Chichester Local Plan 2021 - 2039: Proposed Submission
Chapter 4: Climate Change and the Natural Environment
Stand-alone Renewable Energy
4.1. National policy promotes increasing energy efficiency, the minimisation of energy consumption and the development of renewable energy sources. This Plan supports development that promotes these objectives. An important element in this is to ensure that the council embraces effective energy efficiency and the use of off-site renewable energy in all new development, helping to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and therefore climate change.
4.2. Parts of the plan area's landscape features and resources mean that they may be suitable for the development of renewable and low carbon energy schemes. These schemes must, however, be appropriately sited and not conflict with existing landscape character or uses. Proposals should therefore be accompanied by a landscape assessment appropriate to the nature and scale of the proposal and its setting, especially near the South Downs National Park and designated areas, such as the Chichester Harbour AONB.
4.3. Some renewable energy projects provide significant opportunities to enhance biodiversity as part of the overall proposal, and the council is seeking an ambitious approach in this regard. In particular, solar farms for example constitute an important opportunity to incorporate wildflower meadows, and ultimately there is the potential for a well-managed solar farm to become a nature reserve for its operational lifetime, resulting in significant benefits for wildlife and biodiversity.
4.4. Further guidance is available in the NPPF, and national PPG - renewable and low carbon energy.
Policy NE1 Stand-alone Renewable Energy
Development proposals will be granted for stand-alone renewable energy, where it has been demonstrated that there is no significant adverse impact upon:
- Landscape or townscape character, ecology and wildlife, water environment, heritage assets whether designated or not, or uponareas or features of historic or local significance;
- Local amenity, outlook through unacceptable visual intrusion or upon generalhealth and quality of life as a result of noise, odour, emissions to atmosphere, electronic interference, or traffic generation; and
- Highway safety or aircraft safety.
All development proposals must be accompanied by a landscape assessment, and a cumulative assessment of any impacts identified in criteria 1 above, as well as mitigation measures, as appropriate to minimise any environmental impacts associated with the scheme.
All development proposals should take the opportunities available to provide for new or enhanced habitats within the site of the proposed development.
All development proposals for a renewable energy generation scheme should, as far as is practicable, provide for the site to be reinstated to its former condition should the development cease to be operational, though having regard to any new habitats created on the site in the interim.
The social and economic benefits of the development proposal will be taken into account, particularly the degree of community participation in or ownership of a scheme,as well as the potential benefits of the proposed development to host communities generally.
4.5. Protecting and enhancing the natural landscape of the plan area is a key objective for the Local Plan and due to its coastal nature, safeguarding the coast and views is also important. The natural landscape provides social, environmental and economic benefits which, when appropriately managed, can contribute towards long-term sustainable growth, making space for nature recovery.
4.6. The natural landscape is however, under significant pressure to accommodate a range of demands. This includes modern farming practices which have an influence on the evolving landscape and biodiversity of our countryside, as well as new housing to address local needs, including provision of adequate open space, sport and recreation facilities to facilitate economic growth and health and well-being. In planning for this development, the Local Plan takes account of and seeks to avoid and reduce the impact of development on the plan area's natural landscape, safeguarding areas for climate change adaptation and providing nature-based solutions which protect the natural landscape.
4.7. The plan area includes parts of four national landscape areas: Low Weald, Wealden Greensand, South Downs and South Coast Plain. A Strategy for the West Sussex Landscape has been developed by West Sussex County Council (WSCC), which sets a vision for each of these character areas as well as providing landscape guidelines relating to development. Chichester Harbour Conservancy's Chichester Harbour AONB Management Plan (the Management Plan); Chichester Harbour AONB Landscape Character Assessment; as well as the council's adopted Chichester Harbour AONB Joint Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) all provide important guidance for development proposals in the AONB. The Management Plan and SPD are material planning considerations in the assessment of development proposals for land within the AONB. Other studies commissioned as part of developing the Local Plan, such as the Landscape Capacity Study, are important sources of evidence for landscape value and potential impact from development. Natural England also provides important guidance on carrying out landscape character assessments where a planning proposal is likely to impact the natural landscape.
4.8. Much of the agricultural land within the plan area also falls within Grades 1, 2 and 3a of the Agricultural Land Classification, with the unique landscape of the Chichester Harbour AONB characterised by flat rural countryside comprising many areas of productive farmland as well as woodlands and hedgerows. In seeking to reconcile the demands on the plan area's natural landscape, the council will only support proposals that safeguard the richness of the landscape and take opportunities to conserve and enhance its value. The council will seek to protect the best and most versatile agricultural land from large scale, inappropriate or unsustainable non-agricultural development proposals that are not in accordance with the Development Plan. For proposals not in accordance with the Development Plan, that will result in the loss or likely cumulative loss of 20 hectares or more of best and most versatile agricultural land, the council will consult with Natural England and have regard to "Natural England's Guide to assessing development proposals on agricultural land (2021)" and any subsequent guidance.
4.9. Development proposals must also take account of national and local designations. Chichester Harbour AONB is afforded the highest status of protection under the NPPF, where major development will not usually be permitted unless exceptional development tests can be met, and the development is in the public interest. Exceptions will only be made where no reasonable alternatives are available. In this event, proposals must provide mitigation measures in respect of their potential impact on the local landscape which should include appropriate design principles and visual screening as referred to in relevant guidance.
Policy NE2 Natural Landscape
The impact of all development proposals will be carefully assessed to ensure the protection, conservation and enhancement of the plan area's natural landscape. Planning permission will be granted where it can be demonstrated that all the following criteria have been addressed:
- There is no adverse impact on the openness of the views in and around the coast, designated environmental areas, including the setting of the Chichester Harbour AONB and South Downs National Park as well as the rural character of the plan area generally;
- Development proposals in the plan area are designed to respect, and enhance nationally designated sites, distinctive local landscape character, and public amenity whilst sensitively contributing to their settings;
- Development proposals maintain the identity of settlements and ensure the integrity of predominantly open and undeveloped land between settlements is not undermined;
- Development of poorer quality agricultural land is fully considered in preference to best and most versatile land (Grades 1, 2 and 3a). Where proposals would result in the significant loss of best and most versatile agricultural land, proposals will need to consider the economic impacts and the impacts on soil, air, water or noise pollution, or land instability;
- Development proposals within the setting of Chichester Harbour AONB should recognise its status as a landscape of the highest quality and should be designed to reflect this with the scale and extent of development limited, sensitively located and designed to avoid or minimise adverse impacts on the AONB. Development proposals must comply with the Chichester Harbour AONB Management Plan and the Chichester Harbour AONB Joint SPD which are material planning considerations.
For larger schemes in identified character areas, Landscape and Visual Impact Assessments (LVIA) may be required. The LVIA should be used to identify and assess the significance of the effects of change resulting from the development on both the landscape as an environmental resource and on views and visual amenity. Further guidance should be sought from the relevant Strategy, Management Plan or SPD and/or general national guidance.
All development proposals affecting the natural landscape will be required to meet criteria contained in other relevant policies, especially: Landscape Gaps; Chichester Harbour AONB; Development around the Coast; Development in the Countryside; Biodiversity; Development and Disturbance of Birds; Trees, Hedgerows and Woodlands; Equestrian Development and the pollution policies.
Landscape gaps between settlements
4.10. As Chichester has expanded there is a need to ensure that nearby settlements retain their character and identity. Equally in many parts of the plan area villages are located relatively close together. This is particularly the case along the A259 towards the west of Chichester. Retaining the separate identity of each settlement is recognised as a key consideration of any development strategy and this approach is highly valued by local people. Landscape gaps can help guide where new development should be built and ensure the maintenance of open land between settlements. They prevent settlements merging into one and losing their character and identity. It is recognised that the merging of villages comes about through a gradual process, so while one development of a particular site may not in itself result in merger, it may be a contributory factor.
4.11. The Landscape Gap Assessment (May 2019) explored areas that may be appropriate for local gaps in principle, but this list was not exhaustive and other relevant areas may be identified in due course. The precise boundaries of any gaps will be defined in either a Site Allocation Development Plan Document (DPD) or through neighbourhood plans. The study includes criteria for determining what constitutes the size of the gap necessary to prevent coalescence and maintain the separate identity of settlements.
4.12. A clear break between settlements helps to maintain a "sense of place" for residents of, and visitors to, the communities on either side of the gaps. When passing from place to place (by all forms of transport) these gaps give a recognisable structure to a group of settlements, establishing in travellers' minds that they have left one settlement before they arrive somewhere else. They help shape the patterns of development.
4.13. Small-scale developments, such as agricultural buildings and stables, that are in keeping with the landscape nature of the gaps, are not ruled out, providing they are appropriately sited and designed to minimise impact on the openness of the gap and subject to other planning policies. Gaps have the additional benefit in that the open land adjacent to built-up areas can be used for recreation and other green infrastructure purposes.
Policy NE3 Landscape Gaps between settlements
In order to prevent coalescence of built-up areas, maintain the individual identity of settlements, actual or perceived, and ensure the integrity of predominantly open and undeveloped land between settlements is not undermined, the generally open and undeveloped nature of gaps between settlements will be protected. The precise boundaries of gaps will be defined in either a Site Allocations DPD or through neighbourhood plans.
Development will only be permitted within gaps provided:
- It would not diminish the physical, visual and/or perceived openness of the gap; and
- Individually or cumulatively, it would not result in the actual or perceived coalescence of settlements.
Strategic Wildlife Corridors
4.14. Wildlife corridors allow the movement of species between areas of habitat by linking wildlife sites and reducing the risk of small, isolated populations becoming unsustainable and dying out. Wildlife corridors are important features that should be protected, enhanced and created, to protect and promote biodiversity and to prevent fragmentation and isolation of species and habitats.
4.15. Strategic wildlife corridors are important for providing connectivity and passageways for wildlife through the landscape, often adjacent to urban areas and proposed development. They provide an essential function in allowing the movement of species, preventing isolation of populations and degradation of designated sites. They also function as green infrastructure.
4.16. The council has commissioned and undertaken significant habitat surveys, data collection and evidence gathering to enable the mapping of the proposed corridors. This has enabled the council to identify hedgerows, treelines, woodland, chalk streams, ditches and rifes which are used as ecological corridors by species of bats, birds and water voles. The ecological networks, in addition to high concentrations of species records and the location of priority habitats and designated sites, has enabled the council to identify seven strategic wildlife corridors which connect Chichester and Pagham Harbours with the South Downs National Park (as shown on the policies map). These corridors do not stop at the plan area boundaries.
4.17. The council has published a strategic wildlife corridors background paper, which should be read in conjunction with this policy, setting out the methodology and evidence used to inform the approach.
4.18. The council will apply an additional layer of planning restraint to the countryside protection policies within these strategic wildlife corridors to ensure that connectivity between the South Downs National Park and the Chichester Harbour AONB and Pagham Harbour is maintained in the long term. Within the corridors it will be necessary to demonstrate that no land outside the corridor is available for development and the development will not have an adverse impact on the integrity of the corridor.
Policy NE4 Strategic Wildlife Corridors
Development will only be permitted where it would not lead to an adverse effect upon the ecological value, function, integrity and connectivity of the strategic wildlife corridors.
Development proposals within strategic wildlife corridors will only be granted where it can be demonstrated that:
- There are no sequentially preferable sites available outside the wildlife corridor; and
- The development will not have an adverse impact on the integrity and function of the wildlife corridor and protects and enhances its features and habitats.
Development proposals outside, but in close proximity to the strategic wildlife corridor will be acceptable where it can be demonstrated that:
- The development will not have an adverse impact on the integrity and function of the wildlife corridor; and
- The proposal will not undermine the connectivity and ecological value of the corridor.
All proposals for new development (with the exception of householder applications) within or in close proximity to wildlife corridors should take opportunities available in order to extend and enhance those corridors.
4.19. The plan area contains a rich and varied ecological network, comprising international, national and locally designated sites, priority habitats, wildlife corridors and the stepping-stones that connect them. Protecting and enhancing the biodiversity features which make up this network are key components of sustainable development. The Local Plan presents a key opportunity to identify nature recovery networks and deliver a measurable net gain in biodiversity.
