Preferred Options Local Plan

Ended on the 16 September 2016
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5. Environmental Assets Policies

(9) Natural Environment Policy

5.1 Colchester's countryside and coastline is extremely diverse and important in terms of its natural environment, biodiversity, landscape character, archaeology and cultural heritage. The countryside provides the attractive landscape setting that defines and characterises the villages and rural communities of Colchester Borough. The countryside and coastal areas also provide important agricultural, tourism and recreational opportunities that support local economies and communities. The Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty extends into the northern part of the Borough and has the highest status of protection in relation to landscape and scenic beauty.

5.2 The Council has statutory obligations under the Habitats Directive and Birds Directives to protect important habitats and species designated as Natura 2000 sites. This policy aims to protect the undeveloped areas of the Colne Estuary and coast and support regeneration that enhances the river's recreation and nature conservation values.

5.3 Plans or projects likely to have an adverse effect on an internationally designated site will require a full Appropriate Assessment.

5.4 All development proposals are required to be supported by ecological surveys conducted at the appropriate time of year in accordance with current best practice. Where there is a confirmed presence, or reasonable likelihood, of a legally protected species or Species of Principal Importance, on an application site, the applicant will be required to demonstrate that adverse impacts upon the species have been avoided, and where they cannot be avoided adequately mitigated. Mitigation must conform to the requirements of relevant legislation and Government Standing Advice.

5.5 Where Priority Habitats are likely to be adversely impacted by a proposal, the developer must demonstrate that adverse impacts will be avoided, and impacts that cannot be avoided are mitigated on-site. Where residual impacts remain, off-site compensation may be required so that there is no net loss in quantity and quality of Priority habitat in the Borough.

5.6 Protected Hedgerows must be assessed by the Council's Landscape Officer against criteria in the Hedgerow Regulations 1997. Where a hedgerow is deemed to be Important under the Hedgerow Regulations, the developer must demonstrate that adverse impacts upon the Important hedgerow will be avoided This is necessary as the loss of protected 'Important Hedgerows' is difficult to mitigate against as they cannot easily be recreated as either a landscape or ecological feature.

5.7 The Coastal Protection Belt is a county-wide designation that protects the sensitive character of the undeveloped coastline which could be harmed by development that might otherwise be acceptable in a countryside area. The original designation of 1984 has been reviewed with some amendment. The revised boundary based on 2016 evidence will be shown on the Policies Map.

5.8 The green infrastructure network of open spaces and links is important in providing alternative areas of accessible natural green space to alleviate pressure on Natura 2000 sites as well as contributing to the landscape character of Colchester Borough. The Local Plan will make a major contribution towards achieving the objectives of the UK and Essex Biodiversity Action Plans (BAP) (or any future replacements).

5.9 A major threat to the low lying coastal and estuary areas is rising sea levels as a result of climate change. This will be addressed through increasing the network of green corridors and sites to aid the dispersal of species that will need to move as climate change renders their existing habitat unsuitable. Climate change impacts, particularly sea level rise, will also be addressed by accommodating future flood waters through managed realignment projects identified in the Essex and Suffolk Shoreline Management Plan, without harm to the built environment..

5.10 The policy aims to control development outside settlements to protect open stretches of countryside around and between existing settlements to prevent coalescence and retain settlement identity. Proposals are required to have regard to Colchester's Landscape Character Assessment (updated as required) and the Council's adopted Landscape Guidance for Developers for Colchester to help conserve the Borough's landscape character.

5.11 The historic environment will be protected across the Borough with reference to studies including the Townscape Character Assessment, the Urban Archaeological Database and Historic Environment Characterisation Study and updated evidence as required.

(26) Policy ENV1: Natural Environment

The Borough Council will conserve and enhance Colchester's natural and historic environment, countryside and coastline. The Council will safeguard the Borough's biodiversity, geology, history and archaeology which help define the landscape character of the Borough, through the protection and enhancement of sites of international, national, regional and local importance.

In particular, developments that have an adverse impact on Natura 2000 sites or the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty will not be supported. Development proposals within designated areas or within the Coastal Protection Belt will also need to comply with policies ENV2 and ENV4.

