of M1, South of Broughton Road

East of the M1, South of Broughton Road

Employment Land/Jobs: 12.75ha (Submitted Developable Area: 12.75ha)

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

1. Housing

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

No housing is being proposed as part of this employment option. Likely neutral effect.

0

2. Communities

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

The employment option is not located in the Green Belt with a neutral effect.

The site is located next to a newly developed distribution centre and there is also an area towards the north west of the site which is being redeveloped for residential properties. The site would form an extension of the settlement of Milton Keynes and would sit beside other employment uses to the south. Development of the site would however result in Milton Keynes extending beyond the M1. The development of employment land is unlikely to significantly affect the identity of Milton Keynes however as the M1 may act as a barrier for users of the eastern portion of the site the neutral effect is uncertain.

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3. Services and Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[144]

Given the scale of the employment option it is likely that sufficient services and facilities can be provided on site to satisfy the needs of the employees on site, without the need to travel offsite. Despite this, the option is adjacent to the major settlement of Milton Keynes which offers a range of service and facility provisions.

Development at the location is unlikely to lead to any significant effects against this SA Objective.

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4. Employment

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

The option would deliver new employment land and jobs to support the economy with the potential for significant long term positive effects. The site is located at the north eastern edge of Milton Keynes, however, the closest railway station is located at Woburn Sands within 2.9km. Existing bus stop access is provided at Fen Street within 650m of the site to the south which may allow for some level of increased access to the site. Potential for significant long term cumulative positive effects. The site is not within close proximity of Milton Keynes town centre. Uncertainty of effects regarding opportunities for nearby town centres given that the site is not within close proximity to any of the principal or secondary town centres.

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The employment option is not within or adjacent to an area of higher deprivation and thus unlikely to lead to any significant effects.

The Environmental Framework[145] identifies this area as located partially within Marston Vale, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. Development in this area can also support the objectives of the Community Forest of Marston Vale, which has been identified as a strategic area for landscape improvements and support increased connectivity and regenerate land marred by industrialisation (from the brick making industry).

It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have significant long-term positive effects against SA Objective 5.

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6. Highways & Air Quality

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

Though development of new employment land may generate increased traffic in this area it is located adjacent to the strategic road network (the M1) which may limit the potential for congestion to result. The site has been assessed as being supported by the level of infrastructure provision being made in line with the growth of Milton Keynes. Furthermore, there are existing bus services accessible within 650m of the site at Fen Street which may help to mitigate increases in local traffic levels.

Further mitigation is provided through Local Plan policies on transport. Potential overall for a residual uncertain minor negative effect. The precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain at this stage.

There is no designated AQMA in close proximity and therefore, no significant effects on air quality from traffic indicated at this stage. It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[146]. 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 result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

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7. Sustainable Transport

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

The employment option is located within 2.9km of Woburn Sands railway station. Bus connections are also accessible within 650m of existing bus services on Fen Street which allow for regular access to Milton Keynes town centre. It is anticipated that growth in this location could accommodate viable extensions to such services (e.g. service number 300[147]) through appropriate development contributions. There is potential for a minor long-term positive effect.

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8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[148]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development at this site can support the minimisation of in GHG emissions as development is delivered. This is further supported by Local Plan policy relating to accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long-term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

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9. Water Resources & Quality

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

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this site lies within the Upper and Bedford Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[149] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 as a result of growth and reduced yield.

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of new employment land in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the employment option are considered to be in a moderate overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from wastewater'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

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10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

Majority of the employment option is not in an area at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea with 10.5% of its area within Flood Zone 2 or 3[150]. Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable, with the potential for some positive effects. Likely residual neutral effects.

0

11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil[151]

Development at this option would result in the loss of greenfield land with the potential for long-term negative effects. The site comprises Grade 2 and Grade 3 best and most versatile agricultural land although the sub-grade 3a or 3b is currently not known[152]. It is considered there is the potential for the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land with a significant negative effect, however, it is recognised that there remains an element of uncertainty in the agricultural land classification until lower level site assessments have been completed.

Given that the location is greenfield land, development is unlikely to contain or require remediation for any contaminated land, however as it is in close proximity to the motorway and potentially subject to contaminated water runoff this remains uncertain at this stage until lower level assessments have been completed.

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12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

There are no internationally designated biodiversity sites in or immediately around the site. The closest SSSI to the site in the District is Marston Thrift which is within 5.0km to the north east.

Salford Wood County Wildlife Site (CWS) is the closest designated site within 800km to the north. It is also adjacent to an area of Priority Habitat (Deciduous Woodland) to the south of the portion of the site on the east of the M1. The employment option is also within the Marston Vale Green Infrastructure (GI) Network[153].

The area is not in close proximity to a high number of designated biodiversity assets with the biodiversity network running to the east towards the settlement of Salford. However, development may have an effect on the local Priority Habitat and CWS through increased loss or fragmentation of key habitat. Ecological buffers could be implemented to protect local biodiversity and Priority Habitats, and there is mitigation provided through Local Plan policy relating to nature conservation.

The employment site option is also within close proximity of the Forest of Marston Vale , an environmental regeneration project covering 61 square miles between Milton Keynes and Bedford. There is the potential for improvement and enhancement of the biodiversity network. Part of the land has been identified as a great crested newt recolonization area so there is potential for habitat creation. There is an opportunity to link new ecological corridors to undesignated habitats and the wider green infrastructure network. Overall potential for the employment site to have a minor positive effect on biodiversity, through providing ecological enhancements beneficial to local biodiversity. A level of uncertainty is attached at this level of assessment.

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13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This employment option is not located adjacent to or within the designated AONB landscape.

The option is within the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the potential to create high quality green infrastructure (identified against SA Objective 5) and landscape regeneration in new development and the need to protect the aquifers and quality of the River Great Ouse. Development in this location is considered overall to support these objectives with the potential for minor long term positive effects against SA Objective 13.