4.20. This policy seeks to protect locally wildlife rich habitats, wider ecological networks and the hierarchy of international, national and locally designated sites of importance to biodiversity. In order to avoid adverse impacts, appropriate mitigation will be required in accordance with the NPPF mitigation hierarchy and biodiversity net gain must be delivered in addition to this. In exceptional circumstances, where a development proposal would result in harm to biodiversity and geological interests that cannot be prevented or mitigated, appropriate compensation will be sought. Development will also be expected to make a positive contribution to the ecological network, providing biodiversity net gain on site, and where this is not achievable locally off-site.
4.21. Opportunities should be taken to incorporate features which enhance biodiversity within developments and link features and habitats as part of a green network to reconnect isolated sites and facilitate species movement. This will ensure development is delivered in a way which will help restore any biodiversity loss and help deliver thriving natural spaces; also contributing to positive health and well-being outcomes for local communities and enabling species to become more resilient to adapt to pressures such as climate change. Net biodiversity gain should be provided on-site in the first instance, and then locally off-site where it should contribute towards strategic networks such as green infrastructure, wildlife corridors or nature recovery networks. Only as an absolute last resort, and with the agreement of the local planning authority, will applicants be required to purchase statutory biodiversity credits under the national biodiversity credit scheme.
4.22. All new development must demonstrate how it takes account of existing biodiversity features and incorporates enhancements as part of the initial design stage. Measures could include integral bat and bird boxes, hedgehog accessible fencing and wildlife corridors across or around the site. An Environmental Masterplanning approach ensures that features are integral to the design of the site from the out-set and not an "add-on" at the end of the design process. Multifunctional sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) should be included as a key standard feature.
4.23. The council will consider whether there has been the deliberate clearing of valuable habitats before applying a biodiversity metric to a proposed development site. Any evidence of pre-emptive clearance occurring on site before ecological surveys have been carried out (such as removal of vegetation, including trees, or loss of other habitat features such as hedgerows or ponds) should be described and the cause explained. Unless evidence is presented that can be used to determine what the site supported in terms of habitats and their condition before such changes occurred, a worst-case scenario will be adopted by the council. Under this scenario it will be expected key habitat types in good condition will be entered into the biodiversity metric to represent any habitats lost ahead of planning permission being determined.
4.24. Conserving biodiversity is not just about protecting rare species and designated sites. It also encompasses the conservation and enhancement of more common and widespread species and habitats, which if managed appropriately, can make a significant contribution to the ecological network. Where appropriate, applicants will be expected to build on existing initiatives and work with the council and partners to implement the aims and proposals of the Chichester Local Biodiversity Action Plan and the Nature Conservation Strategy.
Policy NE5 Biodiversity and Biodiversity Net Gain
All development shall ensure the conservation, protection, enhancement and restoration of biodiversity, avoiding any adverse impact on the condition and recovery of all types of nature conservation sites, habitats and species within their ecological networks including:
- Internationally designated sites (SPA, SAC, Ramsar)
- Irreplaceable habitats, including ancient woodland and ancient or veteran trees
- Nationally designated sites, such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), National Nature Reserves (NNR) and Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ)
- Riverine and Marine Habitats
- Priority Habitats and Species
- Biodiversity Opportunity Areas (BOA)/ Nature Recovery Networks (NRN)
- Locally designated sites, such as local wildlife sites and Local Nature Reserves
- Wildlife corridors and stepping-stones
Opportunities to conserve, protect, enhance and recover biodiversity and contribute to wildlife and habitats connectivity will be undertaken, including the preservation, restoration and recreation of priority habitats, ecological networks and the protection and recovery of priority species populations.
Development proposals will be permitted where it can be demonstrated that the following criteria have been met:
- Development proposals adhere to the NPPF mitigation hierarchy, and in addition, demonstrate that proposals provide a minimum of 10% net gain in biodiversity against a pre-development baseline:
- For major development of 10 or more dwellings or on sites of 0.5 hectares or more, the most recent national Biodiversity Metric will be used to calculate biodiversity net gain;
- For minor development of 1 – 9 dwellings or on sites of less than 0.5 hectares the Small Sites Metric (or future equivalent) will be applied;
- Net gain should be provided on-site in the first instance, and then locally off-site (as close as possible to the development site, or if that is not possible, elsewhere within Chichester District) where it should contribute towards strategic networks such as green infrastructure, wildlife corridors or nature recovery networks;
- Where appropriate, as a last resort, and with the agreement of the local planning authority that on or local off-site provision is not possible, applicants will be required to purchase credits for biodiversity gain through the national biodiversity credit scheme;
- Development will provide for the long-term management of biodiversity features retained and enhanced within the site or for those features created off-site, for a minimum period of 30 years through planning obligations; and
- Designated sites and irreplaceable habitats are excluded from net gain metrics as they are irreplaceable. Proposals which may impact these sites will be required to satisfy the legislative tests as set out in Section 3 below.
- Development proposals should be accompanied by a biodiversity appraisal that assesses the level of existing ecological value of the site through adequate and proportionate information, and demonstrates that any adverse impacts are avoided or reduced in line with the mitigation hierarchy through an avoidance or mitigation plan:
- Where an adverse impact on biodiversity is unavoidable, and no other option is available, this will only be supported where it has been demonstrated that the impact has been minimised as far as possible and, as a last resort, appropriate compensation provided for any remaining adverse impacts;
- Opportunities to conserve, protect and enhance biodiversity and contribute to wildlife and habitats connectivity should be undertaken, including the preservation, restoration and recreation of priority habitats, ecological networks and the protection and recovery of priority species populations.
- Development proposals that will have an impact on international, national, locally designated and irreplaceable habitats will be required to meet the following requirements:
- Internationally Protected Sites (as shown on the policies map), including SPAs, SACs and Ramsar sites, or candidate and formally proposed versions of these designations:
- Development proposals with the potential to impact on one or more international site(s) will be subject to a HRA to determine the potential for likely significant effects. Where likely significant effects may occur, development proposals will be subject to Appropriate Assessment.
- Nationally Protected Sites (as shown on the policies map), including SSSIs, NNRs, MCZs:
- Development proposals considered likely to have a significant effect on nationally protected sites will be required to assess the impact by means of an EIA;
- Development proposals should avoid impacts on these nationally protected sites. Development proposals where any adverse effect on the site's notified special interest is likely and which cannot be either avoided or adequately mitigated will be refused, unless the benefits of the development at this site clearly outweigh the likely impact to the notified features of the site and any broader impacts on the network of nationally protected sites.
- Irreplaceable habitats including ancient woodland (as shown on the policies map), and veteran trees:
- Development proposals which result in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats, including ancient woodland and veteran trees, will be refused unless there are wholly exceptional reasons and a suitable compensation strategy exists.
- Locally protected sites, including local wildlife sites, and Local Nature Reserves (as shown on the policies map):
- Development proposals considered likely to have a significant impact on local sites will be required to assess the impact by means of an Ecological Impact Assessment;
- Development proposals that will result in any adverse effect on the integrity of any local site which cannot be either avoided or adequately mitigated, will be refused, unless exceptional circumstances outweighing the adverse impacts are clearly demonstrated.
- Outside of designated sites:
- Development proposals should identify and incorporate opportunities to conserve, restore and recreate priority habitats and ecological networks. Development proposals should take opportunities to contribute and deliver on the aims and objectives of the relevant biodiversity strategies where possible.
- Internationally Protected Sites (as shown on the policies map), including SPAs, SACs and Ramsar sites, or candidate and formally proposed versions of these designations:
Chichester's Internationally and Nationally Designated Habitats
4.25. The Chichester plan area is renowned for the quality of its natural environment, with a number of sites designated under international and national law for their habitats, and a large number of locally important areas for biodiversity and nature conservation.
4.26. New development in the plan area can place additional urbanising impacts upon Chichester and the surrounding area's sensitive habitats, which has the potential to cause an adverse effect. The council is under a legal duty to protect designated habitats, by ensuring that new development does not have an adverse impact on important areas of nature conservation, and by requiring mitigation to negate the harm caused.
4.27. The purpose of this policy is to set specific strategic requirements relating to the Mens, Ebernoe Common and Singleton & Cocking Tunnels SACs, the Arun Valley SAC and SPA, and the Solent Coast SPAs (Chichester Harbour, Langstone Harbour, Pagham Harbour, Solent and Dorset Coast, and Medmerry Compensatory Habitat). Where relevant, this policy should be read in conjunction with the corresponding policy specific to each habitat, namely Policy NE16 (Water Management and Water Quality), Policy NE18 (Nutrient Neutrality), and Policy NE7 (Development and Disturbance of Birds in Chichester, Langstone and Pagham Harbours and Solent and Dorset Coast SPAs and Medmerry Compensatory Habitat).
Solent Coast SPAs
4.28. Evidence demonstrates that there are two particular pressures on these harbours: nitrate pollution and recreational disturbances impacting upon the designated bird populations.
4.29. Nitrogen discharging into the harbours (from a variety of sources) causes algal growth which is harmful to wildlife. The proportion originating from new development is very low; however overall, nitrogen pollution is having a significant harmful impact upon the Harbour. It is essential that all relevant developments within the catchment of Chichester and Langstone Harbours demonstrate that they are nutrient neutral, either by their own means or through contributions to an agreed nutrient mitigation scheme, for the lifetime of the development. Natural England has produced maps of the catchments affected by nutrient neutrality, which are available on the council's website.
4.30. Recreational pressures from increased activity along the coastline can adversely impact bird populations. New development for overnight accommodation within the Zones of Influence for Chichester Harbour SPA and Solent and Dorset Coast SPAs; and the Pagham Harbour SPA and Medmerry Compensatory Habitat will need to provide for a package of avoidance and mitigation measures, in line with the Bird Aware Solent Strategy.
Arun Valley SPA and SAC
4.31. The Arun Valley SPA, SAC and Ramsar site lies within the Sussex North Water Resource Zone which is served by supplies from groundwater abstraction at Pulborough. Natural England have advised that there is a significant threat to the Arun Valley SPA, SAC and Ramsar site arising from this groundwater abstraction, and that water neutrality is one way to ensure that no further adverse effect is produced, and for sufficient water to be available to the region.
The Mens, Ebernoe Common and Singleton & Cocking Tunnels SACs
4.32. The Mens, Ebernoe Common and Singleton & Cocking Tunnels SACs are designated habitats for their Bechstein's and barbastelle bat populations. Applicants intending to submit proposals for development within the functionally linked conservation zones, as specified in the policy, should have regard to the Draft Sussex Bat Special Area of Conservation Planning and Landscape Scale Enhancement Protocol (Natural England, 2018), or any subsequent equivalent document.
Policy NE6 Chichester's Internationally and Nationally Designated Habitats
Development will only be permitted where it would not lead to an adverse effect upon the integrity, either alone or in-combination, directly or indirectly, on internationally, European and nationally important habitat sites, including:
- Water Neutrality in the Sussex North Water Resource Zone – Arun Valley SPA and SAC
Development proposals within the Sussex North Water Resource Zone will provide mitigation for any net per capita increase in water consumption, as defined in a water budget, in accordance with Policy NE17 (Water Neutrality).
- Nutrient Neutrality in Chichester and Langstone Harbours SPA
Development proposals for any net increase in overnight accommodation that drain to Chichester or Langstone Harbours must demonstrate that they will be nutrient neutral for the lifetime of the development, either by their own means or through the provision of appropriate mitigation in accordance with Policy NE19 (Nutrient Neutrality).
- Recreational Disturbance in Chichester and Langstone Harbours SPA, Solent and Dorset Coast SPAs, Pagham Harbour SPA and Medmerry Compensatory Habitat
Development proposals for any net increase in overnight accommodation within the Zones of Influence for Chichester Harbour SPA and Solent and Dorset Coast SPAs, and/or Pagham Harbour SPA and Medmerry Compensatory Habitat will be required to provide appropriate avoidance/mitigation measures in accordance with Policy NE7 (Development and Disturbance of Birds in Chichester, Langstone and Pagham Harbours and Solent and Dorset Coast SPAs and Medmerry Compensatory Habitat).
- The Mens SAC, Ebernoe Common SAC and Singleton & Cocking Tunnels SAC
Development proposals on greenfield sites and sites that support, or are in close proximity to, suitable commuting and foraging habitats (including mature vegetative linear features such as woodlands, hedgerows, riverine and wetland habitats) within the following ranges (as shown on the policies map) should have due regard to the possibility that barbastelle and Bechstein's bats will be utilising the site. Such proposals will be required to incorporate necessary surveys and ensure that key features (foraging habitat and commuting routes) are retained, in addition to a suitable buffer to safeguard against disturbance:
- Key Conservation Area – 6.5km: all impacts to bats must be considered given that habitats within this zone are considered critical for sustaining the populations of bats within the SACs; and
- Wider Conservation Area – 12km: significant impacts on severance to flight lines to be considered.