Development proposals where the principal objective is to conserve or enhance biodiversity and geodiversity interests will be supported in principle. For all proposals, development will only be supported where it:

  1. Is supported with acceptable ecological surveys where appropriate.
    Where there is reason to suspect the presence of protected species, or Species of Principal Importance, applications should be accompanied by a full survey assessing their presence and, if present, the proposal must be sensitive to, and make provision for their needs.
  2. Will conserve or enhance the biodiversity value of greenfield and brownfield sites and minimise fragmentation of habitats;
  3. Maximises opportunities for the restoration, enhancement and connection of natural habitats in accordance with the UK & Essex Biodiversity Action Plans or future replacements; and
  4. Incorporates beneficial biodiversity conservation features and habitat creation where appropriate.

Proposals likely to have an adverse effect on Special Protection Areas (SPAs), Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Ramsar sites will require a full assessment in line with European legislation.

Additionally, proposals for development that would cause direct or indirect adverse harm to nationally designated sites or other designated areas, protected species, Habitats and Species of Principle Importance or result in the loss of irreplaceable habitats, such as ancient woodland, Important Hedgerows and veteran trees, will not be permitted unless:

  1. They cannot be located on alternative sites that would cause less harm;
  2. The benefits of the development clearly outweigh the impacts on the features of the site and the wider network of natural habitats; and
  3. Satisfactory mitigation and compensation measures are provided.

The Council will take a precautionary approach where insufficient information is provided about avoidance, mitigation and compensation measures and secure mitigation and compensation through planning conditions/obligations where necessary.

(6) Coastal Areas Policy

5.12 The open, undeveloped and rural landscape character of the coastal area of Colchester Borough is an extremely rich, diverse and irreplaceable natural asset in terms of its natural and cultural features. It includes substantial parts of the Colne and Blackwater Estuaries. The ecological importance of the Colne and Blackwater Estuaries is reflected by the variety of international and European designations covering them i.e. Ramsar sites, Special Protection Areas (Birds Directive), and the Essex Estuaries Special Area of Conservation (SAC) designated under the Habitats Directive. There are also a number of Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Local Wildlife Sites designated around the estuaries.

5.13 The Borough's coastline is also home to a number of sizeable communitiesin West Mersea, Rowhedge, and Wivenhoe. As a consequence there are a number of diverse and competing interests which all need to be managed in an integrated way within the Borough's coastal belt. These include internationally important habitats, land and water-based recreation, fishing, archaeological and historic environment assets. Obligations to protect the important natural and cultural assets have to be balanced against the wider socio-economic needs of the Borough's coastal communities. Climate change including sea level rise is likely to present increasing pressure on the management of coastal habitats and coastal communities along Colchester's coastal fringe. The National Planning Policy Framework highlightsthe need to identify 'Coastal Change Management Areas'. The Essex and South Suffolk Shoreline Management Plan (October 2010) has shown that the coastal frontage within the Borough is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and coastal processes. It will be important that future land uses and developments along this frontage, in particular built-up frontages, can demonstrate a high level of resilience in response to changing local climatic conditions.

5.14 In 1984, Essex County Council produced the Essex Coast Protection Subject Plan. This defined a Coastal Protection Belt, which was reviewed and updated in 2016 by the Borough Council. The Coastal Protection Belt aims to protect the rural and undeveloped coastline from inappropriate development that would adversely affect its rural, undeveloped and open character and irreplaceable assets, landward and marine sites of nature conservation importance, and buildings and areas of special architectural, historic or archaeological importance. The Belt's rural and undeveloped coastline is of international, national and regional significance for its historic environment assets, and nature conservation interest. These multiple assets are strongly focussed and interrelated within the defined area, including between the coastline and adjoining inland areas. The Belt has a unique and irreplaceable character which should be strongly protected and enhanced.

5.15 Because the Coastal Protection Belt has a unique and irreplaceable character, there is a local need for greater priority to be given to the restraint of potentially damaging development than is normally possible under national planning policies. The Coastal Protection Belt adopts the precautionary principle and seeks to restrict development to within the built up areas of the coast. Some developments however require a coastal location and cannot be located elsewhere or are needed to help sustain the socio-economic base of a coastal area or serve the needs of the local coastal community. This may include sustainable tourism or leisure related developments, where they meet the requirements of policies elsewhere in the Plan.

