Under the requirements of the Planning Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and the National Planning Policy Framework 2012 we must carry out a Sustainability Appraisal of our Local Plan to fulfil the aim of sustainable development. This includes an assessment of the economic and social impacts of development as well as environmental issues (as required under the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Directive).
Under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, we will determine the potential impact of any of our proposed plans on the conservation and integrity of internationally designated sites, Special Protection Areas (SPA) and Special Areas for Conservation (SAC).
The Medway Estuary and Marshes and the Thames Estuary and Marshes are both designated SPAs and there is a SAC in the Medway Valley near Upper Halling and also designated sites in neighbouring areas that need to be considered. For this reason, the Local Plan requires a Habitats Regulation Assessment to be carried out.
As part of the preparation of the new Local Plan, we've carried out Sustainability Appraisals to consider the potential impacts of the emerging policies and allocations in the Local Plan.
We're also refreshing the vision and strategic objectives in the Regulation 18 2023 consultation. We've produced scoping reports including:
- Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) scoping report
- Sustainability Appraisal (SA) scoping report 2023.
We're currently consulting on these documents with the following statutory consultees:
- Natural England
- The Environment Agency
- Historic England.
Further work on SA and HRA will inform the next stage of our new Local Plan.