The site is also mostly within the Salford-Aspley Clay Vale Landscape Character Area. Visually sensitive features in this area include the views to the Greensand Ridge and Woburn, and landscape sensitive features include hedgerow patterns and remnant areas of deciduous woodland[154]. The landscape strategy for the area focuses on conserving the subtle tributary valleys associated with the Great Ouse and enhancement/renewal of the landscape. Development at the site can contribute to the landscape strategy where applicable, with a positive effect. It should be noted that development should be provided at scale which does not dominate approach to Hulcote, with tree cover appropriate to ensure integration with hedges and existing woodland. Development should also retain countryside buffer between villages and extension of Milton Keynes. Some uncertainty until masterplanning completed.

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14. Historic Environment

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

The site is located within 1.3km of Salford which contains a number of Listed Buildings, including the Grade I Listed Church of Saint Mary the Virgin[155]. Development would be located at sufficient distance to limit the potential for significant adverse impacts on the setting of these designated heritage assets. In any case mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should ensure development does not lead to any significant effects.

The site contains part of one Archaeological Notification Area at its eastern edge. The landscape within which the site lies that contains multi-period archaeological remains and a number of cropmarks, however these feature would not prevent its allocation for development providing that an appropriate mitigation strategy is adopted. Development could investigate and record heritage assets of archaeological significance in accordance with Local Plan policy on archaeology, resulting in increased archaeological knowledge of the local area, however likely neutral effects with some uncertainty at this stage.

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Land West of the A1, Biggleswade

Land West of the A1, Biggleswade

Employment Land/Jobs: up to 60 hectares of new employment land with up to 2000 new jobs

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

1. Housing

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

No housing is being proposed as part of this employment site option. Likely neutral effect.

0

2. Communities

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

The employment site option is not located in the Green Belt. The development of employment land is unlikely to significantly affect the identity of Biggleswade. Further employment development to the west of the A1, however, could affect the identity of the small hamlet of Holme with the potential for minor negative effects on the second part of this SA objective. Development here would be located to the south and west of Holme, essentially surrounding the small hamlet. This will result in a loss of rural and separated character for the hamlet. It is recognised that this could be mitigated through appropriate landscape buffering, and the overall effects remain uncertain until masterplanning has been completed.

0

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3. Services and Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[156]

Given the scale of the employment site option it is likely that sufficient services and facilities can be provided on site to satisfy the needs of the employees on site, without the need to travel offsite. In addition, the site is in close proximity to the settlement of Biggleswade which offers a wide range of service and facility provisions.

Development at the location is unlikely to lead to any significant effects against this SA objective.

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4. Employment

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

The site option would deliver new employment land and jobs to support the economy with the potential for significant long term positive effects on the first part of this objective. The location is adjacent to Biggleswade within contains a railway station allowing for increased access. Potential for significant long term cumulative positive effects. Also, opportunities for supporting and enhancing the vitality and viability of the town centre with further positive effects.

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The employment site option is not in an area of higher deprivation and therefore, no significant effects are expected in relation to the first part of this objective.

The Environmental Framework[157] identifies this employment site option as within the Ivel River Valley, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. Opportunities for this area include creating a Green Wheel around Biggleswade, the proposed creation of the Great North Cycle Route, and potential GI linkages relating to Biggleswade Common. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. This will also support the objectives of the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area (see SA Objective 13). It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have significant long-term positive effects against the second part of SA Objective 5.

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6. Highways & Air Quality

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

Though development of new employment land may generate increased traffic in this area and early transport modelling[158] identifies that all new potential growth in this area is likely to have an impact on the A1, cause further congestion and require infrastructure improvements, this is mitigated to a large degree by its location in close proximity to Biggleswade railway station, and potential for sustainable transport connections in this respect.

Further mitigation is provided through Local Plan policies relating to transport. Potential overall for a residual uncertain minor negative effect. The precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain at this stage.

There is an AQMA in Sandy[159]. However, the employment site option is located some distance from this such that mitigation measures should be effective with likely neutral effects. It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards165. 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 result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

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7. Sustainable Transport

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

The employment site option is located in close proximity to Biggleswade railway station with the potential for long term positive effects. Development has the potential to extend existing bus services to enhance sustainable transport connections between the site and railway station thus encouraging a modal shift and enhancing the potential positive effects.

The unfinished national cycle route 12 is adjacent to the north of the site. Development can contribute to the cycle route, which connects with Biggleswade railway station, and have cumulative positive effects on sustainable transport. There are also opportunities to retain and enhance existing PRoW routes within the site, with associated positive effects.

The location adjacent to a major settlement in the Plan area also reduces the need to travel for many potential employees. However, the location is separated by the A1 and would require infrastructure in the form of a bridge or underpass to access the town and railway station, so there is uncertainty at this stage.

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8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[160]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development in this location can support the minimisation of in GHG emissions as development is delivered. This is further supported by relevant Local Plan policy on accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with relevant Local Plan policies, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long-term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

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9. Water Resources & Quality

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

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this location lies within the Upper Bedford and Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[161] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 as a result of growth and reduced yield.

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of new employment land in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the growth location are considered to be in a moderate overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from waste water'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

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10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

The employment site option is not in an area at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea[162]. Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable. Likely residual neutral effects.

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11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil

Development in this location would predominantly result in the loss of greenfield land. The site option contains Grade 1 and Grade 2 best and most versatile agricultural land[163]. Therefore, it is considered there is the potential for a long-term significant negative effect on soil resources. Given that the location is greenfield land, development is unlikely to contain or require remediation for any contaminated land, and will not redevelop brownfield land with a residual neutral effect on the second part of this SA objective.

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12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

There are no internationally designated biodiversity sites in the site, with no likely significant effects.

Southill Lake and Woods SSSI, designated for the presence of Broadleaved, Mixed and Yew woodland[164], is located approximately 5.5km to the west of the site[165]. Henlow Common and Langford Meadows Local Nature Reserve (LNR) is approximately 2.5km south west[166].