5.16 The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has commenced work on the preparation of the first South East (Inshore) Marine Plan. Colchester falls within this plan area. The Marine Plan once completed will cover the area up to mean high water springs, the Borough's coastline and the tidal reaches of the Colne Estuary/ River Colne. The Marine Plan's jurisdiction will overlap with Colchester Borough Council's 's planning responsibilities (which extend to mean low water) The Borough Council must have "due regard" to the Marine Plan. This new and evolving concept of a Marine Plan will at a local level be implemented in accordance with the national Marine Policy Statements. The Local Plan will be integrated with the South East (Inshore) Marine Plan, once it is complete, to provide a consistent approach for planning on land, and within the inter-tidal and marine environments.

(8) Policy ENV2: Coastal Areas

Work has commenced on the preparation of a new South East (Inshore Marine Plan). Until this plan is completed, any planning proposals within the Borough's coastal, estuarine, intertidal and tidal environment, will need to accord with guidance set out in the national Marine Policy Statement.

Within the Coastal Protection Belt and along the undeveloped coast an integrated approach to coastal management will be promoted and development will only be supported where it can be demonstrated that it:

  1. Requires a coastal location and is located within the developed area of the coast;
  2. Will be safe from flooding over its planned lifetime and will not have an unacceptable impact on coastal change;
  3. Will not be significantly detrimental to conserving important nature conservation, historic environment assets, maritime uses and the landscape character of the coast;
  4. Will deliver or sustain social and economic sustainability benefits considered important to the well-being of the coastal communities; and
  5. Provides opportunities and scope for adaptation to climate change; and
  6. Will not hinder the potential future creation and maintenance of a continuous signed and managed coastal access route.

In exceptional circumstances, development may be permitted where it is proven that the proposal provides an overwhelming public or community benefit that outweighs all other material considerations. In such instances applications must demonstrate that the site is the only available option and be acceptable in terms of its other planning merits.

5.17 Alternative Options Considered

No Policy/Rely on the NPPF - The NPPF provides the high level protection but Local Plan policies are required in respect of all the identified environmental issues to provide the appropriate local context and detailed policy guidance against which proposals for development should be considered.

(4) Green Infrastructure Policy

5.18 Green Infrastructure is a strategic network of multifunctional green and blue (water) spaces, and the connections between them, in both urban and rural areas. The Green Infrastructure network may comprise spaces in public or private ownership, with or without public access that is capable of delivering a range of environmental, economic, health and quality of life benefits for local communities and wildlife.

5.19 In Colchester, green infrastructure covers a range of green and blues spaces including allotments, community gardens, amenity greenspaces, cemeteries, natural and semi natural green spaces, river and estuary corridors, play areas and parks and gardens.

5.20 Well connected Green infrastructure networks also function as important wildlife corridors which species use for movement between sites and for feeding and breeding. Strategic green links also provide valuable corridors for the movement of people.

5.21 Existing open spaces, sports facilities and green link networks provide the people of Colchester with opportunities for passive and active recreation and encourages healthy and active lifestyles. It is therefore important that all residents have access to green (or blue) infrastructure close to where they live or work.

5.22 The green spaces along the Colne River, for example, connect the town centre, suburbs, countryside, villages and the coast. These corridors provide alternative means for people making journeys into and across Colchester. It is important therefore that the existing green infrastructure network is protected and enhanced and new links created as part of future developments to improve the GI network and improve the provision of sustainable transport corridors across the Borough where gaps exist.

5.23 To facilitate this, the Council will work with access groups to develop the Colchester Orbital route. While much of this network already exists the network is not complete. Not all sections of the existing route are fully accessible for all potential users. It will be important that new development connects to existing opportunities e.g. access to education and employment. Paths should be constructed to provide direct links that are useable all year round, make users feel secure and minimise maintenance costs. Designs will need to be sympathetic to the Green Infrastructure environment but not allow the GI to become a barrier to sustainable active travel. New developments will be expected to contribute towards the creation of new paths and PROW where gaps exist, to improve linkages with other spurs of the GI network. i.e. Wivenhoe Trail or wildlife areas or to improve the quality of the existing network through improved signage, drainage improvements or landscaping.