Regard should be had to the Sussex Bat Special Area of Conservation Planning and Landscape Scale Enhancement Protocol (2018), or any subsequent equivalent document.
Development and Disturbance of Birds in Chichester, Langstone and Pagham Harbours and Solent and Dorset Coast Special Protection Areas and Medmerry Compensatory Habitat
4.33. Chichester and Langstone Harbours (SAC, SPA and Ramsar), and Pagham Harbour (SPA and Ramsar) are both designated as internationally important wildlife sites. The council is under a legal duty to protect their designated bird populations and supporting habitats. Under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations (2017) (as amended) the council must consider whether development may have a "likely significant effect" on these wildlife sites including the Solent and Dorset Coast SPA. In addition, the Medmerry Compensatory Habitat (created through managed realignment) is a compensatory habitat for previous losses of internationally important SAC and SPA habitat in the Solent and, therefore, must be assessed in the same way.
4.34. If the impact of development is likely to adversely affect the integrity of a SAC or SPA - either by itself or in combination with other developments - and this cannot be avoided or mitigated effectively, then the council is likely to refuse planning permission. Evidence collected during the Solent Disturbance and Mitigation Project indicates that overwintering bird species in Chichester and Langstone Harbours SPA are being adversely affected by disturbance from human recreational activities.
4.35. Designated wildlife sites can be adversely impacted in a number of ways by development, including through cumulative impacts of developments such as recreational pressure. For Chichester and Langstone Harbours SPA, Natural England advise that considered in-combination with other housing around the Solent, any increase in the number of dwellings would be likely to have a significant effect within 5.6km of the SPA boundary. Therefore, new housing developments within this zone of influence will need to provide for a package of avoidance and mitigation measures. The planning authorities across the Solent have drawn up a strategic package of mitigations measures, the Bird Aware Solent strategy (https://solent.birdaware.org/strategy). This provides avoidance and mitigation measures sufficient to avoid an 'adverse effect' on the integrity of the European sites from new residential development and is funded in perpetuity. Developments that result in a net increase in dwellings, including holiday and student accommodation, can opt to contribute to the scheme through s106 Agreements (including Unilateral Undertakings). There is currently a scale of contributions, calculated according to the number of bedrooms in each dwelling. Details of the contribution figures are regularly updated and published each year on the council's website.
4.36. Applicants for development leading to a net increase in dwellings can also opt to provide their own mitigation schemes as an alternative to a payment to Bird Aware Solent. Such schemes will be subject to assessment under the Habitats Regulations as to their suitability and effectiveness and will need to provide mitigation that is funded in-perpetuity. Such stand-alone schemes should not rely solely on measures put in place within the development but are very likely to have to provide measures to address disturbance on the coast.
4.37. For Pagham Harbour SPA, an impact from recreational disturbance is also considered to be likely under the precautionary principle, given the similarity of the habitat to the Solent SPAs. At Pagham there is also the issue of potential disturbance in summer to ground nesting birds, for which the SPA is designated, in addition to overwintering bird populations. Evidence from visitor surveys suggests that the majority of visitors to the Sidlesham/Church Norton side of Pagham Harbour come from within 3.5km of the site. Within this zone of influence, net increase in residential development should provide for mitigation measures to avoid any impact or be subject to an Appropriate Assessment under the Habitats Regulations to show that any impact (either alone or in-combination with other developments including developments within Arun District) does not cause an adverse impact on the integrity of the site.
4.38. For Pagham Harbour SPA, Chichester and Arun District Councils have put in place a Strategic Scheme of Access Management and Mitigation or SAMM (delivered through the RSPB as site managers). This is similar in principle to the Bird Aware scheme in that it is funded in-perpetuity through s106 contributions and is delivered through wardens within the SPA and a wider programme of education and awareness-raising. Details of the contribution figures are regularly updated and published each year on the council's website.
4.39. For both Chichester and Pagham Harbours some of the bird species for which they are designed, Brent Geese in particular, use functionally linked supporting habitats around the SPA for feeding and roosting. Developments on or adjacent to these areas can have an impact on the SPAs separate to and additional to the impact of recreational disturbance. For Chichester and Langstone Harbours SPA, the Solent Waders and Brent Goose Strategy (https://solentwbgs.wordpress.com/page-2/) identifies the areas of supporting habitat and grades them into four categories: core areas, primary support areas, secondary support areas and low use areas. Guidance on offsetting and mitigation requirements has been produced, and will be updated as necessary. For Pagham Harbour SPA, a case-by-case approach will be adopted and applicants may be asked to provide bird survey data sufficient for an Appropriate Assessment to be carried out.
4.40. Under paragraph 181 of the NPPF, Medmerry Compensatory Habitat is treated by the planning system as if it were a designated internationally protected site. This is to ensure that habitats of equivalent size and quality to those being lost due to coastal defences elsewhere in the Solent Maritime SAC can be provided as compensation and so that the populations of over-wintering birds that depend on these habitats are not adversely affected. The unified management of Medmerry Compensatory Habitat and Pagham Harbour under the RSPB currently ensures that the Pagham SAMM can mitigate for the impacts of recreational disturbance. However, schemes that could impact on functionally linked habitat for waders and Brent geese, and those whose proximity to Medmerry Compensatory Habitat means that other mechanisms of impact cannot be ruled out, will be required to provide the information necessary to undertake a site-specific Appropriate Assessment.
Policy NE7 Development and Disturbance of Birds in Chichester and Langstone Harbours, Pagham Harbour, Solent and Dorset Coast Special Protection Areas and Medmerry Compensatory Habitat
Development and Disturbance of Birds in Chichester and Langstone Harbours and Solent and Dorset Coast Special Protection Areas
It is Natural England's advice that all net increases in residential development within the 5.6km zone of influence are likely to have a significant effect on the Chichester and Langstone Harbours SPA either alone or in-combination with other developments and will need to be subject to the provisions of Regulation 63 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended). In the absence of appropriate avoidance and/or mitigation measures that will enable the planning authority to ascertain that the development would not adversely affect the integrity of the SPA, planning permission will not be granted because the tests for derogations in Regulation 64 are unlikely to be met. Furthermore, such development would not have the benefit of the presumption in favour of sustainable development in the NPPF.
Appropriate avoidance/mitigation measures that are likely to allow the planning authority to ascertain that there will be no adverse effect on the integrity of the SPA will comprise:
- A contribution in accordance with the joint mitigation strategy outlined in the Bird Aware Solent Strategy; or
- A developer provided package of measures associated with the proposed development designed to avoid any significant effect on the SPA, provided and funded in-perpetuity; or
- A combination of measures in (a) and (b) above.
Avoidance/mitigation measures will need to be phased with development and shall be maintained in perpetuity. All mitigation measures in b. and c. above must be agreed to be appropriate by Natural England through the Habitats Regulations Assessment process. They should also have regard to the Chichester Harbour AONB Management Plan.
The provisions of this policy do not exclude the possibility that some residential schemes either within or outside the zone of influence might require further assessment under the Habitats Regulations. For example, large schemes, schemes proposing bespoke or alternative avoidance/mitigation measures, or schemes that impinge on the supporting habitats identified by the Solent Waders and Brent Goose Strategy. Such schemes will be assessed on their own merits under Regulation 63 (Appropriate Assessment), and, subject to advice from Natural England. Where mitigation for any impact upon supporting habitats is required this should follow the guidance given in the Solent Waders and Brent Goose Strategy.
Development and Disturbance of Birds in Pagham Harbour Special Protection Area and Medmerry Compensatory Habitat
Net increases in residential development within the 3.5km zone of influence are likely to have a significant effect on the Pagham Harbour SPA either alone or in-combination with other developments and will need to be subject to the provisions of Regulation 63 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended). In the absence of appropriate avoidance and/or mitigation measures that will enable the planning authority to ascertain that the development would not adversely affect the integrity of the SPA, planning permission will not be granted because the tests for derogations in Regulation 64 are unlikely to be met. Furthermore, such development would not have the benefit of the presumption in favour of sustainable development in the National Planning Policy Framework.
Net increases in residential development, which incorporates appropriate avoidance/mitigation measures, which would avoid any likelihood of a significant effect on the SPA, will not require Appropriate Assessment. Appropriate avoidance/mitigation measures that are likely to allow the planning authority to ascertain that there will be no adverse effect on the integrity of the SPA will comprise:
- A contribution towards the appropriate management of the Pagham Harbour Local Nature Reserve through the joint Chichester and Arun Scheme of Mitigation in accordance with the LNR Management Plan; or
- A developer provided package of measures associated with the proposed development designed to avoid any significant effect on the SPA; or
- A combination of measures in (a) and (b) above.
Avoidance/mitigation measures will need to be phased with development and shall be maintained in perpetuity. All mitigation measures in a., b. and c. above must be agreed to be appropriate by Natural England in consultation with owners and managers of the land within the SPA.
The provisions of this policy do not exclude the possibility that some residential schemes either within or outside the zone of influence might require further assessment under the Habitats Regulations. For example, large schemes, schemes proposing bespoke or alternative avoidance/mitigation measures, or schemes proposing an alternative approach to the protection of the SPA and/or the Compensatory Habitat where there is survey or other evidence that the site is used as supporting habitats by SPA species, including Brent Geese. Such schemes will be assessed on their own merits, under Regulation 63 (Appropriate Assessment), and subject to advice from Natural England.
Trees Hedgerows and Woodlands
4.41. Trees, woodlands and hedgerows are essential features of the plan area's landscape, enhancing its visual amenity, the quality of the environment and providing habitats for a range of wildlife. They provide key linear corridors for rare species, such as the barbastelle bat species, which are notified features of the Mens SAC and Ebernoe Common SAC. They can also provide important corridors or stepping-stones between habitats, are essential components of nature recovery and are important for carbon sequestration, reducing flood risk and climate change adaptation. The council will seek to ensure the management, including conservation and enhancement, of existing valued and protected trees, woodlands and hedgerows, and to ensure that opportunities for restoration and new planting are realised. A "valued" tree should be determined using the criteria contained in British Standard 5837 which deems trees over 75 mm in stem diameter and over 1.5 m above ground level as significant for inclusion in any assessment. Trees worthy of retention are classified according to their arboricultural, landscape and cultural values.
4.42. Hedgerows and some types of woodland are identified as a priority habitat. Priority habitats and species are of particular importance for nature conservation and are included in the England Biodiversity List published under section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. Ancient woodland is also recognised as an irreplaceable habitat. The criteria for management of hedgerows are contained in The Hedgerows Regulations (1997) whilst guidance for development proposals affecting ancient woodland is detailed in the Forestry Commission and Natural England guidance 'Ancient woodland, ancient trees and veteran trees: protecting them from development'. Where new development is proposed, the preference will always be to incorporate natural features into the development and development should be designed from this first principle. Where the loss of trees or hedgerow is unavoidable, suitable replacement provision should be secured. All development must be undertaken in accordance with the British Standard 5837 (2012) (as amended) and all tree works must be carried out in accordance with British Standard 3998 (2010) (as amended).
Policy NE8 Trees, Hedgerows and Woodlands
Development proposals will be granted where it can be demonstrated that all the following criteria have been met:
- Proposals conserve and, where appropriate, enhance existing valued and protected trees, hedgerows and woodlands;
- Development resulting in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats (such as ancient woodland and trees; veteran trees; protected trees, groups of trees and woodland and hedgerows) should be refused unless there are wholly exceptional reasons and a suitable compensation strategy in accordance with relevant legislation, policy and guidelines;
- Loss or damage of woodland and hedgerows that are priority habitats and non-protected but valued trees, woodland, community orchards, and all hedgerows should be avoided, and if demonstrated as being unavoidable, appropriate mitigation measures provided;
- Proposals should maximise opportunities for planting of new trees, woodlands and hedgerows to contribute to biodiversity net gain, green infrastructure and nature recovery strategies and networks. In addition, proposals will be required to plant two trees for each one lost through development; provide new planting to thicken existing hedgerows, and fill in all gaps in all hedgerows;
- Proposals should have a minimum buffer zone of 15 metres from the boundary of ancient woodland or veteran trees to avoid root damage (known as the root protection area);
- All major development proposals will be required to provide street tree planting;
- Development proposals must demonstrate that appropriate protection measures are in place prior to any work on site and throughout the development process as part of a tree protection plan;
- Suitable opportunities for the restoration, enhancement or planting of trees, woodland, and hedgerows are identified and incorporated into a comprehensive landscaping plan; and
- Where appropriate, the council will seek minimum five-year maintenance and management plans to accompany the soft landscaping proposals.
