Eight Ash Green Neighbourhood Plan

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(2) Habitat Regulations Assessment

10.1 Habitat Regulations Assessments have been completed for Colchester Borough Council's Section 1 Local Plan and Section 2 Local Plan. Both of these assessments identified that the in-combination effects of the Section 1 and Section 2 Local Plans (including the cumulative effects of the Section 2 allocations), together with neighbouring local planning authorities Local Plans and neighbourhood plans are likely to adversely affect the integrity of European designated nature conservation sites[i][14] ('European Sites').

10.2 In view of that Colchester Borough Council is working with ten other Greater Essex local planning authorities, and Natural England, on a Recreational disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy (RAMS) for the Essex coast. RAMS is a strategic solution to protect the Essex coast from the recreational pressures of a growing population. A RAMS is usually driven by challenges and opportunities arising from planning issues. RAMS generally applies more broadly than at a single designated European site, provides strategic scale mitigation and enables the development of a generic approach to evidence collection and use.

10.3 Financial contributions will be sought for all residential development, which falls within the zones of influence, towards a package of measures to avoid and mitigate likely significant adverse effects in accordance with policy SP2b of the Shared Strategic Section 1 Plan and policy ENV1 (Environment) of the Section 2 Colchester Borough Local Plan. This includes development allocated in Neighbourhood Plans within Colchester Borough. Details of the zones of influence and the necessary measures will be included in the Essex Coast RAMS Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).

10.4 In the interim period, before the Essex Coast RAMS is completed, proposals within the zones of influence for recreational disturbance to European sites will need to carry out a project level Habitat Regulations Assessment and implement bespoke mitigation measures to ensure that in-combination recreational disturbance effects are avoided and/or mitigated.

Recreational disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Policy

RAMS 1 - All residential development within the zones of influence of European Sites will be required to make a financial contribution towards mitigation measures, as detailed in the Essex coast RAMS, to avoid adverse in-combination recreational disturbance effects on European Sites.

In the interim period, before the Essex Coast RAMS is completed, all residential development within the zones of influence will need to deliver all measures identified (including strategic measures) through project level HRAs, or otherwise, to mitigate any recreational disturbance impacts in compliance with the Habitat Regulations and Habitats Directive.

[14] Colne Estuary Special Protection Area and Ramsar, Blackwater Estuary Special Protection Area and Ramsar and Essex Estuaries Special Area of Conservation

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