5.24 The Orbital Route is shown in Appendix 3. An audit of the Orbital Route will be completed by the Orbital Access Group and the data from this work will be used to guide improvements to be funded from development contributions where appropriate.

(19) Policy ENV3: Green Infrastructure

The Council will aim to provide a comprehensive green infrastructure network comprising strategic green links between the rural hinterland, river corridors and open spaces across the Borough. It will seek to protect and enhance the existing network of green links and open spaces and to create new green infrastructure where deficiencies and gaps are identified to provide corridors that will benefit both wildlife and people. The Council will also work with access stakeholder/groups to support the development of a 'new' multi user route, the Colchester Orbital, around urban Colchester.

Development proposals that contribute to the delivery of projects identified in the Colchester Green Infrastructure Strategy, the Orbital Audit Paper and the Public Rights of Way Improvement Plan for Essex will be positively supported.

The Council will seek opportunities from future developments, where appropriate, to improve the connectivity between the Colchester Orbital route, new developments and the wider countryside. Radial connections will be made between the existing development, the Orbital route and the new development. This will improve the choices available to residents to access and participate more easily in healthy activities, such as walking, cycling and horse riding.

Proposals that cause loss or harm to the green infrastructure network will not be permitted unless the need for and benefits of the development outweigh any adverse impacts. Where adverse impacts on green infrastructure are unavoidable, development will only be permitted if suitable mitigation measures for the network are provided. Key linkages will be constructed to a suitable standard to allow year round secure usage by all.

The Council will seek contributions from new development where practical, to create new paths where gaps are evident in the existing PROW Orbital network or to enhance the quality of the existing route.

The provision of green infrastructure will be central to the masterplanning and future development of new garden communities to be developed in the Borough. The detailed green infrastructure requirements being sought within West Colchester Garden Community and the University Garden Village will be set out in detailed masterplans plans for each of these areas.

5.25 Alternative Policy Option -

Rely on current policy and the NPPF -The NPPF approach is very high level cannot consider local GI need. While the current Local Plan policies broadly meet NPPF objectives, they are out of date as they do not include the need to provide Green infrastructure within the West Colchester and University Garden Communities or as part of the Orbital Project. A new policy is needed to ensure that all future developments identified in the Local Plan adequately consider green and blue needs across the Borough. The Council could decide to not support the Colchester Orbital initiative and rely on ad hoc opportunities to protect and enhance the GI network. This would be less successful regarding the delivery of a well-connected, inter-linked GI network and it would be more difficult to realise the multiple benefits that a comprehensive GI network can deliver for both people and wildlife. Also a failure to deliver green infrastructure as part of future developments in the Borough would not satisfy the principles of sustainable development and would not accord with the national policy.

Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Policy

5.26 The Dedham Vale AONB has been designated for its national importance in terms of landscape quality, and is further enhanced through its close association with the works of artist John Constable. The quality of the landscape is defined by its natural beauty and the integration of the man-made elements within it, and the primary aim of the designation is to conserve and enhance this character.

5.27 The features that define the Natural Beauty and Special Qualities of the Dedham Vale AONB have been identified in the Dedham Vale AONB Natural Beauty and Special Qualities and Perceived and Anticipated Risks Report prepared by the Dedham Vale Joint Management Committee in 2016.

5.28 In this report, Natural Beauty has been defined in terms of Landscape Quality, Scenic Quality, Relative Wildness, Relative Tranquillity and Natural and Cultural Heritage Features. The special qualities have been influenced by factors such as traditional land use patterns, evidence of human habitation through history, geology, river valleys and woodlands or association with artists and writers.

5.29 Applications within or close to the AONB will need to consider how proposals impact on the Natural Beauty and Special Qualities of the Dedham Vale AONB.

5.30 It is essential that AONBs and their setting are conserved and enhanced. However it is acknowledged that the Dedham Vale is a 'living' landscape which needs to be able to adapt, change and respond positively to changing social, economic and environmental issues (climate change, declining agricultural sector, recreational pressures) to meet the needs of the local community and visitors to the area. In exceptional cases development proposals that help maintain the economic and social wellbeing of the AONB will be supported where these do not detract from the special character/quality of the AONB or its setting. Minor house extensions may have little opportunity to enhance the landscape qualities of the AONB and accordingly will not be exclusively rejected on this basis where otherwise acceptable.