The Rivers Ivel and Hiz County Wildlife Site (CWS) is directly adjacent to Biggleswade[167]. Priority Habitat in the growth location is limited to the small individual blocks of Deciduous Woodland[168]. The Greensand Ridge Nature Improvement Area (NIA) is located a short distance to the north and west of the site. The Ivel Valley Biodiversity Network is located to the west of the site, and the esite is within the Ivel River Valley Green Infrastructure (GI) network[169].

Any areas of Priority Habitat and the CWS and LNR sites in the local area should be protected from development. The use of ecological barriers and buffer zones can achieve this and there is mitigation provided through relevant Local Plan policies relating to nature conservation.

Any development in the area could provide enhancements to local biodiversity by creating new areas of habitat and enhancing existing areas. Linking individual areas of Priority Habitat, and undesignated areas of habitat, via ecological corridors with the biodiversity network in the area will promote wildlife movement and improve local biodiversity and the creation of the Biggleswade Green Wheel may have benefits. The NIA, which is situated to the north and west, could be linked with the GI network and biodiversity network, with benefits for local greenspace and wildlife movement. Overall potential for the employment site to have a minor positive effect on biodiversity, through providing ecological enhancements beneficial to local biodiversity. A level of uncertainty is attached at this level of assessment.

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13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This site option is not located adjacent to or within the designated AONB landscape.

The site is within the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the potential to create high quality green infrastructure (identified against SA Objective 5) and landscape regeneration in new development and the need to protect the aquifers and quality of the River Great Ouse (SA Objective 9 outlines the available mitigation for such effects). Development at this site is considered overall to support these objectives with the potential for minor long term positive effects against SA Objective 13.

The site is within the Lower Ivel Clay Valley Landscape Character Area. The visual sensitivities of this area include views to the Greensand Ridge, views towards the river corridors and the historic value of Biggleswade Common[170]. The landscape strategy focuses on renewing degraded elements and creating new features. Development at this location can contribute to the landscape strategy for the Lower Ivel Clay Valley. Some uncertainty at this stage.

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14. Historic Environment

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

Heritage Assets in this site are limited. Biggleswade has a Conservation Area and Listed Buildings, however these are unlikely to be affected by development due to their location 2km north of the site[171], and the residential development located in between. Stratton Park Moated Enclosure Scheduled Monument is a short distance to the east[172], but with existing development located in between, development will not affect the setting of the Scheduled Monument. A Listed Building is in the site, and therefore there is the potential for development to affect the setting of the heritage asset. Mitigation may be required to protect the Listed Building and its setting. Local Plan policy relating to built heritage should ensure development does not lead to any significant effects.

There are several Archaeological Notification Areas in the site. Development could investigate and record heritage assets of archaeological significance in accordance with relevant Local Plan policy relating to archaeology, resulting in increased archaeological knowledge of the local area, however likely neutral effects with some uncertainty at this stage.

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New Spring Farm, Biggleswade

New Spring Farm, Biggleswade

Employment Land/Jobs: 31.97ha (Submitted Developable Area: 31.97ha)

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

1. Housing

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

No housing is being proposed as part of this employment option. Likely neutral effect.

0

2. Communities

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

The employment option is not located in the Green Belt.

The site would extend Biggleswade south, beyond the existing settlement pattern. The development of this area of employment land is however unlikely to significantly affect the identity of Biggleswade. Further employment development it located immediately to the north of the site. The development would form a logical extension of this existing area of employment development but could result in ribbon development along the A1. Potential for overall residual neutral effects on settlement identity.

0

0

3. Services and Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[173]

Given the scale of the employment site option it is likely that sufficient services and facilities can be provided on site to satisfy the needs of the employees on site, without the need to travel offsite. Despite this, the option is in close proximity to the settlement of Biggleswade which offers a wide range of services and facilities.

Development at the location is unlikely to lead to any significant effects against this SA Objective.

0

4. Employment

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

The option would deliver new employment land and jobs to support the economy with the potential for significant long term positive effects. The location is adjacent to Biggleswade within contains a railway station allowing for increased access. Potential for significant long term cumulative positive effects. Also, opportunities for supporting and enhancing the vitality and viability of the town centre with further positive effects.

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The growth location option is not in an area of higher deprivation and therefore, no significant effects.

The Environmental Framework[174] identifies that much of this site is located within the Ivel River Valley, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. This will also support the objectives of the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area (see SA Objective 13). It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have significant long-term positive effects against SA Objective 5.

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6. Highways & Air Quality

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

Development of new employment land may generate increased traffic in this area and this may cause further congestion and require infrastructure improvements along the A1 or proposed access through the adjacent Stratton Business Park. However, there is potential for increases in traffic volumes to be mitigated to a large degree by its location in close proximity to Biggleswade railway station, and potential for sustainable transport connections in this respect. Further mitigation is provided through Local Plan policies on transport. Potential overall for a residual minor negative effect, however there remains an element of uncertainty at this stage.

There is an AQMA in Sandy[175]. However, the site is located some distance from this such that mitigation measures should be effective.

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7. Sustainable Transport

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

The site is located in close proximity to Biggleswade which provides access to a railway station. This station is located within 2.5km of the site and there is potential for long term positive effects. Development has the potential to extend existing bus services to enhance sustainable transport connections between the site and railway station thus encouraging a modal shift and enhancing the potential minor positive effects. The location adjacent to a major settlement in the Plan area also reduces the need to travel for many potential employees.

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8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[176]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development in this location can support the minimisation of in GHG emissions as development is delivered. This is further supported by Local Plan policy relating to accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

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9. Water Resources & Quality

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

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this site lies within the Upper Bedford and Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[177] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 as a result of growth and reduced yield.

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of new employment land in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the growth location are considered to be in a moderate overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from wastewater'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will no detriment to service to customers or to the environment. With Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

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10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

There are no areas of high flood risk within the site[178]. Mitigation is provided in relation to this issue through Local Plan policy relating to flood risk management.

Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable, and there may be possibilities for enhanced effects to help resolve existing flooding problems with the potential for some positive effects but uncertain at this stage of appraisal. Likely residual neutral effects

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11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil

Development at this site will result in the loss of greenfield land with the potential for long-term negative effects.

The site comprises Grade 1 best and most versatile agricultural land[179]. it is recognised that there remains an element of uncertainty in the agricultural land classification until lower level site assessments have been completed. Given that the location is greenfield land, development is unlikely to contain or require remediation for any contaminated land. There will be no regeneration of brownfield land.

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12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

There are no internationally designated biodiversity sites in the site, or in close proximity to it, with no likely significant effects.

Sandy Warren SSSI, designated for the presence of lowland heath, semi-natural birch woodland and acidic unimproved grassland[180], is located approximately 5.4km to the north of the site[181]. Henlow Common and Langford Meadows Local Nature Reserve (LNR) is approximately 2.7km south west of the site[182].

Dunton Green Lane County Wildlife Site (CWS) is located within 875m of the site to the east. Stratton Park Balancing Pond CWS is within 950m of the site to the north[183]. There are areas of Priority Habitat (Deciduous Woodland) to the north of the site within 350m[184]. Parts of the site fall within the Ivel River Valley Green Infrastructure (GI) network[185]. A part of the biodiversity network runs along the eastern edge of the development at Biggleswade and lies within 1.0km of the site to the north. The site has also been identified as being of importance for farmland species.

The use of ecological barriers and buffer zones can achieve this the protection and enhancement of existing on site habitats and there is mitigation provided through Local Plan policy relating to nature conservation.

Any development in the area could provide enhancements to local biodiversity by creating new areas of habitat and enhancing existing areas. Linking individual areas of Priority Habitat, and undesignated areas of habitat, via ecological corridors with the biodiversity network in the area will promote wildlife movement and improve local biodiversity. Links to the GI network could be strengthened, with benefits for local greenspace and wildlife movement. Overall potential for the employment site to have a minor positive effect on biodiversity, through providing ecological enhancements beneficial to local biodiversity. A level of uncertainty is attached at this level of assessment.

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13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

This site is not located adjacent to or within the designated AONB landscape.

The site is within the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the potential to create high quality green infrastructure (identified against SA Objective 5) and landscape regeneration in new development and the need to protect the aquifers and quality of the River Great Ouse (SA Objective 9 outlines the available mitigation for such effects). Development in this site is considered overall to support these objectives.

The site is within the Lower Ivel Clay Valley Landscape Character Area. The visual sensitivities of this area include views to the Greensand Ridge, views towards the river corridors and the historic value of Biggleswade Common[186]. The landscape strategy focuses on renewing degraded elements and creating new features. Development at this location can contribute to the landscape strategy for the Lower Ivel Clay Valley. The site currently presents character of a large-scale arable vale and is a highly visible site. It acts as an attractive rural fringe to town and there is concern about the potential for development to spread south of the town. Given potential landscape sensitivities of the site but that mitigation might be achieved neutral residual effects are expected with some uncertainty at this stage.

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14. Historic Environment

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

The site is located within 350m of Grade II Listed Buildings: New Spring Water Pumping Station, Engine House and Pump Masters House which are to the south but separated from the site by the A1[187]. Additional Listed Buildings (including the Old Rectory and Church of St George) are located within 1.2km of the site along Sutton Lane. Scheduled Monument Stratton Park moated enclosure and associated manorial earthworks is located to the north of the site within 1.2km but existing employment development lies between the site and this heritage asset. Mitigation may be required to protect the setting of the New Spring Water Pumping Station in particular although the presence of the A1 between these locations may reduce the potential for impacts of development upon significance. Local Plan policy relating to built heritage should ensure development does not lead to any significant effects.

There are two Archaeological Notification Areas partially in the site. The presence of these areas within the site would not prevent allocation providing appropriate mitigation is undertaken. Development could investigate and record heritage assets of archaeological significance in accordance with Local Plan policy on archaeology, resulting in increased archaeological knowledge of the local area, however likely neutral effects with some uncertainty at this stage.

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Sundon Rail Freight Interchange

Sundon Rail Freight Interchange

Employment Land/Jobs: 40 hectares of new employment land with up to 2,000 new jobs

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

1. Housing

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

No housing is being proposed as part of this employment option. Likely neutral effect.

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2. Communities

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

The employment option is located within the Green Belt. The Green Belt Study[188] identifies the land as located within Parcel L2, all of which is considered to make a strong contribution to the purposes of Green Belt. Development therefore has the potential for significant long term negative effects on the first part of this SA objective.

The development of employment land here is unlikely to significantly affect the identity of any settlement as it is not located within or directly adjacent to a settlement but rather alongside the railway line, although Sundon village is nearby. Potential for neutral effects on settlement identity.

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3. Services and Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[189]

Given the scale of the employment site it is likely that sufficient services and facilities can be provided on site to satisfy the needs of the employees on site, without the need to travel offsite. The option is in close proximity to the major settlements of Luton, Houghton Regis and Dunstable which offer a wide range of service and facility provisions. Development at the location is unlikely to lead to any significant effects against this SA objective.

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4. Employment

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

The site options would deliver new employment land and jobs to support the economy with the potential for significant long term positive effects. The location is adjacent to a railway line in close proximity to Harlington and Leagrave railway stations. The proximity of Luton, Houghton Regis and Dunstable indicate opportunities to support and enhance the vitality and viability of town centres with further significant positive effects.

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The employment site option is in close proximity to deprived areas in the North of Luton. Development can therefore provide employment opportunities for local people, which will help address deprivations within the local communities, and a potential minor positive effect is identified in relation to the first part of this SA objective.