- Trees proposed for landscaping and replacement planting should be selected from a diverse range and variety of native species to help provide long-term resilience to pests, diseases and climate change.
The council will consider development proposals against the requirements and standards contained in legislation as well as current local and national guidance and practice.
4.43. The Chichester Ship Canal linked Chichester city with the Harbour and, together with the Portsmouth and Arundel Canal, fed into the River Arun at Ford. In conjunction with the Wey and Arun Canal, this created an inland water route from Portsmouth to London via the River Wey. Through navigation along this route is currently not possible as a result of road culverts, development or abandonment.
4.44. The Wey and Arun Canal Trust Limited and The Chichester Ship Canal Trust are working to restore their respective sections. There remains a further significant length of the former Portsmouth and Arundel Canal within the plan area (between Hunston and the plan area boundary east of Colworth) where there are no proposals for restoration. Nevertheless, much of this alignment forms the route of a public right of way which extends eastwards into Arun District.
4.45. These remnants are important early 19th Century historic features (road bridges, swing bridges, canal bed and towpaths) in the landscape of the coastal plain which warrant protection and, where feasible, enhancement to facilitate the cultural and historic understanding of the area.
4.46. The benefits of enhancements to the plan area's canals include increased recreation, leisure pursuits and economic activity in line with objectives and aspirations set out in local Green Infrastructure and walking and cycling policies as well as national policy and guidance. Enhancements to waterside towpaths and footpaths which improve access for pedestrians and cyclists are encouraged.
4.47. Whilst the council is not introducing proposals in the Local Plan to reinterpret or re-align the canals, historical alignments will be safeguarded and their re-establishment encouraged. Any proposals for reinstatement of canal features will need to demonstrate that the culture, history and natural environment will be protected and enhanced. In addition, such proposals must assess and take into account their impact upon local biodiversity, landscape, and the amenity of occupiers of land and water nearby. Proposals for development may need to include an ecological study and a transport assessment to identify how proposals will avoid or mitigate any potential impact. Development proposals within the vicinity of and which may impact the canals may be subject to Appropriate Assessment.
Policy NE9 Canals
Development proposals that make provision for through navigation or enhancement of the Chichester Ship Canal and/or the Wey and Arun Canal will be supported where they meet environmental, ecological, historical and transport considerations.
Development proposals will be permitted where they preserve and enhance the remaining line and configuration of the Portsmouth and Arundel Canal and the features within it, with no overall adverse effect. Where no such line and configuration remains, proposals to reinterpret the alignment within new development proposals will be supported where they protect and enhance the culture, history and natural environment and consideration is given to local impacts.
4.48. Settlement boundaries distinguish between built-up areas and areas of countryside. These boundaries have been reviewed through the preparation of the Local Plan unless this was undertaken through preparation of a neighbourhood plan or subsequent development plan document. Settlement boundaries are as defined on the Local Plan policies map.
4.49. The methodology for determining the boundaries is set out in the Settlement Boundary Review Background Paper, which forms part of the Local Plan evidence base. Within the settlement boundary, the principle of further development is established subject to other policies in this Plan.
4.50. Areas outside settlement boundaries are defined as 'countryside' which includes villages, hamlets, farms and other buildings as well as undeveloped open land. In order to protect the landscape, character, quality and tranquillity of the countryside it is essential to prevent inappropriate development. However, it is also important to recognise the social and economic needs of rural communities and to provide support to enable those who manage, live and work in the countryside to continue to do so.
4.51. The plan area's countryside is an important and diminishing resource. It is
valued for many reasons, including agriculture and community food production, its landscape qualities including the special characteristics of Chichester Harbour and Pagham Harbour, the setting it provides for Chichester city and other towns and villages and the opportunities it provides for recreation and biodiversity. The countryside in the plan area will be protected from the urbanising impacts of development which can arise from the impact of buildings, structures, lighting, traffic and other activities. The character and appearance of the countryside, biodiversity and the amenities and opportunities that it offers will be enhanced.
4.52. To support a prosperous and diverse rural economy, some limited and carefully planned development outside settlement boundaries may be acceptable to enable the countryside and local rural communities to evolve and thrive. Support will be given to the local delivery of services and community facilities such as the retention of local shops, meeting places, sports venues, open space, cultural buildings, places of worship and pubs. Where such development is adjacent to or beyond existing settlements, or in a location that is not well served by public transport, it will be essential for development to be sensitive to its surroundings, not have an unacceptable impact on local roads and exploit opportunities to make the location more sustainable (for example by improving access by foot, cycle or public transport).
4.53. In parts of the countryside there is a shortage of sites suitable to meet local social, community and economic development needs. The council will support the conversion of existing buildings and the re-use of previously developed sites for rural affordable housing, local community facilities and/or small-scale employment generating uses which are accessible, well designed and well related to existing development and require a countryside location.
4.54. Where development is proposed in the countryside, the council will seek the beneficial management of the countryside. This will include encouragement of proposals that enhance the woodlands and recreational links to, and within, this area.
4.55. The designation of the South Downs as a National Park recognises the special qualities of the landscape and recreational opportunities available. The Park represents a significant asset for the plan area in this regard and it will be important to ensure that connectivity between these two areas is protected and enhanced, with new recreational opportunities explored further as they arise.
4.56. Where essential development in the countryside is proposed to meet a demonstrable need, the following preferences for development should be applied:
- Conversion of existing buildings worthy of retention; or
- Redevelopment of sustainably located previously developed sites; or
- If no appropriately located and deliverable previously developed sites exist in the local area, greenfield sites within or immediately adjacent to existing settlements may be considered.
4.57. Rural economic development should be encouraged where it provides good quality long-term employment, expands or diversifies existing rural businesses, improves local skills and services and contributes towards sustaining a high-quality environment and well-being of the local community.
4.58. Applications for retail extensions on existing sites in the countryside will be considered where it has been demonstrated that the applicant has undertaken appropriate sequential and impact assessments and given consideration of the development's impact upon the rural character of the area.
4.59. Parts of the countryside are underlain with mineral deposits. As the minerals planning authority, West Sussex County Council seeks to avoid the sterilisation of such resources by permanent development. Areas safeguarded because they contain minerals are identified by the county council in the West Sussex Joint Minerals Local Plan and the implications are further explained in the Minerals and Waste Safeguarding Guidance. Areas where minerals safeguarding policies apply are shown on the Local Plan policies map.
Policy NE10 Development in the Countryside
Outside settlement boundaries as defined on the policies map, planning permission will be granted for sustainable development in the countryside where it can be demonstrated that all the following criteria have been met:
- The sustainability of the site is enhanced by improving or creating opportunities to access the site by walking, cycling and public transport;
- The scale, form, bulk, siting, design and materials proposed are appropriate to their countryside location and will not cause unacceptable harm to their rural setting;
- Proposals conserve and enhance the key features and qualities of the rural and landscape character of the countryside setting;
- The proposal is well related to an existing farmstead or group of buildings or located close to an established settlement.
- The proposal is complementary to or compatible with its countryside location and does not prejudice any viable agricultural operations or other existing viable uses.
In addition to meeting the above criteria, proposals for alterations, change of use and/or re-use of existing buildings in the countryside will be permitted where it can be demonstrated that the following relevant criteria have been met:
- The building is structurally sound and is capable of conversion without the need for significant extension, alteration or rebuilding;
- It has been demonstrated that economic and community uses have been considered before residential, with residential uses only permitted if economic and community uses are shown to be inappropriate and unviable;
- Subject to meeting criteria A and B, proposals for the conversion of existing buildings will be permitted where they support sustainability in rural areas.
Development/conversions that would create new isolated homes in the countryside will be avoided unless there are special circumstances as outlined in Government policy.
Applications for retail development in the countryside will be considered where it has been demonstrated that the appropriate sequential and/or impact assessments have been undertaken.
Local/small-scale farm shops will be permitted provided they sell goods that have predominantly been produced on the farm.
4.60. The plan area's coastline stretches from the Rivers Ems at Hermitage in the west to Pagham Harbour in the east, providing important habitats for wildlife, leisure and employment opportunities associated with the marine environment and an extensive public rights of way network providing public access to the majority of the plan area's coastline. The England Coast Path, which will provide a continuous pathway around the English coast, is currently being finalised. The landscape of the coastline is characterised by its relatively flat topography that, on occasion, serves to provide important scenic views from the water across to the South Downs National Park which should be conserved.
4.61. Significant areas of actively farmed arable land remain along the coast, punctuated by mature woodland and settlements. There are also a number of marine related activities, including both commercial and recreational uses.
4.62. The importance of the landscape of Chichester Harbour, including its coastline, has been recognised by its designation as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In recognition of its natural habitat and the species it supports, particularly internationally important numbers of migratory, over-wintering and breeding bird populations, much of the harbour also is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Special Area of Conservation, Special Protection Area and Ramsar site, with these designations extending beyond the harbour to the adjacent open coast. Medmerry Compensatory Habitat is a habitat compensation site, created to address the loss of internationally important habitat and under the NPPF is considered as equivalent to an Internationally designated site with regard to planning. At the eastern end is Pagham Harbour, which is also a SSSI, internationally important SPA and Ramsar site, Marine Conservation Zone and Local Nature Reserve. The entire coastline and near offshore is designated as an internationally important area (SPA) for foraging tern species. There are also Sites of Special Scientific Interest along the coast and a Marine Conservation Zone from Medmerry Compensatory Habitat to Selsey.
4.63. The council works closely with a number of organisations and authorities to effectively manage and promote the coastal environment and its waterways. For Chichester Harbour this includes joint work with Havant Borough Council, Hampshire County Council, West Sussex County Council and Chichester Harbour Conservancy, who manage Chichester Harbour for nature conservation and landscape.
4.64. In February 2021, Natural England published a condition review of the intertidal, subtidal and bird features of the Chichester Harbour designated sites.
4.65. Since designation, almost half (46%) of the saltmarsh has been lost, with the remainder of poor quality. There have been dramatic declines in many over-wintering and breeding bird species and an increase in opportunistic macroalgae in the inner parts of the harbour covering mudflat habitat, indicating high nutrient enrichment levels affecting water quality.
4.66. A number of remedies to address these issues were identified in the report, including natural restoration and creation of saltmarsh habitat; identifying opportunities to remove barriers to coastal change; reducing diffuse and point source nutrients from entering the harbour catchment; creating new habitat for nesting birds; and naturally restoring the sediment supply within the system. Natural England is working with a number of partners including the Environment Agency, the council and Southern Water to implement these actions, many of which are outside of the planning system and as such not dependent on Local Plan policies.
4.67. The council has a similar working relationship with Arun District Council with regard to Pagham Harbour. The RSPB manages Medmerry Compensatory Habitat and Pagham from a nature conservation perspective. Natural England is currently reviewing the condition of Pagham Harbour.
4.68. Two Shoreline Management Plans (SMP) set the strategic framework for managing the future of the coastline. Strategies and projects will be established/delivered by a range of other organisations and groups in the context of the relevant SMP subject to necessary permissions and assessments, including environmental.
4.69. Across the Solent, the Regional Habitat Compensation Programme (RCHP), led by the Environment Agency in partnership with Natural England, local authorities and other organisations, strategically delivers the creation of new coastal and wetland habitats to replace those damaged or lost by flood or coastal defence works and sea level rise.
4.70. Chichester Harbour Conservancy is working with partners including the council, on a nature recovery project for Chichester Harbour called CHaPRoN (Chichester Harbour Protection and Recovery of Nature) which will include undertaking further work to identify which sites are suitable for habitat restoration or creation. The Environment Agency and Natural England are also working to identify suitable habitat creation locations through the REACH (Restoring Estuarine and Coastal Habitats) project, and a range of organisations are involved in the ReMeMaRe (Restoring Meadows, Marsh and Reef) project which has maps of potential for saltmarsh, seagrass and oyster reefs. Once specific schemes are identified they will be included in the Infrastructure Delivery Plan and Nature Recovery Strategies.
4.71. The Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan for the Manhood Peninsula is discussed in Policy NE14 of this Plan.
