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Consultation on Draft Supplementary Planning Guidance - Development and Biodiversity

The Council would like your views on the new Development and Biodiversity (Consultation Draft) planning guidance document.

Its main purpose is to
provide guidance on how the requirements of legislation and policies of the LDP should be applied at the local level, in order to ensure development within Swansea maintains and enhances the County’s biodiversity and delivers long term ecosystem resilience.

The Council has clearly stated commitments to delivering biodiversity enhancement, which are embedded within the Local Well Being Plan, and this is identified as a corporate priority.

The Council would like your views on whether the draft SPG document covers an appropriate range of issues and if you consider it provides sufficient clarity for decision makers and applicants on the important principles governing development and biodiversity in the planning process.

Following public consultation, the Council will amend the document and seek its formal approval as SPG to the Swansea LDP.  It will be a material consideration when considering how planning applications maintain and enhance Biodiversity and ecosystem resilience.  

The survey will run until 5pm Friday 16 October 2020. Please read the SPG document and answer the following questions.  Where you are commenting on a specific paragraph, please state the paragraph number.

Chapter 1: Introduction and  Chapter 2: Legislation and Policy

Chapters 1 and 2 provide factual information and link the SPG to the local and national policy context, as well as key legislation.

  Do you think the draft SPG contains sufficient and appropriate links to the Swansea LDP and its policies?
  The key terms of biodiversity, ecosystem services, ecosystem resilience, sustainable management of natural resources, net benefit and enhancement are all defined in Chapter 1.
Do you think that the draft SPG clearly explains these terms and how they relate to the planning system?
  Chapter 1 (together with the Appendices) confirms the key habitats, species and ecological features found in Swansea.  Do you think the draft SPG provides clear information on how to identify important ecological features which may be affected by development?
  Is the draft SPG clear regarding how the relevant national legislation and policies, relating to biodiversity, will be implemented locally in Swansea through the planning application process?

Chapter 3 and 4: ‘Stepwise Approach’ and Development Management

PPW makes clear that, when making planning decisions, the Local Planning Authority must follow a "stepwise approach".  This ensures that planning decisions maintain and enhance biodiversity and build resilient ecological networks.      

The Stepwise approach seeks to ensure that adverse environmental effects of development are first avoided, then minimised, mitigated and, as a last resort, compensated for

PPW also states that enhancement of biodiversity "
must be secured wherever possible".

The SPG aims to embed the stepwise approach required by PPW, into the process of determining planning applications.  Figure 3.1 provides a simple guide to each step.  Figure 4.1 explains how the approach is integrated throughout the relevant stages of the Development Management process.

  Does the draft SPG make clear how the Council will integrate the Stepwise Approach advocated in PPW into its decision-making process on planning applications?
  The draft SPG seeks to ensure that biodiversity issues are considered as early as possible in the development process, in the interests of maximising opportunities to integrate, retain and/or enhance biodiversity.  
Do you consider this to be an appropriate and viable approach?
  Does the SPG clearly explain how the Council will take account of, and promote the resilience of ecosystems?
  The draft SPG explains that the Council will seek to "secure enhancements wherever possible".  
Do you agree with the SPG's approach that enhancement should be proportionate to the scale, nature and location of the development involved?
  The draft SPG emphasises that the Council will normally require any necessary biodiversity enhancements to be shown on plans submitted as part of a planning application, and will then use Planning Conditions to require that the proposed development is carried out in accordance with those submitted plans.  
Do you agree with the approach set out in the draft SPG to securing biodiversity enhancement through the use of planning conditions?  

A key purpose of the SPG is to make clear the nature of information/surveys/assessments that the Council will require to be submitted to support a planning application.

  Does the draft SPG make clear what information is required at what stage to support a planning application, in relation to biodiversity matters?
  Is the information set out in the draft SPG Appendices accurate?
  Is the information set out in the draft SPG Appendices informative?

Additional Comments

  Do you have any additional comments relating to the draft SPG and/or are there specific amendments (not covered by questions 1-12 above) that you would like to see made to the document?

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