The Environmental Framework[190] identifies this area as located within The Chalk Arc, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. Of importance is The Chalk Arc Project[191] that focuses on securing green space in and around proposed housing growth. The area is identified in the Chalk Arc Project as Area D – North Luton and Chilterns priority zone. The aim here is to improve public perception of safety at the northern end of Great Bramingham Park and increase the site's biodiversity by improving an area of chalk grassland. Development in this area could also contribute to improving the visual impact of the Friends of Gill Blowers Community Orchard and wildflower meadow.

It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have significant long-term positive effects. This is further considered to indirectly positively affect the landscape objectives of the National Character Area 110: Chilterns (see SA Objective 13). There is a SSSI and CWS adjacent to the site and there may be potential to enhance these biodiversity sites as part of the overall green infrastructure for people and wildlife (see SA Objective No 12 following).

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6. Highways & Air Quality

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

Development of new employment land may generate increased traffic in this area and early transport modelling[192] identifies that development adjacent to Luton is likely to increase congestion for routes into Luton and other urban roads as well as links to the strategic highway network. However, the site will benefit from the North Luton Link Road, which will address existing congestion issues to the North of Luton. It is also noted that the proposed use of the site as a rail freight interchange would contribute to taking vehicles off the road, thereby having positive effects on the reduction of transport-related emissions.

Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policies relating to transport. Potential overall for a residual uncertain mixed (minor positive and minor negative) effect. The precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain at this stage.

There are three AQMAs in Luton[193] and one in nearby Dunstable. However, this option is located some distance from these AQMAs such that there are likely neutral effects. It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[194]. 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 result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

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7. Sustainable Transport

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

The employment site option is located adjacent to a railway line in close proximity to the existing railway stations at Harlington and Leagrave. The proposed use of Sundon RFI as a rail freight interchange means that it would help to take freight traffic off the roads. New bus connections to the existing stations serving the site would also support sustainable transport connections with the potential for enhanced positive effects.

There is the potential to provide a new cycle network to connect to National Cycle Route 6, which is to the south of the site[195]. A comprehensive footpath could also be provided to link with the North of Luton. There is significant potential for the creation of sustainable transport connections and to encourage a modal shift. The location adjacent to major settlements in the Plan area and just outside the Plan area (Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Luton) also reduces the need to travel for many potential employees.

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8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[196]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development in this growth location can support the minimisation of in GHG emissions as development is delivered. This is further supported by Local Plan policy relating to accessibility. The proposed use of Sundon RFI as a rail freight interchange also contributes to the positive effect identified as it would help to take freight traffic off the roads and reduce the associated greenhouse gas emissions.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with relevant Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

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9. Water Resources & Quality

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

The Water Cycle Study[197] identifies that this site option lies within the Upper Lea catchment, located on unconfined chalk geology, in which there are a large number of abstraction licences for groundwater resources, utilised for supporting the public water supply and agricultural uses. There is no surface water available for licensing across this catchment at any flow level as the recent flows are below the requirement to meet a Good Ecological Status. It is identified that no new consumptive licenses for groundwater will be granted in the catchment, and the water resources (for both surface and groundwater abstraction) are available less than 30% of the time, indicating pressures on the catchment for resources. It is also recognised[198] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources.

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of employment growth in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources.

The River Lee through Luton has been classified as poor quality with regard to the EU Water Framework Directive, but this is not near to this site. The option is not within zones 1-2 of any source protection zones and with Local Plan policies relating to water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality. Other policies such as on Sustainable Drainage offer possibilities for enhancement through resolving existing problems but this is uncertain at this stage.

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10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

The employment site option is not in an area at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea[199]. Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable, with the potential for some positive effects. Likely residual neutral effects.

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11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil

Development in this location will predominantly result in the loss of greenfield land. There is some Grade 2 best and most versatile agricultural land in the south of the area and some grade 3 (sub-grade 3a or 3b no known) in the west[200]. It is recognised that there remains an element of uncertainty in the agricultural land classification until lower level site assessments have been completed, however at this stage it is considered there is the potential for the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land, with a significant negative effect. Given that the location is greenfield land, development is unlikely to contain or require remediation for any contaminated land and will not regenerate brownfield land, with a neutral effect on the second part of this objective.

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12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

There are no internationally designated biodiversity sites in or immediately surrounding the employment site option, with no significant negative effects likely.

To the north and east of the employment site option is Sundon Chalk Quarry SSSI, designated for the presence of Fen, Marsh and Swamp Habitat, and for Calcareous Grassland, and is noted as being one of the most important invertebrate sites in the county[201]. Fancott Woods and Meadows SSSI is located to the north west, and is designated for its Neutral Grassland[202]. Both sites are also designated as County Wildlife Sites (CWS). Chalton Scrub & Grassland CWS is adjacent to the employment site in the south[203]. There may be possibilities to enhance these sites with positive effects for both wildlife and human health and well-being.

Nationally designated Priority Habitat at this option is largely located to the north, north west and east, around and within the SSSI and CWS sites. This includes Lowland Fens, Lowland Calcareous Grassland, Deciduous Woodland, and Lowland Meadows Priority Habitat[204]. However, the land in the south of the site contains a block of Deciduous Woodland Priority Habitat. The site is within the Upper Lea River Valley Green Infrastructure Network[205].

Due to the site's proximity to a SSSI, areas of Priority Habitat and CWS sites, there is the potential for minor negative effects. Negative effects could arise from an increase in noise and light pollution, an increase in recreational pressures and an increase in atmospheric pollutants, both during and after the construction phase. This could affect wildlife in the local area, as well as having harmful effects on local habitats. However, it is considered that there is mitigation provided through relevant Local Plan policies on nature conservation . This mitigation is likely to help ensure local biodiversity is not significantly negatively affected by the site option.