4.72. The Local Plan covers the area up to but not including the sea. The South Marine Plan must be used for all planning decisions for the sea, coast, estuaries and tidal waters, as well as developments that impact these areas. More specifically the marine plan covers:
- the area from the mean high water spring tide to 12 nautical miles offshore
- any area submerged at mean high water spring tide
- the waters of any estuary, river or channel, so far as the tide flows at mean high water spring tide
- waters in any area which is closed (permanently or intermittently) by a lock or other artificial means against the regular action of the tide, but into and from which seawater is caused or permitted to flow (continuously or occasionally)
Policy NE11 The Coast
The council will continue to work with partner organisations and authorities to protect and enhance the Plan's coastal areas, including around Chichester Harbour, Pagham Harbour, Medmerry Compensatory Habitat and the open coast, whilst ensuring they continue to provide an important recreational, economic and environmental resource.
The council will support:
- ongoing habitat protection, restoration, enhancement and creation, including both compensatory and new coastal and wetland habitats; and opportunities to connect coastal and freshwater habitats and floodplain habitats at a catchment scale to facilitate wider nature recovery;
- careful location, design and review of flood defences to adapt to climate change and sea level rise, to reduce coastal squeeze and support natural processes;
- appropriate leisure and recreational uses, including water-based activities, and marine employment uses, including those which require direct access to water; where these uses avoid adverse environmental impacts.
Specific schemes to deliver new or improved saltmarsh and other coastal habitat will be identified through partner projects such as Nature Recovery Strategies, the Regional Habitat Compensatory Programme and the Chichester Harbour Protection and Recovery of Nature project (CHaPRoN) and once identified will be included in the Infrastructure Business Plan.
When considering development proposals, the opportunities for habitat protection, restoration, creation and enhancement, and where relevant, the compatibility with identified habitat schemes, must be considered. Other relevant plans including Shoreline Management Plans, the South Marine Plan, the Chichester Harbour Management Plan, River Basin Management Plans, Flood Risk Management Plans and Catchment Plans for the Arun and Western Streams should also be taken into account.
Development Around the Coast
4.73. The particular character of the plan area's coast, small coastal villages and hamlets should be protected and enhanced. Policy NE10 (Development in the Countryside) also relates to development outside of settlement boundaries. Policies E8 and E9 set out additional requirements for Built Tourist and Leisure Development and Caravan and Camping Sites.
4.74. Easy access for plant and vehicles from the highway to the sea wall/beach is essential to the efficient and effective maintenance and repair of storm damage to coast protection and sea defence works. The Environmental Permitting Regulations 2016 require the consent of the Environment Agency to be obtained for any works between low water mark and a line 16 metres from the landward side of the defences it maintains. This 16-metre strip of land is required for access for maintenance and/or future improvement and the council will ensure the land is safeguarded from obstruction. This may be done by a condition on an approval removing permitted development rights, such as where the land is part of an existing garden or if necessary, by refusal of an application for safety and access relating to coastal defence.
4.75. Development close to the sea can be damaged by wave and wind-borne sand, grit and shingle and chemical degradation of materials from saltwater and spray. The council therefore requires new buildings to be set back at least 25 metres to safeguard the building and its users, unless the development is a marine based business with a clear functional need to be closer to the water. No new residential uses would be appropriate within this zone. This additional distance on top of that required for access is to provide protection against overtopping shingle around the open coast, and to allow for future erosion at a rate of 0.1 metres per year around Chichester and Pagham harbours.
4.76. Reference must be made to the relevant Shoreline Management Plan and Coastal Defence Strategy to ensure that any proposed development is not affected by a coastal management policy or "managed realignment" or "no active intervention". Even in areas where the policy is "hold the line" there is no guarantee of future funding, and it is anticipated that all coastal protection schemes will require a degree of contribution in order to secure government grant. Although no coastal change management areas are proposed in this plan, the use of a 25m buffer around the coast allows for a degree of coastal change.
4.77. The coast also accommodates an active marine economy, including boatyards and marina sites. These contribute to the economy of the wider area and are important for tourism and recreation. It is considered important these are retained in this use, whilst being able to evolve and change to accommodate and develop new technology, provided they do not have an adverse impact on the sensitive environment of the coast.
4.78. Exceptionally it may be necessary for a small part of a marina or boatyard to be used for alternative uses in order to ensure the viability of the remainder of the site.
4.79. For avoidance of doubt, references to the coast include areas around Chichester and Pagham Harbours and Medmerry Compensatory Habitat as well as areas bordering the open sea.
Policy NE12 Development around the Coast
Planning permission will be granted for development on the coast where it can be demonstrated that:
- There are no harmful effects on or net loss of nature conservation or areas of geological importance, within the Chichester and Pagham Harbours and Medmerry Compensatory Habitat (including no adverse effects on the associated European designatedsites);
- The development provides recreational opportunities, that do not adversely affect the character, environment and appearance of the coast and Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or result in adverse effects of integrity to European designated wildlife sites;
- A high quality and inclusive design of new buildings in coastal locations has been achieved in accordance with other relevant design and historic environment policies;
- There are measures in place to mitigate any detrimental effects including where appropriate the improvement of existing landscapes relating to the proposal;
- Where appropriate, opportunities have been taken to upgrade existing footpaths and cyclepaths, enhance the England Coast Path and ensure that public access is retained and provided to connect existing paths along the waterfront;
- Where relevant, the development would result in improvements to or redistribution of moorings, marine berths or launch on demand facilities (dry berths) in the harbours; and
- The development would not be detrimental to infrastructure for, and quality of, water-based recreation, or to the safety of navigation.
A strip of land of at least 16 meters immediately behind the landward edge of the existing or proposed sea defence or coast protection works should be kept clear to allow access for maintenance or repair.
Around the open coast, new buildings should be setback at least 25 metres from the landward edge of the existing or proposed sea defence or coast protection works in order to prevent storm damage to buildings.
Around Chichester Harbour and Pagham Harbour the 25 metre setback should be measured from the mean high water level to allow for future erosion.
Development for non-residential uses with a functional need to be closer to the water should be accompanied by an assessment of the development's vulnerability to coastal change to ensure any risk is suitably mitigated and managed and that the proposals do not hinder any coastal defence or management scheme.
Replacement buildings will be permitted unless there is evidence that the existing or demolished property has been damaged as a result of the effect of wind and waves. Replacement buildings should be set further back whenever possible.
At boatyard and marina sites within the coastal area the council will permit water compatible development associated with boat building, and the fitting out, maintenance and repair of boats and ancillary uses, provided that it does not:
- Jeopardise the safety and ease of navigation on the water or have a detrimental impact on the regime of the river;
- Harm nature conservation, landscape or heritage interests; or
- Damage water quality.
Exceptionally, development or redevelopment incorporating a modest amount of ﬂoorspace for non-boat related uses may be permitted where it has been demonstrated that such a use is appropriate to and needed to secure the future of a boatyard or marina, and the development will complement the use of the site and/or the enjoyment of the water. A marketing report as set out in Appendix C will be needed to show that the site is no longer needed for its current use.
Chichester Harbour AONB
4.80. Chichester Harbour AONB is a unique landscape of sheltered open water areas with contrasting narrow channels. The movement of the tide exposes bare mudflat and saltmarsh creating a wide, open and remote wilderness. The undeveloped character of the harbour is unique on the South Coast and its status as a Ramsar wetland, a Special Protection Area, a Special Area of Conservation and a Site of Special Scientific Interest reflects its importance to nature conservation. The largely flat hinterland includes highly productive farmland, as well as woodlands and hedgerows that contribute to the rural character of the area. The flatness of the landscape makes the AONB particularly vulnerable to visual intrusion from inappropriate development, both within or adjacent to the boundary, which can often be seen from significant distances across inlets, the main harbour channels, or open countryside. The council will have particular regard to these characteristics in determining development proposals affecting the AONB.
4.81. Chichester Harbour Conservancy has produced an AONB Management Plan on behalf of the constituent Authorities (Havant Borough Council, Chichester District Council, West Sussex County Council and Hampshire County Council). The Management Plan sets out an Integrated Coastal Zone Management Strategy for the Trust Port and AONB, identifies the special qualities of the landscape and provides the framework for the management and ongoing spatial planning of Chichester Harbour AONB. The council adopted the latest Chichester Harbour Management Plan 2019-2024 in March 2019, with the exception of the 18 Planning Principles which are written for the specific use of Chichester Harbour Conservancy. The Conservancy has also produced an AONB Landscape Character Assessment, and Sustainable Shorelines: General Guidance (to help advise on sea defences). In 2017 the council adopted the Joint Chichester Harbour AONB Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). The SPD provides guidance for development proposals and expands on the vision, objectives and policies of the adopted development plan documents for Chichester District Council and Havant Borough Council.
4.82. Applicants should seek pre-application advice from Chichester Harbour Conservancy for proposed development, particularly intertidal structures including coastal defence, jetties and pontoons, reclamation and dredging, increases in the resident fleet or moorings and dry berth transfers.
4.83. Communities within the AONB have minimum development needs which should be met. These include the need for affordable homes, employment, a choice of transport modes, community facilities, and a population sufficient to enable rural facilities and services to remain viable. However, the NPPF sets out that great weight should be given to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty in protected areas including AONBs, meaning the scale and extent of such development should be limited. Where development is likely to have an adverse impact, there may be a requirement to demonstrate which alternatives have been considered and that developing the proposed site outweighs the landscape value of the area.
Policy NE13 Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
The impact of individual proposals and their cumulative effect on Chichester Harbour AONB and its setting will be carefully assessed. Planning permission will be granted where it can be demonstrated that:
- The natural beauty and locally distinctive features of the AONB are conserved and enhanced;
- Proposals reinforce and respond to, rather than detract from, the distinctive character and special qualities of the AONB as defined in the Chichester Harbour AONB Management Plan;
- Either individually or cumulatively, development does not lead to actual or perceived coalescence of settlements or undermine the integrity or predominantly open and undeveloped, rural character of the AONB and its setting, including views into and from the South Downs National Park;
- The development is appropriate to the economic, social and environmental well-being of the area or is desirable for the understanding and enjoyment of the area;
- The development is consistent with the policy aims of the Chichester Harbour AONB Management Plan and Joint Chichester Harbour AONB SPD; and.
- New development is set back at least 25m from the mean high water level in line with Policy NE12, with replacement buildings set further back whenever possible.
Proposals for major development will be refused other than in exceptional circumstances, and where it can be demonstrated to be in the public interest, as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework.
Integrated Coastal Zone Management for the Manhood Peninsula
4.84. The Manhood Peninsula covers the southernmost part of the plan area (see Appendix A), extending from just south of Chichester city to the coast. The Peninsula has been settled for centuries and contains several historic conservation areas and a diverse range of listed buildings and historical features. The area has a distinctive character, experiencing excellent light quality, sunshine hours and dark night skies and faces a specific set of planning challenges. These issues include:
- Significant areas at risk from coastal erosion and flooding which is further accentuated by a high-water table and poor land drainage. These issues need to be managed and mitigated in the face of climate change. The Medmerry Managed Realignment Scheme, which was permitted in 2011, involved moving back the line of coastal defence to a more sustainable position inland to mitigate flood and erosion risk. The realignment subsequently created a new inter-tidal zone and compensatory habitat to replace habitat losses elsewhere on the South Coast.
- Environmental designations cover, or impact on, most of the Peninsula, including the Chichester Harbour SAC/SPA/Ramsar sites, Pagham Harbour SPA/Ramsar sites and Marine Conservation Zone, Solent and Dorset Coast SPA, Solent Maritime SAC, Selsey Bill and The Hounds MCZ, the Chichester Harbour AONB, the Medmerry Compensatory Habitat and the Chichester Canal. The Manhood Peninsula Partnership and Manhood Wildlife Heritage Group have also been designated by Natural England and DEFRA as Nature Recovery Network Delivery Partners.
- Poor road accessibility and problems of traffic congestion result from the limited road connections to the north, the junctions on the A27 Chichester Bypass, and increased traffic during the summer holidays and major events in the district. There are reasonably regular bus services serving Selsey, East Wittering and the other main settlements on the Peninsula, however, these are more limited in terms of evening and weekend services. Direct off-road cycle paths and pedestrian routes are also lacking. These problems of accessibility are further accentuated by the fact that the Peninsula relies strongly on Chichester city for employment, shopping, entertainment and other key facilities, which increases the need to travel.
