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Newark & Sherwood Plan Review - Publication Amended Core Strategy

Biodiversity and Green Infrastructure

5.56     The protection and enhancement of the area's biodiversity and open spaces should be seen not just as the protection of individual elements of towns and villages in the District but as part of the development of an overall 'Green Infrastructure' network of greenspaces, landscapes and natural elements that intersperse and connect the District’s settlements and surrounding areas. To aid the delivery of this network, the District Council has produced a Green Infrastructure Strategy (GIS) that puts forward a range of strategic interventions, shown for illustrative purposes in Figure 3, and also more specific area based interventions both of which will be are supported through the Allocations & Development Management DPD (Adopted July 2013).

5.57     The realisation of this network requires the connecting together of key strategic routes throughout the District, improving linkages between settlements and natural and heritage assets. Southwell is particularly deficient in terms of its Green Infrastructure connections with a poor level of access to both Newark and the west of the District. There is however potential through the establishment of a Multi-User Route based on the Southwell Trail to better link the area to Newark and either Edwinstowe or Ollerton & Boughton.

5.58     The potential for Green Infrastructure to support tourism within the District is clearly evident. This is particularly the case in the west of the District where the possibility exists for the augmenting of the already strong tourism draw from existing Green Infrastructure spurred on by the catalyst of the potential Sherwood Forest Regional Park. Through supporting appropriate Green Infrastructure tourism development in the area, there is potential for Bilsthorpe, Edwinstowe and Ollerton & Boughton to better benefit from local tourism.

5.59     In addition, further tourism related Green Infrastructure provision on Newark’s riverside and improving Green Infrastructure links from Southwell to the District’s north-west could also similarly benefit these two settlements.

5.60     Growth within the District is likely to result in increased pressure on existing Green Infrastructure, though it also represents an opportunity to increase both its accessibility and quality. The Habitats Regulation Screening Assessment undertaken to inform the production of the Core Strategy, suggests that the impact of increased user pressure on the District’s more sensitive biodiversity sites will require the provision of alternative destinations, in the form of Sustainable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANGs). This need will be particularly acute within 5km of the Birklands and Bilhaugh SAC, and in and around Newark and other locations of growth. Further detail on the location, amount and nature of SANGs will be is provided within the Allocations & Development Management DPD. The Developer Contributions and Planning Obligations Supplementary Planning Document and Development Management Policy 3 set out the required measures to mitigate the impact of development at the site or at neighbourhood level.

5.61     Implementation of the aims and objectives of the GIS will be sought by ensuring that development proposals, particularly where feasible and the proposal crosses or adjoins the network, create new Green Infrastructure assets, safeguard existing assets from potential detrimental impacts and contribute towards the overall functioning of the Green Infrastructure network. Greater co-ordination of existing programmes and initiatives and use of partnerships can aid in this process. In terms of funding, the GIS puts forward a combined approach of, where appropriate, funds secured through the planning process in the form of planning obligations and the use of grant money.

5.62     As well as encouraging new locations for biodiversity and improving the District's Green Infrastructure, the District Council is required to protect existing important nature conservation and geological conservation sites. Natural England has designated sites across the District which are considered to be sites of importance due to their nature conservation merits. The District also has a combination of both statutorily designated as well as locally defined sites that are in receipt of planning policy protection. Such locally defined sites will be are designated on the Proposals Policies Map in the Allocations & Development Management DPD.

Level

Designation/Definition

European        

Birklands and Bilhaugh Special Area of Conservation (SAC)

National         

19 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

National         

Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve

Local   

 7 Local Nature Reserves

Local   

 454 locally defined Sites of Interest for Nature Conservation (SINC)

 

5.63     Many of the designated sites lie in the Sherwood Forest Area of the District, and this concentration of sites is vulnerable to the impacts of poor air quality. This has been reviewed as part of the Habitats Regulation Assessment and Natural England has encouraged the Council to take a strategic approach to air quality management. The Council will be preparing an Air Quality SPD on the management of air quality in the Sherwood Area to further address these issues.

Core Policy 12

Biodiversity and Green Infrastructure

The District Council will seek to conserve and enhance the biodiversity and geological diversity of the District by working with partners to implement the aims and proposals of the Nottinghamshire Local Biodiversity Action Plan, the Green Infrastructure Strategy and the Nature Conservation Strategy. The District Council will therefore:

  • Expect proposals to take into account the need for continued protection of the District’s ecological, biological and geological assets. With particular regard to sites of international, national and local significance, Ancient Woodlands and species and habitats of principal importance identified in Section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 and in the Nottinghamshire Local Biodiversity Action Plan;
  • Seek to secure development that maximises the opportunities to conserve, enhance and restore biodiversity and geological diversity and to increase provision of, and access to, green infrastructure within the District;
  • Promote the appropriate management of features of major importance for wild flora and fauna;
  • Provide for Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space to reduce visitor pressure on the District’s ecological, biological and geological assets, particularly in the Newark area and for 5kms around the Birklands and Bilhaugh Special Area of Conservation;
  • Support the development of a Green Infrastructure Network, as illustrated in the Green Infrastructure Diagram, linking together Key Strategic Routes throughout the District and providing for, in appropriate locations, visitor infrastructure that improves accessibility. The District Council will, in particular, promote improved green infrastructure linkages between:
    • Newark and Southwell; and
    • Southwell and the north-west of the District

Development proposals crossing or adjacent to the network should make provision for its implementation and/or enhancement;

  • Positively view proposals that seek to enhance the District’s Green Infrastructure resource in support of tourism development. Proposals in the Bilsthorpe, Edwinstowe and Ollerton & Boughton areas, in connection with the Sherwood Forest Regional Park, will be supported. In Newark, new Green Infrastructure schemes that maximise the potential of the Trent Riverside area will be supported;
  • Support the implementation of area-based Strategic Green Infrastructure interventions through the Allocations & Development Management DPD.
  • Work with partners to develop a strategic approach to managing Air Quality in the Sherwood Area, including through the development of an Supplementary Planning Document.

Figure 3 - Green Infrastructure Diagram