The option has the potential to provide enhancements to the local biodiversity. New areas of habitat could be created, and the creation of ecological corridors could be used to link isolated areas of Priority Habitat to the south and east, with benefits for local wildlife movement. There is also the potential to enhance and protect undesignated biodiversity features in the local area. Overall potential for the employment site to have a minor negative effect on biodiversity, considering the potential for adverse impacts on nearby designated sites (most notably the SSSI) weighed against the potential provision of providing ecological enhancements beneficial to local biodiversity. A level of uncertainty is attached at this stage.

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13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

The employment site option is in close proximity to the designated AONB landscape. Development at this scale has potential to negatively affect the AONB setting through urbanisation in a previously undeveloped area. It is recognised that there is some existing development between the site and the AONB, providing a buffer to some extent (Upper and Lower Sundon). However, adopting a precautionary approach the potential for significant long-term negative effects against SA Objective 13 are identified with an element of uncertainty at this stage.

The site is within the Chilterns National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the need to conserve the Chilterns' groundwater resource and secure sustainable water use (discussed further in SA Objective 9) and to create or enhance green infrastructure in relation to the urban fringe and growth areas such as Luton (discussed in SA Objective 5) to support the objectives of this landscape area.

The Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment[206] identifies the site as being located partly within the Houghton Regis-North Luton Rolling Chalk Farmland area. The landscape has a high visual sensitivity and has a range of positive landscape features which includes the fields within the site which are an important survival of relict landscape and hedgerows providing landscape patterning. The strategy for the landscape area includes conserving and enhancing positive features (opportunities for hedgerow strengthening in relation to transport corridors)[207].

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14. Historic Environment

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

The site does not contain any designated heritage assets. To the west (approximately 500m away) there are a small number of Listed Buildings in Chalton, on the opposite side of the M1, and to the east (approximately 800m away) there are a small number of Listed Buildings in Lower Sundon[208]. Although there is some screening present in the form of trees and hedges, mitigation is provided through relevant Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which should ensure development does not lead to any significant effects.

The employment site option does not contain any Archaeological Notification Areas. Overall likely neutral effect.

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West Sunderland Farm

West Sunderland Farm

Employment Land/Jobs: 380ha (Submitted Developable Area: Unknown)

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

1. Housing

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

No housing is being proposed as part of this employment option. Likely neutral effect.

0

2. Communities

To maintain and enhance community and settlement identities

The employment site option is not within the Green Belt.

Development at this site would expand the urban area of Biggleswade. Development has the potential to contribute towards the coalescence of Biggleswade with the village of Sutton to the north east of Biggleswade and to the coalescence with Dunton to the south east of the site. If development is to occur it will be important to retain the scale of open land between Biggleswade and the distinctive village of Sutton. The character of dispersed settlements is recognised as being of importance.

The site would represent a strategic increase to development to the east of the town of Biggleswade, which would alter the identity of the settlement. The rural and separated nature of the villages of Sutton and Dunton would also be negatively affected by development at the site. Overall potential for a minor negative effect on community and settlement identities although uncertain at this stage.

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3. Services and Facilities

To improve accessibility to services and facilities[209]

Given the scale of the employment site option it is likely that sufficient services and facilities can be provided on site to satisfy the needs of the employees on site, without the need to travel offsite. Despite this, the site is within close proximity to a range of existing services/facilities in Biggleswade. Development at the location is unlikely to lead to any significant effects against this SA Objective.

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4. Employment

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

The option will deliver new employment land and jobs to support the economy with the potential for significant long term positive effects. Also, opportunities for supporting and enhancing the vitality and viability of Biggleswade town centre with further positive effects.

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5. Health & Equality

To improve the health and wellbeing of communities and reduce inequalities

The site is not within or adjacent to an area of higher deprivation.

The Environmental Framework[210] identifies this site option as within the Ivel River Valley, a priority corridor of the strategic green infrastructure network. The priority corridor is identified as an area where investment and project delivery can make most impact in securing multi-functional green infrastructure. This will also support the objectives of the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area (see SA Objective 13). It is considered therefore that development in this area has the potential to support green infrastructure priorities and have significant long-term positive effects against SA Objective 5.

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6. Highways & Air Quality

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

Development of new employment land may generate increased traffic in this area. The site is not located in close proximity to the strategic road network and therefore congestion may result. The closest railway station is located within Biggleswade within 1.6km to the west which may help to mitigate the potential for congestion. There are numerous existing regular bus stops accessible within 400m of the site to the south at Biggleswade Road and to the west at Sullivan Court, which allow for access to Biggleswade town centre and Sandy.

Further mitigation is provided through Local Plan policies on transport. Potential overall for a residual uncertain minor negative effect. The precise likely impacts and effectiveness of mitigation measures are uncertain at this stage.

The site is not located within close proximity of an AQMA. It had been assumed that long-term air quality is likely to improve as a result of stringent emissions controls on new vehicles via European standards[211]. 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 result in reductions in background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. However, whilst there have been very significant drops in exhaust emissions, the NO2 emissions from road transport have not been reduced as much as expected because emissions during real world driving conditions are often higher than those measured during the type approval test, especially for diesel vehicles. The EU Commission has changed the test procedures (2017) and this discrepancy should resolve the predicted improvements in air quality in time. However, this is uncertain at this stage.

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7. Sustainable Transport

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

The nearest railways station is located within Biggleswade and is approximately 1.6km from the site to the west. There are numerous existing regular bus stops accessible within 400m of the site to the south at Biggleswade Road and to the west at Sullivan Court, which allow for access to Biggleswade town centre and Sandy. Numerous footpaths and a county cycle path also run through the site which may provide further opportunities for site users. There is potential for a minor long-term positive effect.

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8. Energy & Climate Change

To maximise the potential for energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission and ensure that the built and natural environment and its communities withstand the effects of climate change[212]

Given the potential sustainable transport connections identified against SA Objective 7 it is anticipated that development in this location can support the minimisation of in GHG emissions as development is delivered. This is further supported by Local Plan policy on accessibility.

It is further anticipated that through compliance with Local Plan policy, development could achieve policy targets for energy efficiency, high quality design standards that ensure resilience to the effects of climate change and offer potential opportunities for renewable energy production. Potential for a long term minor positive effect but some uncertainty at this stage.