- The local economy is heavily dependent on tourism, agriculture and horticulture, resulting in a relative lack of employment opportunities with many local jobs seasonal and poorly paid. The development of green tourism could extend the season and increase the viability of the tourism economy.
- The Peninsula has an above-average proportion of older people and is a popular retirement area. Many of the coastal areas also have very high numbers of second homes which may be responsible for fewer people in village centres out of season.
4.85. Across the Peninsula, there is a need to adapt to the potential impacts of climate change and sea level rise and address the economic, social and transport/accessibility issues facing the area, whilst protecting its unique character. The Plan continues to provide for moderate growth in the Peninsula to reflect these circumstances, specifically the limited infrastructure and significant environmental considerations.
4.86. In delivering this growth, the council continues to work with other public bodies and local communities to develop a coordinated approach known as Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM). This process integrates the different policies affecting the coast. There is a strong focus upon partnership working and informed collaboration between all relevant stakeholders.
4.87. The Manhood Peninsula Partnership prepared a document entitled 'Towards Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) on the Manhood Peninsula' in 2011, which identifies management options for the coastal zone including resilience to climate change. It is an aspirational plan that reflects the views and objectives of the communities on the Peninsula. The document has been subject to public consultation and has been approved by the council as capable of being a material consideration in the determination of planning applications. 'Resilience and Adaptation – ICZM 2021 and beyond' has since been written by the Manhood Peninsula Partnership to provide parishes, communities and environmental groups on the Manhood Peninsula with information and practical ideas about climate change issues affecting the peninsula.
4.88. The ICZM provides a framework for an integrated approach to meet the particular challenges facing the Manhood Peninsula. The council will continue to work with other relevant stakeholders to implement the community aspirations and objectives set out in the 'Towards ICZM' document.
4.89. The council will prepare plans, strategies, projects and other measures, in partnership with other organisations and local communities, to ensure that the Manhood Peninsula is planned for in a coordinated and integrated manner, whilst recognising the individual needs of the communities within the area and the risks presented by climate change.
Policy NE14 Integrated Coastal Zone Management for the Manhood Peninsula
Proposals and initiatives that promote the following general objectives will be supported:
- Facilitate the economic, environmental and social well-being of the area;
- Address proposals for the coastline and coastal communities as set out in Coastal Defence, Flood Defence and Climate Change Strategies and Guidance; Shoreline Management Plans and Catchment Flood Management Plans; the South Marine Plan; relevant Marine Conservation Zone Designation Orders; and Surface Water and Drainage Management Plans;
- Increase resilience to climate change by contributing to greater safeguarding of property from flooding or erosion. Enable the area, pattern and lifetime of development to adapt to change, including the relocation of current settlement areas, vulnerable facilities and infrastructure that might be directly affected by the consequences of climate change;
- All development proposals should seek to enhance the distinctive character of the Manhood Peninsula, having particular regard to the ecology, landscape and heritage of the area.
- Due to high groundwater levels and the low-lying nature of the Peninsula, any development and associated Sustainable Drainage System (SuDS) must not negatively affect the hydrological conditions or flood risk of neighbouring land or buildings and should contribute to the flood resilience and biodiversity of the peninsula. Open SuDS that support biodiversity should be encouraged where possible.
- Improve infrastructure to support sustainable modes of transport, especially direct cycle routes, bridleways and footpaths, including the canal towpath and National Coastal Footpath; and
- Provide the means of supporting regeneration which allows for climate change resilience and adaptation and nature recovery for the Manhood Peninsula, whilst aiding growth of existing local economy employment areas.
Flood Risk and Water Management
4.90. Parts of the plan area will be at increased risk from coastal erosion, groundwater, fluvial and/or tidal flooding in the future due to increased severe rainfall, sea level rise and storm surges. Maintenance of all hard defences will not be feasible or affordable in the long term, so development needs to be avoided in areas at risk of flooding and erosion, whilst ensuring that existing towns and villages are protected to appropriate standards by sustainable means that make space for water in suitable areas. Development must take account of the relevant shoreline management plan.
4.91. There are serious concerns about the impacts of flooding, both in respect of current properties at risk but also the long-term management of the area. These issues are key factors in determining the scale and location of development. It is important that inappropriate development is avoided in areas currently at risk from flooding, or likely to be at risk as a result of climate change, or in areas where development is likely to increase flooding elsewhere.
4.92. Any development in the plan area must therefore have regard to flood and erosion risk, now and in the future, by way of location and specific measures, such as additional flood alleviation, which will protect people, properties and vulnerable habitats from flooding. Recent changes to national guidance highlight the importance of considering flood risk from all sources, and this is particularly significant for the plan area as large parts of it are at risk from groundwater flooding, which needs to be recognised in development decisions alongside the well-established risks in relation to tidal, fluvial and surface water flooding. Appropriate mapping of all sources of flood risks is still evolving, and is likely to develop further over the plan period.
4.93. Any risk must be assessed by using the council's Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) alongside any more recent information from the Environment Agency and Local Lead Flood Authority. A Level 1 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment for the Chichester plan area has been carried out in accordance with the NPPF and its accompanying PPG. This is supplemented by a Level 2 version, which focuses on particular sites. The Local Plan has also been informed by the sequential test and the Plan follows the sequential approach set out in national policy.
4.94. Built development can lead to increased surface water run-off; therefore, new development should incorporate mitigation techniques in its design, such as permeable surfaces and Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS). Where appropriate, SuDS should be used as part of the linked green infrastructure network to provide multiple functions and benefits to landscape quality, recreation and biodiversity. This can be achieved through habitat creation, new open spaces and good design. SuDS should be designed to help cope with intense rainfall events and to overcome any deterioration in water quality status. In determining the suitability of SuDS for individual development sites, developers should refer to guidance published by the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) and if necessary, seek further advice from the LLFA. In preparing appropriate SuDS proposals consideration must be given to the potential cumulative effects of run-off from development, particularly in circumstances where there are existing communities affected by flooding from surface water and drainage.
4.95. The NPPF, along with national level guidance, sets out the requirement for site-specific flood risk assessment. Currently this requirement applies to development in Flood Zones 2 and 3, sites of 1 hectare or more in Flood Zone 1, land identified by the Environment Agency as having critical drainage problems, land identified in a SFRA as at increased flood risk in future, or land that may be subject to other sources of flooding, where its development would introduce a more vulnerable use (NPPF para 167).
4.96. Environment Agency consent is required for any works within 16 m of tidal waters and 8m of fluvial watercourses in line with the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2016. This strip is required for access. The policy includes a setback requirement to ensure this access strip is not obstructed.
Policy NE15 Flood Risk and Water Management
Flood and erosion risk will be taken into account at all stages of the planning process to avoid inappropriate development in areas at current or future risk of flooding, from any source. Development will be directed to areas of lowest flood risk applying the sequential test and where relevant the exception test. The starting point for application of the sequential test will be the latest Chichester Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) (which includes a sequential test methodology).
Development should not increase the risk of flooding elsewhere, taking into account the cumulative effects of other development, and should seek to achieve a reduction in flood risk for existing communities on and off site.
Where development is necessary in a location at risk of flooding, and has passed the sequential test, then the exception test must also be passed.
Around the coast, including the harbours, new buildings should be set back at least 25 metres in line with Policy NE12 (Development Around the Coast).
Elsewhere, new development should be set back at least 8m from fluvial watercourses and 16 m from tidal watercourses to allow easy access for maintenance and repair.
All development proposals must demonstrate that:
- New site drainage systems are designed to cope with events that exceed the normal design standard, such as by considering flood flow routing and using temporary storage areas;
- There is no increase in either the volume or rate of surface water run-off leaving the site. Where development is on a brownfield site, run off rates should be reduced to match those of greenfield sites wherever possible; and
- Development would not result in or exacerbate coastal squeeze of any European site or prevent managed realignment necessary to protect the European sites.
- For vulnerable development, finished floor levels should be no lower than:
- 300mm above average ground level of the site
- 300mm above the adjacent road level to the building
- 300mm above predicted significant fluvial/tidal flood level (Fluvial 1 in 100year / Tidal 1 in 200year plus latest climate change allowances) for the lifetime of the development.
Construction materials that have low permeability up to at least the same height as finished floor levels should be used. If it is not practical to raise floor levels to those specified above, consultation with the Environment Agency will be required to determine alternative approaches. This includes replacement dwellings.
Sustainable Drainage Systems should be designed into the landscape of all major development, and all development that needs a site-specific flood risk assessment; in order to reduce surface water flow, to provide flood mitigation and improve water quality. Clear and funded management arrangements must be in place for the lifetime of the development. The use of SuDs on smaller sites is encouraged.
Site-specific flood risk assessments will be required for all relevant proposals as set out in the NPPF and the Planning Practice Guidance and/or relevant guidance issued by the Environment Agency and LLFA. Development will only be allowed in flood risk affected areas where, in light of this assessment, and the sequential and exception tests as applicable, it is clear that:
- The proposal addresses the specific requirements of the site, including adaptation and mitigation measures to reduce flood risk, locating the most vulnerable uses in the area of the site with lowest flood risk, and where a residual flood risk remains, incorporates protection, resilience and resistance measures which are appropriate to the character and biodiversity of the area;
- The development will be safe, including access and egress, without increasing the flood risk elsewhere, and where possible, will reduce flood risk overall. A site-specific flood warning and evacuation plan will be required where residual flood risk remains;
- In the event of a flood the development could be quickly brought back into use without significant refurbishment;
- The development would not constrain the natural function of the flood plain, either by impeding flood flow or reducing storage capacity, and that consideration has been given to opportunities for natural flood management.
- Where strategic flood defence or adaptation measures are necessary within the site, these are designed as an intrinsic part of the scheme.
All development proposals must take account of relevant Strategic Flood Risk Assessments, Surface and Foul Water Drainage SPD, relevant Surface Water Management Plans, South East River Basin Management Plan, Catchment Flood Management Plans, Shoreline Management Plans, The Marine Plan South, Coastal Defence Strategies, Flood Risk Management Plans and any other related flood defence plans and strategies as well as national guidance.
Water Management and Water Quality
4.97. For most of the plan area, water is supplied by Portsmouth Water and wastewater is dealt with by Southern Water, who also supply water in part of the north of the plan area known as the Sussex North Water Supply Zone. A small area to the north of the plan area near Haslemere is served by Thames Water.
Water Supply and the efficient use of water:
4.98. Water efficiency is regulated by Part G of the Building Regulations which require (section G2) that reasonable provision must be made by the installation of fittings and fixed appliances that use water efficiently for the prevention of undue consumption of water. For new dwellings, daily water use per person must not exceed 125 litres per person per day, with an optional tighter target of 110 litres per person per day where there is a clear local need. The Environment Agency has identified the areas supplied by Portsmouth Water and Southern Water as at serious water stress and so the tighter target applies to the Chichester plan area.
4.99. Given the area is at serious water stress it is important that the water used by non-residential uses is also minimised. A new reservoir known as Havant Thicket is planned to be completed by 2029 in nearby Havant. The reservoir will support the future water supply needs in the Portsmouth Water catchment and Southern Water via bulk supply in Hampshire.
4.100. In the north of the plan area, properties within Southern Water's Sussex North Water Resource Zone are supplied with water from a groundwater abstraction at Pulborough which is currently subject to environmental investigations to ensure there is no adverse impact on environmentally designated sites in the Arun Valley. This may impact on the available supply and alternative sources may need to be considered by Southern Water. Natural England published a position statement in September 2021 requiring developments within the Sussex North Supply Zone to be water neutral – this means that the use of water in the supply area after the development is the same or lower than before. A Water Neutrality Strategy had been prepared jointly with other affected authorities. Natural England's Position Statement sets out an interim approach based on minimising water use in new builds and offsetting the water that is used.
4.101. Ten wastewater treatment works (WwTW) currently serve the plan area. A Water Quality Assessment was prepared in 2018 to help understand the capacity of existing WwTW to accommodate proposed development. This has been supplemented and updated by ongoing discussions with Southern Water and the Environment Agency, published in the form of Statements of Common Ground.
4.102. It is clear that upgrades to wastewater infrastructure will be necessary to manage the increased wastewater from housing growth over the plan period whilst maintaining and improving the water quality of receiving waters.
4.103. Southern Water is preparing a Drainage and Wastewater Management Plan (DWMP) for the Arun and Western Streams area which will consider the options and priorities for the conveyance and treatment of wastewater over the next 25 years. This includes considering the impacts of climate change and the potential need to relocate works affected by sea level rise in future. The DWMP has been used to inform the Local Plan and associated development strategy.
4.104. The Surface Water and Foul Drainage SPD provides guidance for applicants on how to address relevant water management issues in the context of the capacity of existing wastewater treatment infrastructure when considering any potential new development. The SPD is a material consideration when assessing planning applications and will be updated.
4.105. This policy helps to reduce the flow going to WwTW by requiring that all new dwellings achieve the tighter building regulations water consumption target. It is noted that both Portsmouth Water and Southern Water have targets to reduce water consumption to 100 litres per person per day (lppd) by 2040, a lower figure than the current most stringent Building Regulation target of 110 lppd. Policy NE19 (Nutrient Neutrality) covers the need for nutrient neutrality in parts of the plan area.
4.106. The Water Management and Water Quality policy applies additional restrictions to development in the Apuldram (Chichester) Wastewater Treatment Catchment in order to protect the water environment of Chichester Harbour. The catchment is affected by a high level of groundwater infiltration to the sewer network which has historically led to high winter flows to the treatments works, meaning the storm overflow has been in operation for significant periods of time. The Environment Agency and Southern Water agreed a joint position statement in December 2018, which is a material consideration in determining planning applications in the catchment.
4.107. A position statement to manage development in the Thornham Wastewater Treatment Catchment where headroom is environmentally constrained was agreed in November 2021.
Policy NE16 Water Management and Water Quality
Development proposals will be permitted that demonstrate:
- Sufficient water supplies can be provided prior to occupation to serve the development and;
- Provision of a water supply is not considered detrimental to existing abstractions, river flows, water quality, fisheries, amenity or nature conservation.
All new residential proposals must demonstrate that a maximum water consumption of 110 litres per person per day including external water use will be achieved, and lower water use will be encouraged. A tighter target applies to development in the Sussex North Water Resource Zone as set out in policy NE17.
- Water efficiency of non-residential uses will be assessed using the BREEAM New Construction Standard and should achieve at least 3 credits.
- In addition to improving water efficiency, water neutrality will be required for all development in Southern Water's Supply Zone North in line with Policy NE17 and encouraged elsewhere in the plan area. This is likely to require offsetting of water use.
Water Quality and Wastewater:
Development proposals will be permitted that demonstrate:
- the development has no adverse impact on the quality of water bodies and groundwater, nor will it prevent future attainment of favourable conservation status, taking into account agreed mitigation measures where necessary;
- the development contributes positively to the water environment and its ecology and does not adversely affect surface and ground water quality;
- no surface water from new development will be discharged to the public foul or combined sewer system;
- development is phased to align with the delivery of new or improved wastewater infrastructure where this is required;
- the provision of water infrastructure is not considered detrimental to the water environment, including existing abstractions, river flows, water quality, fisheries, amenity and nature conservation;
- compliance with position statements that may be agreed with partners in relation to wastewater; and
- compliance with the Surface Water and Foul Drainage and Wastewater Management Supplementary Planning Document or future replacement.
Residential development within the catchment of the Apuldram (Chichester) Wastewater Treatment Works
Development in the catchment will be permitted that demonstrates:
- Through a drainage impact assessment, that the development complies with the principles set out in the latest Apuldram Position Statement.
- New development outside of the settlement boundaries of Chichester, Fishbourne and Stockbridge will not drain to the Apuldram WwTW.
- Major development (10+ dwellings) within the settlement boundaries of Chichester, Fishbourne and Stockbridge will result in no net increase in flows to the sewer network of the Apuldram WwTW.
- Minor development (1-9 dwellings) within the settlement boundaries of Chichester, Fishbourne and Stockbridge, may be able to connect but should seek to achieve no net increase in flows wherever possible.
Residential development within the catchment of the Thornham Wastewater Treatment Works
A drainage impact assessment should show that the development complies with the principles set out in the latest Thornham Position Statement.
4.108. Part of the Chichester plan area in the northeast of the district lies within the Sussex North Water Resource Zone (WRZ). This WRZ is supplied by the Pulborough groundwater abstraction site. As well as covering part of the Chichester plan area, the WRZ includes areas within Crawley Borough, Horsham District and the South Downs National Park. Within the WRZ, water is mains-distributed by Southern Water.
4.109. The abstraction site is located on the River Arun close to a group of nature conservation sites, known as the Arun Valley Sites, that are nationally or internationally designated as Special Areas of Conservation, a Special Protection Area and Ramsar Site for their rare and protected habitats. On 14 September 2021, local planning authorities covered by the WRZ received a position statement from Natural England. This explained it could not be concluded that extraction was not having an impact on the Arun Valley Sites and that development must not add to this impact. Given the high level of regulatory protection afforded to the Arun Valley Sites as a result of their designation, this requires local planning authorities to demonstrate that development plan documents and planning decisions will not have an adverse effect on the sites. To achieve this, development must be water neutral (i.e. not increase the demand for water above current rates of abstraction)
4.110. In order to ensure that water supplies can be maintained and the environment protected, the affected local authorities have worked with consultants, Natural England, Southern Water, the Environment Agency and others to produce a Water Neutrality Strategy. To deliver new development, the Strategy outlines why and how all new development must be highly water efficient to contribute to achieving water neutrality. This means that all development will need to be designed to achieve water efficiency standards above the requirements set by the optional requirements in Building Regulations – new residential development will be required to use no more than 85 litres per day and non-residential buildings required to achieve 3 credits within the BREEAM water issue category. This may include incorporating a range of measures, such as greywater recycling and rainwater harvesting into the design of new development, and fitting water saving fixtures such as flow regulators, low flush toilets, low volume bath, aerated taps and water efficient appliances (in particular, washing machines and dishwashers).
4.111. The Water Neutrality Strategy shows that water efficient design will not be sufficient alone to achieve water neutrality, as new development would still increase the demand for water above existing levels. As a consequence, this additional demand will need to be offset against existing supplies. It is envisaged this will be achieved through demand management savings identified in Southern Water's Water Resource Management Plan, together with measures to be identified in a joint local planning authority-led Offsetting Implementation Scheme (OIS) being prepared. Those using the OIS to offset water, will 'buy in' to the scheme at a level to ensure their development achieves water neutrality.
4.112. The Water Neutrality Strategy provides evidence that the amount of development proposed in the affected area in this Local Plan, and in Local Plans of the other affected authorities, would not increase abstraction at Pulborough and, thus, would not negatively impact on the Arun Valley Sites. Recognising that the capacity of water offsetting the OIS can provide may be limited at particular points in time during the plan period, the authorities will have to monitor use across the WRZ and manage access to the OIS to ensure sufficient water capacity exists to ensure water neutrality is achieved when permissions are granted.
4.113. Applicants will have to demonstrate their scheme is water neutral within a water neutrality statement submitted as part of any application within the WRZ. Should applicants not seek to utilise the OIS, applications should also provide full details of the offsetting scheme that their development would rely upon. The council will seek to provide additional guidance to further assist applicants with water neutrality statements. Offsetting schemes can occur in any part of the WRZ, with the exception of the Bramber/Upper Beeding area in Horsham District identified on the WRZ Map – unless the development is also proposed in that area. This is on the basis water in this part of the WRZ is usually provided by a water source other than the Pulborough abstraction site.
Policy NE17 Water Neutrality
- All development within the Sussex North Water Resource Zone (WRZ) will need to demonstrate water neutrality through water efficient design and offsetting of any net additional water use of the development. This is to be achieved by ensuring that:
Water Efficient Design
Offsetting Water Use
- New residential development is designed to utilise no more than 85 litres of mains supplied water per person per day;
- New non-domestic buildings to achieve a score of 3 credits within the water (WAT01 Water Consumption) issue category for the BREEAM Standard or an equivalent standard set out in any future update;
- Development proposals must demonstrate that having achieved water efficient design, any remaining mains-supplied water use from the development is offset such that there is no net increase in mains-supplied water use within the WRZ compared with pre-development levels.
- A local planning authority-led water offsetting scheme will be introduced to bring forward development supported by Local and Neighbourhood Plans. The authorities will manage access to the offsetting scheme to ensure that sufficient water capacity exists to accommodate planned growth within the plan period.
- Development proposals are not required to utilise the local planning authority-led offsetting scheme and may bring forward their own offsetting schemes. Offsetting schemes can be located within any part of the WRZ, with the exception that offsetting will not be accepted within the Bramber/Upper Beeding area identified on the WRZ map, unless the application site is located within the Bramber/Upper Beeding area.
Alternative Water Supply
- Where an alternative water supply is to be provided, the statement will need to demonstrate that no water is utilised from sources that supply the Sussex North WRZ. The acceptability of alternative water supplies will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Water Neutrality Statement
- A water neutrality statement will be required to demonstrate how policy requirements have been met in relation to water supply, water efficient design and offsetting. The statement shall provide, as a minimum, the following:
- baseline information relating to existing water use within a development site;
- full calculations relating to expected water use within a proposed development; and
- full details of how any remaining water use will be offset.
Source Protection Zones
4.114. Public water sources for the south of the plan area are reliant on the chalk aquifer of the South Downs which is designated as a Principal Aquifer providing groundwater resources for public water supply and the environment.
4.115. Chalk aquifers can easily be polluted from a number of sources including:
- Industry and agriculture
- The disposal of effluent in soakaways
- The disturbance of contaminated sites
- Inappropriate storage of oil and chemicals during and post constructions
- Development near to solution features in the chalk (e.g. swallow holes) increasing groundwater turbidity
- Piling and inappropriate foundation design
- Inappropriate drainage systems (for example, infiltration drainage into the aquifer or bore hole soakaways)
4.116. Policy NE18 is designed to assist in the protection of groundwater and controlled waters by ensuring the risk to water within source protection zones is managed and where appropriate mitigated. This complements the powers and duties of the Environment Agency, the statutory body responsible for the protection of groundwater in England, and the catchment management approach being taken by water companies. This approach aims to address pollution at its origin in the catchment to prevent deterioration and improve the quality of water in the chalk aquifer, supporting abstraction for public water supply.
4.117. Areas of aquifer vulnerability are defined by the Environment Agency as source protection zones (SPZs). These zones show the risk of contamination from any activities that might cause pollution in the area. Within the Chichester plan area, the SPZs primarily affect the south of the plan area – with the most sensitive Zones 1 and 1c around the west of Chichester, with smaller areas in locations along the A27 to the west on the edge of the SDNP, and close to Tangmere in the east. Zone 1 is defined as the 50 day travel time from any point below the water table to the source. Zone 1c refers to subsurface activity only and extends Zone 1 to where the aquifer is confined and may be impacted by deep drilling activities. The extent of Zones 1 and 1c is shown on the policies map.
4.118. The Environment Agency and Portsmouth Water will be consulted at the earliest opportunity on any application for new development in Zones 1 and 1c. In most cases it will be possible to protect groundwater and public water supply through appropriate planning conditions. However, where development is proposed in areas of extreme vulnerability, such as where solution features are present, it may be appropriate to apply exclusion zones around such features.
4.119. The policy requires a Conceptual Site Model (CSM) and risk assessment for all proposals likely to affect Zones 1 and 1 c of a SPZ. The CSM can take a phased approach, starting with a desk top study and literature review to identify potential source, pathway and receptor linkages. The findings of this will inform whether an intrusive investigation is needed to establish the risk of contamination in the hydrological setting. Once the risk is established then options can be assessed to ensure that development removes or adequately minimises the risk to groundwater. Portsmouth Water have produced Groundwater Protection Guidance Notes to assist applicants when considering development on the Principal Chalk Aquifer and in Aquifer Source Protection Zones.
Policy NE18 Source Protection Zones
Where development is proposed in a location likely to affect Zones 1 and 1c of a Source Protection Zone identified on the policies map a Conceptual Site Model and risk assessment must be provided covering the following key risks:
- Contaminated land;
- Importation and use of soils;
- Drainage and Sustainable Drainage Systems;
- Piling and foundation design;
- Activities that include large scale ground disturbance such as excavations;
- Storage of chemicals and polluting materials; and
- Waste disposal.
Where a risk is identified, development proposals must:
- Provide appropriate mitigation to minimise the risk to groundwater which may include requirements for groundwater monitoring; and
- Ensure the ongoing management and maintenance of any mitigation measures.