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9. Water Resources & Quality

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

The Water Cycle Study identifies that this site lies within the Upper and Bedford Ouse catchment, where the main pressure on water resources is the abstraction of water for public supply. Abstraction for consumption is only available for up to 32% of the time and 25% of licenses in the area are time limited and tied to a Common End Date (CED) of March 2028.

It is also recognised[213] that one of the most likely effects of climate change to impact upon Central Bedfordshire will be a shortage of water resources. The Ruthamford South Water Resource Zone (WRZ) is predicted to be in supply-demand deficit by 2020/21 as a result of growth and reduced yield.

There are no strategic limitations on development growth as Water Companies have a statutory duty to supply water; however, capacity for providing additional supply varies and any new infrastructure requirements have to be aligned with Water Resources Management Plans. The addition of new employment land in this area is therefore considered to have the potential for cumulative effects on water resources but uncertainty at this stage.

Rivers in the vicinity of the employment option are considered to be in a moderate overall water body class. The majority of watercourses in the Plan area are not currently meeting 'good' classification and the most common reason for this is 'pollution from wastewater'. The Water Cycle Study assessment indicates that Bedford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Marston Moretaine, Shillington and Tempsford are all forecast to exceed their permitted dry weather flow as a result of planned growth during the plan period. Continued liaison between Central Bedfordshire Council and the Water Companies, as well as between developers and Water Companies is essential to ensure that additional WwTW capacity is in place in time to accommodate the planned growth, and that there will no detriment to service to customers or to the environment.

With Local Plan policies on water quality and pollution, strong mitigation measures are in place to ensure at least neutral effects on water quality, and ensure that development supports local WRMPs with high water efficiency targets.

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10. Flood Risk

To reduce the risk of flooding from all sources

There are areas of Flood Zone 2 and Flood Zone 3 within the central portion of the site and towards its western boundary[214]. These areas account for 14.2% of the site area and the development layout would be restricted by these constraints. Local Plan policy requires development to maximise opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems, where applicable, with the potential for some positive effects. Likely neutral effects.

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11. Soil

To protect and conserve soil[215]

Development in this location would result in the loss of greenfield land with the potential for long-term negative effects. The site comprises mostly Grade 2 agricultural land with some areas of Grade 3 agricultural land to the west and the north east. The sub-grade 3a or 3b of this land is currently not known[216]. As such development of the site is likely to result in the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land with a significant negative effect. However, an element of uncertainty remains in the agricultural land classification until lower level site assessments have been completed.

Given that the location is mostly greenfield land, development within the site is unlikely to require remediation for any contaminated land. The site does not contain any previously developed land.

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12. Biodiversity & Geodiversity

To protect, enhance and manage biodiversity & geodiversity

There are no internationally designated biodiversity sites in or immediately around the site option. Sandy Warren SSSI is located within 2.2km to the north west.

Biggleswade Common County Wildlife Site (CWS) is located adjacent to the north west of the site. Biggleswade Allotments Meadow CWS and Stratton Park Balancing Pond CWS are located to the south west within 350m and 500m respectively. The site contains several small areas of Priority Habitat (Deciduous Woodland). The Greensand Ridge Nature Improvement Area (NIA) is allocated within 200m of the northern boundary of the site. The employment option is also within the Ivel River Valley strategic green infrastructure corridor and parts of the biodiversity network lie within its boundaries or in close proximity to the site[217]. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to nature conservation.

There is the potential for improvement and enhancement of the biodiversity network. Development could link existing undesignated habitat areas in the site with the local biodiversity networks. This would provide major benefits for the local biodiversity network, and ecological benefits for the NIA. There is also the opportunity to create ecological corridors linking undesignated habitats with the biodiversity networks. Overall potential for a minor positive effect on biodiversity, through providing ecological enhancements beneficial to local biodiversity. A level of uncertainty is attached at this level of assessment.

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13. Landscape

Protect and enhance the landscape and townscape

The site is not within the AONB or in close proximity to this designation.

The site is within the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area, and the statements of environmental opportunity identify the potential to create high quality green infrastructure (identified against SA Objective 5) and landscape regeneration in new development and the need to protect the aquifers and quality of the River Great Ouse. Development in this location is considered overall to support these objectives.

The site is mostly within the Lower Ivel Clay Valley Landscape Character Area. The visual sensitivities of this area include views to the Greensand Ridge, views towards the river corridors and the historic value of Biggleswade Common[218]. The landscape strategy focuses on renewing degraded elements and creating new features. Development at this location can contribute to the landscape strategy for the Lower Ivel Clay Valley. The scope for development is limited to the proposed "village scale" with the undulating vale recognised of value for tranquillity in the area. The area is also characterised by extensive area of sweeping open countryside. Development will need to retain open land between Biggleswade and the distinctive village of Sutton and the existing character of dispersed settlements is noted to be of local importance. Building at any scale within the site would be highly visible. Considering the sensitivity of the site, long term significant negative effect are identified with uncertainty at this stage.

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14. Historic Environment

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

Sutton Conservation Area is adjacent to the site to the north. This Conservation Area contains a number of Listed Buildings including John O'Gaunt Public House and Talland Cottage which are within 20m of the site. The site also encircles the Grade II Listed Building Sunderland Hall Farmhouse. Newton Bury moated site Scheduled Monument falls within the site. The site also lies within the setting of two other Scheduled Monuments. Development is identified as having potential to cause substantial harm to the settings of the identified Scheduled Monuments and is considered to be unsuitable in terms of potential impacts on the historic environment. Mitigation is provided through Local Plan policy relating to built heritage which could help to mitigate significant effects. Significant negative effects still likely.

There are several Archaeological Notification Areas in the site. Development could investigate and record heritage assets of archaeological significance in accordance with Local Plan policy on archaeology, resulting in increased archaeological knowledge of the local area.