Nutrient Neutrality in Chichester Harbour
4.120. In February 2018 the Chichester Harbour designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) was downgraded from 'Unfavourable – recovering' to 'Unfavourable – no change'. Further assessment during 2019/20 found that more than 3000ha of the intertidal parts of Chichester Harbour were now 'Unfavourable – declining'. A specific policy is therefore required to address this issue. Nitrates finding their way into the Harbour (from a variety of sources) cause algal growth which is harmful to wildlife. Although the proportion of total nitrogen originating from new development is very small, it is important that this source is addressed whilst other measures, such as catchment management, are undertaken to reduce other inputs and recover wildlife.
4.121. To ensure there is no net increase and where possible a net reduction in nutrients to the Harbour, all relevant developments within the Solent catchment, which includes Chichester and Langstone Harbours SPA/Ramsar, will need to demonstrate that they are nutrient neutral, either by their own means or through contributions to an agreed nutrient mitigation scheme, for the lifetime of the development. This requirement applies to residential development, tourist attractions and other development involving an overnight stay. The relevant catchments are identified in advice published by Natural England. This advice, together with other information, including a Solent nutrient budget calculator which should be used to prepare a nitrogen budget to accompany applications, is available on the council's Nutrient Neutrality webpage. Natural England is due to complete a condition assessment for Pagham Harbour in 2023. Any guidance they produce as a result will be considered a material consideration at that stage, together with Policy NE16 on Water Management and Water Quality.
4.122. Relevant policies of the South Marine Plan should also be considered. Policy S-WQ-1 of the South Marine Plan requires that:
Proposals that may have significant adverse impacts upon water environment, including upon habitats and species that can be of benefit to water quality must demonstrate that they will, in order of preference:
- mitigate significant adverse impacts
Policy NE19 Nutrient Neutrality
Development involving an overnight stay (including in dwellings and all forms of holiday accommodation) that discharges into Chichester and Langstone Harbour SPA/ Ramsar (either surface water, non mains drainage development or through wastewater treatment works) will be required to demonstrate that it will be nutrient neutral for the lifetime of the development, either by its own means or by means of agreed mitigation measures.
4.123. Policies in this section contain detail on the council's strategy for reducing pollution from and on new development. These policies should be used alongside the criteria/standards contained in relevant legislation and national/local guidance and objectives.
4.124. The Local Plan seeks to protect and enhance the environment by improving pollution control measures in development throughout the plan area. This reflects the Plan Vision and environmental objectives, alongside promoting healthy lifestyles and improving quality of life.
4.125. Some forms of development can result in pollutants but are necessary to meet the economic and social needs of the plan area. These may include industrial and commercial land uses and new transport routes. Local Plan policies concerning water quality; nutrient mitigation; contaminated land, light, air and noise pollution all detail the council's strategy for reducing the impact of pollution from/on new development.
4.126. Development proposals must be accompanied by robust and appropriate evidenceto enable assessment of whether there is a likely significant adverse effect on health and quality of life.Mitigation measures must be included in proposals where evidence suggests a likely significant adverse effect.
Policy NE20 Pollution
Development proposals must be designed to protect, and where possible, improve upon the amenities of existing and future residents, occupiers of buildings and the environment generally.
Development proposals will need to address the criteria contained in, but not limited to, the policies concerning water quality; flood risk and water management; nutrient mitigation; lighting; air quality; noise; and contaminated land.
Where development is likely to generate significant adverse impacts by reason of pollution, the council will require that the impacts are minimised and/or mitigated to an acceptable level within appropriate local/national standards, guidance, legislation and/or objectives.
4.127. Light pollution caused by excessive brightness can lead to annoyance, disturbance and impact wildlife, notably nocturnal animals. The design of lighting schemes should be carefully considered in development proposals to prevent light spillage and glare.
4.128. Dark skies are important for the conservation of natural habitats, cultural heritage and astronomy. The plan area includes three 'Dark Sky Discovery Site' designations, all located within the Chichester Harbour AONB; Eames Farm on Thorney Island, Maybush Copse in Chidham; and north of the John Q Davis footpath in West Itchenor. Development within or directly impacting these areas will be subject to particular scrutiny in terms of their impact on dark skies. The entire SDNPA area is also declared as an International Dark Sky Reserve. Development directly impacting this area will be subject to similar scrutiny.
Policy NE21 Lighting
Where development involves an outdoor lighting scheme and where relevant an indoor lighting scheme (supermarkets, glasshouses etc.), proposals will be permitted where it can be demonstrated that all of the following criteria have been addressed:
- The detailed lighting scheme has been prepared in line with relevant British Standards and the latest national design guidance;
- The design minimises unnecessary glare and spillage;
- There is no significant adverse impact on neighbouring development, nature conservation and biodiversity or the wider landscape;
- Light levels are the minimum required for safety, operational and security purposes, taking account of the existing location and character of the area; and
- A lighting assessment will be required in sensitive locations such as the Chichester Harbour AONB and its setting, strategic wildlife corridors and in some other areas occupied and used by wildlife including light sensitive bat species. Such assessment will need to demonstrate how the policy criteria will be met and set out any proposed mitigation in a lighting strategy.
Proposals in, adjacent, or near to areas with Dark Skies Discovery Sites designation or the SDNPA's International Dark Skies Reserve must also demonstrate that there will be no significant adverse effects on the visibility of the night sky. Where appropriate, the council will seek to control the times and intensity of illumination.
The council will consider development proposals against the requirements and standards contained in legislation and current local and national guidance.
4.129. The council has a duty to review and assess air quality within the district, including both the plan area and that part of the South Downs National Park within its administrative boundary.
4.130. The council's Air Quality Action Plan and the West Sussex Transport Plan 2022-2036 both refer to the air quality issues faced by Chichester. There is currently one Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) in the plan area, located at St Pancras, Chichester. AQMAs are designated where air quality exceeds, or is likely to exceed, national air quality standards and objectives. Development within or impacting these areas, or that likely to cause the declaration of any further AQMAs, will be subject to an air quality assessment by the applicant. Similarly, where proposals have potential to cause impact through dust, particulates, polluting gases or odour or introduce sensitive uses adjacent to existing sources of such pollution, then an air quality assessment will be required. Air quality impact assessments are also required for development proposals that would generate an increase in air pollution and are likely to have a significant adverse impact on biodiversity.
4.131. Along with all local authorities in West Sussex, the council is a member of the Sussex Air Quality Partnership which seeks to ensure that a consistent approach is taken towards dealing with air pollution. Air Quality and Emissions Mitigation Guidance for Sussex (2021) sets out guidance on when an emissions mitigation assessment or air quality assessment is likely to be required and gives examples of appropriate mitigation. The Guidance is used in tandem with the Institute of Air Quality Management's Guidance on Land-Use Planning and Development Control: Planning for Air Quality. Applicants for development which may require either assessment are advised to contact the council for further advice.
4.132. There are a number of measures mentioned in the Plan's transport and accessibility and design policies (including the cycling and walking policy) which seek to encourage a reduction in car use and increase low emission transport. These measures include; cycling and walking infrastructure; electric vehicle charge points; car clubs; and behavioural change initiatives.
Policy NE22 Air Quality
Development proposals will be permitted where it can be demonstrated that all the following criteria have been addressed:
- Development is located and designed to minimise traffic generation and congestion through access to sustainable transport modes, including maximising provision of pedestrian and cycle networks;
- Development that creates or results in pollution including particulates, dust, smoke, pollutant gases or odour is designed to minimise and mitigate impact on the amenities of users of the site and surrounding environment including wildlife habitats to an appropriate level;
- Where development is close to an existing use that has potential to impact on the amenity of the proposed development through dust, particulates, pollutant gases and/or odour then an air quality assessment will be required to identify the potential impact on the area and detail the mitigation measures required;
- Where development is likely to have a negative impact on an Air Quality Management Area, or other areas of poor air quality, then an air quality assessment will be required. The air quality assessment will need to identify the potential impact on the area and detail the mitigation measures required to avoid, reduce and where appropriate, offset the identified impact.
The council will consider development proposals against the requirements and standards contained in legislation and current local and national guidance.
4.133. It is recognised that noise exposure can cause annoyance and disturbance, impacting on the quality of life of humans and wildlife. The Noise Policy Statement for England and Planning Noise Advice Document for Sussex provide guidance on addressing noise issues in planning applications and where possible, improving health and quality of life through the pro-active management of noise.
4.134. Residential and other noise sensitive development proposals located in close proximity to noise sources, including transport, commercial and industrial operations, should be accompanied by a noise impact assessment to determine the suitability of the site for the development proposed. Development proposals, where acceptable in principle, should demonstrate good acoustic design incorporated within the scheme, informed by relevant guidance.
4.135. For new noise generating development proposals such as industrial and commercial uses, sites should be located an appropriate distance away from noise sensitive receptors, in accordance with the minimum considerations contained in the Planning Noise Advice Document for Sussex. When acceptable in principle, then distance and appropriate design will be important considerations in achieving an acceptable noise environment.
Policy NE23 Noise
Planning permission will be granted where it can be demonstrated that the following criteria have been addressed:
- Where noise sensitive development is proposed, a high-quality living environment is provided with acceptable levels of amenity for future occupiers by seeking to achieve an absence of significant noise disturbance or annoyance as well as no significant adverse impact on the operation of nearby noise generating uses. Where the noise sensitive development is likely to experience noise disturbance, a noise assessment will be required setting out appropriate mitigation measures.
- Where noise generating development is proposed, any potential significant impact on the amenity and tranquillity of users of the site, by reason of noise disturbance and annoyance on the surrounding area or environment, including wildlife habitats, will be adequately mitigated or minimised to an acceptable level with details provided in a noise assessment.
The council will consider development proposals against the requirements and standards contained in legislation and current local and national guidance.
For development proposed in the vicinity of Goodwood Airfield and Goodwood Motor Circuit, refer to Policy A17 for additional guidance.
4.136. Re-use of land affected by contamination can reduce pressure on greenfield sites and make efficient use of previously developed land. Contaminated land may occur through previous use as a landfill site or due to industrial, commercial and residential use. Sites on or adjacent to land previously used for industrial or similar activities will be assumed to be potentially contaminated.
4.137. All potentially contaminated land should be investigated and remediated prior to development and/or during construction to a standard suitable for the proposed use. A risk assessment of the site will be required to ascertain whether there is potentially unacceptable risk to human health and the environment and to identify if proposed remedial measures to mitigate and monitor the risk are necessary. Investigations should be carried out in accordance with relevant guidance and standards.
4.138. Developers are encouraged to enter pre-application discussions with the council to establish the level of information required for sites before submission of a formal planning application. For some sites, the council will not determine an application until the relevant site investigation and risk assessment documentation has been considered by the council.
Policy NE24 Contaminated Land
Development proposals requiring the remediation of contaminated land will be supported where it is demonstrated that the following criteria have been addressed:
- An appropriate site investigation has been completed to identify and quantify potential sources of contamination within the site; and
- A risk assessment of the site investigation data has been undertaken and used to inform any necessary remediation measures so as to achieve an acceptable level of risk of contamination for future users of the site, the surrounding area and the environment.
 See paragraph 001 of national planning practice guidance "Natural Environment"
 The mitigation hierarchy requires that if significant harm to biodiversity resulting from development cannot be avoided, adequately mitigated, or as a last resort compensated for, then planning permission should be refused. Avoidance of adverse impacts to biodiversity as a direct or indirect result of development must be the first consideration. Avoidance measures may include either locating development on an alternative site with less harmful impact, or locating development within the site to avoid damaging a particular habitat feature. Compensation will only be considered after all other options have been explored and strictly as a last resort.
 The planning authority may require that an earlier baseline is applied where activity, other than that permitted by a planning permission (for example an earlier development), has reduced the on-site biodiversity value since 30 January 2020.
 The scale of the buffer will need to be determined on a case-by-case basis, informed by bat activity survey work and would take account of the species involved and their sensitivity to disturbance/artificial lighting and the natural screening provided by existing surrounding vegetation.
 For this purpose, the NPPF sets out that whether a proposal is 'major development' is a matter for the decision maker, taking into account its nature, scale and setting, and whether it could have a significant adverse impact on the purposes for which the area has been designated or defined
 West Sussex LLFA Policy for the Management of Surface Water
 Noise Policy Statement for England (NPSE) March 2010 (produced by Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs) available from Gov.uk
 Planning Noise Advice Document – Sussex March 2021 (produced by Sussex Local and Regional Authorities) available from Chichester.gov.uk