--?


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

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

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

[5] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[6] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[7] First symbol refers to greenfield & agricultural land qualities; second symbol relates previously developed land

[8] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[9] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application and Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy

[13] Central Bedfordshire Council (no date) Environmental Framework

[14] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[15] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Layers (2020)

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

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

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

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

[20] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[21] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[22] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[23] Ibid.

[24] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy

[25] Central Bedfordshire Council (no date) Environmental Framework

[26] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[27] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Layers (2020)

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

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

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

[31] Google Maps

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

[33] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[34] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[35] First symbol refers to greenfield & agricultural land qualities; second symbol relates previously developed land

[36] Central Bedfordshire Council (2020) GIS layers

[37] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy

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

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

[41] https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/aqma/maps

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

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

[44] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[45] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[46] First symbol refers to greenfield & agricultural land qualities; second symbol relates previously developed land

[47] Central Bedfordshire Council (2020) GIS layers

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

[49] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

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

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

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

[54] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[55] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[56] First symbol refers to greenfield & agricultural land qualities; second symbol relates previously developed land

[57] Central Bedfordshire Council (2020) GIS layers

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

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

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

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

[63] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[64] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[65] First symbol refers to greenfield & agricultural land qualities; second symbol relates previously developed land

[66] Central Bedfordshire Council (2020) GIS layers

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

[68] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[69] Please note that first symbol relates to location in/out of Green Belt designation; second symbol relates to effects on integration & identity for existing settlements

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

[71] Google Maps (2020)

[72] first symbol refers to regeneration/deprivation; second symbol refers to Green Infrastructure for health & well-being

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

[74] Aecom (2016) Technical Note Stage 1A Growth Area Analysis

[75] https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/aqma/maps

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

[77] Measured on GIS using Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Layers (2020)

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

[79] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[80] Environment Agency (2016) Flood Map for Planning

[81] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[82] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application and Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[83] Blow's Down SSSI Citation (1998) [Accessed Online: 2016] http://www.sssi.naturalengland.org.uk/citation/citation_photo/1005495.pdf

[84] The Wildlife Trust for Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) A Nature Conservation Strategy for Central Bedfordshire

[85] ibid

[86] Central Bedfordshire Council (no date) Environmental Framework

[87] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[88] Central Bedfordshire Council (2020) GIS Map Layers

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

[91] Aecom (2016) for Central Bedfordshire Council. Technical Note Stage 1A Growth Area Analysis

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

[94] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[95] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[96] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[97] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[98] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[99] Ibid.

[103] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[104] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS Map Layers (2020)

[105] Ibid.

[106] Ibid.

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

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

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

[110] Google Maps

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

[112] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[113] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[114] Central Bedfordshire Council (2020) GIS layers

[115] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Nature Conservation Strategy

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

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

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

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

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

[121] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[122] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[123] First symbol refers to greenfield & agricultural land qualities; second symbol relates previously developed land

[124] Central Bedfordshire Council (2020) GIS layers

[125] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[126] Ibid.

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

[128] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[129] Central Bedfordshire Council (2020) GIS Map Layers-

[130] LUC for Central Bedfordshire Council Green Belt Study (October 2016)

[131] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

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

[134] https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/aqma/maps

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

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

[137] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[138] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[139] First symbol refers to greenfield & agricultural land qualities; second symbol relates previously developed land

[140] Central Bedfordshire Council (2020) GIS layers

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

[142] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[143] Ibid.

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

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

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

[147] Google Maps

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

[149] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[150] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[151] First symbol refers to greenfield & agricultural land qualities; second symbol relates previously developed land

[152] Central Bedfordshire Council (2020) GIS layers

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

[154] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[155] Central Bedfordshire Council (2020) GIS Map Layers-

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

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

[158] Aecom (2016) for Central Bedfordshire Council. Technical Note Stage 1A Growth Area Analysis

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

[161] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[162] Environment Agency (2016) Flood Map for Planning

[163] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[165] DEFRA (2016) Magic Map Application- Measured from the growth locations edge to the designated sites edge

[166] Ibid.

[167] Central Bedfordshire GIS Layers (2020)

[168] DEFRA (20120) Magic Map Application

[169] http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/Images/environmental-framwork-v4_tcm3-14493.pdf

[170] Central Bedfordshire (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[171] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020) measured using GIS distances from heritage asset

[172] Central Bedfordshire GIS layers (2020)

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

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

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

[177] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[178] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[179] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[180] https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/SiteDetail.aspx?SiteCode=S1000871&SiteName=sandy&countyCode=&responsiblePerson=

[181] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application- Measured from the growth locations edge to the designated sites edge

[182] Ibid.

[183] Central Bedfordshire GIS Layers (2020)

[184] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[185] https://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/migrated_images/environmental-framework-2_tcm3-14493.pdf

[186] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[187] Central Bedfordshire GIS layers (2020)

[188] LUC for Central Bedfordshire Council Green Belt Study (October 2016)

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

[191] https://www.bedscape.org.uk/BRMC/chalkarc/maps-area-d.htm

[192] Aecom (2016) for Central Bedfordshire Council. Technical Note Stage 1A Growth Area Analysis

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

[195] https://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIn_iKw9zF1wIVEpMbCh1t0Q4dEAAYASAAEgLYmPD_BwE

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

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

[198] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[199] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[200] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2017)

[203] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

[204] DEFRA (2020) Magic Map Application

[206] Central Bedfordshire (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

[207] Ibid.

[208] Central Bedfordshire Council GIS layers (2020)

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

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

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

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

[213] LDA Design (2012) Central Bedfordshire Climate Change Adaptation Evidence Base Final Report

[214] Environment Agency (2020) Flood Map for Planning

[215] First symbol refers to greenfield & agricultural land qualities; second symbol relates previously developed land

[216] Central Bedfordshire Council (2020) GIS layers

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

[218] Central Bedfordshire Council (2015) Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment

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