5.31 Solar Farms and wind turbines are large developments that can have a visual impact. A visual impact however does not automatically mean that it will have an adverse landscape impact. Proposals for solar farm or wind farms within or near the Dedham Vale AONB should accord with the most current national policy and best practice to help protect the Natural Beauty and Special Qualities of the AONB.

5.32 Proposals outside of the AONB will not be supported where, in the opinion of the Local Planning Authority, they will have an impact on natural beauty, tranquillity, special qualities setting and public enjoyment of the AONB.

(15) Policy ENV4: Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Development will only be supported in or near to the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) that:

  1. Makes a positive contribution to the special landscape character and qualities of the AONB, including tranquillity;
  2. Does not adversely affect the character, quality views and distinctiveness of the AONB or threaten public enjoyment of these areas, including by increased vehicle movement;
  3. That there are no adverse impacts on the setting of the AONB which cannot reasonably be mitigated against and,
  4. Supports the wider environmental, social and economic objectives as set out in the Dedham Vale AONB & Stour Valley Management Plan.

Applications for major development within or in close proximity to the boundary of the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty will be refused unless in exceptional circumstances and where it can be demonstrated that the development is in the public interest.

Where exceptionally development is essential, landscape enhancements, mitigation or compensation measures must be provided to the Local Planning Authority's satisfaction. Any proposals affecting existing development that adversely affects the landscape qualities of the AONB, or its setting will be expected to satisfactorily mitigate this impact as part of any new development proposals.

Proposals for solar farm development or wind farms in or near the Dedham Vale AONB should have regard to the advice in the Council's Guidance Note 'Designing solar farm renewable energy development' and in the 'Dedham Vale AONB Position Statement Renewable Energy in the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (March 2013).

The Council will also encourage proposals in or near the AONB to underground new infrastructure associated with electricity schemes, where financially viable, to help protect the high landscape qualities of the Dedham Vale

5.33 Alternative Options

Rely on the current policy and the NPPF - The NPPF identifies the need to protect designated landscapes such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Relying on national policy however would only provide high level protection to the Dedham Vale AONB. A more detailed Local Plan policy is needed to ensure that the local context and special characteristics of the Dedham Vale (including setting) are recognised and appropriate detailed policy guidance prepared against which proposals for development can be considered.

(7) Climate Change Policy

5.34 The NPPF states that mitigating and adapting to climate change, including moving to a low carbon economy, is part of the role of the planning system. It recognises that planning can help shape places to secure radical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, minimise vulnerability and provide resilience to the impacts of climate change, and support the delivery of renewable and low carbon energy and associated infrastructure. This is fundamental to the achievement of sustainable development.

5.35 Sustainable development is at the heart of the Local Plan. Through the Local Plan the Council is seeking to create communities that secure reductions in greenhouse gas emissions through the location, mix and design of development, provide resilience to the impacts of a changing climate, support the delivery of renewable energy technologies and district heating systems, and minimise waste.

5.36 The Local Plan as a whole sets out a strategy for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Examples of climate change mitigation are:

  • Reducing the need to travel and providing for sustainable transport;
  • Providing opportunities for renewable and low carbon energy technologies;
  • Providing opportunities for decentralised energy and heating;
  • Promoting low carbon design approaches to reduce energy consumption in buildings, such as passive solar design.

5.37 Examples of climate change adaptation are:

  • Considering future climate risks when allocating development sites to ensure risks are understood over the development's lifetime;
  • Considering the impact of and promoting design responses to flood risk and coastal change for the lifetime of the development;
  • Considering availability of water and water infrastructure for the lifetime of the development and design responses to promote water efficiency and protect water quality;
  • Promoting adaptation approaches in design policies for developments and the public realm.

5.38 Developers will be expected to demonstrate how the scheme mitigates and adapts to climate change. In particular proposals will be expected to demonstrate how they have taken account of landform, layout, building orientation, massing, tree planting and landscaping to minimise energy consumption and provide resilience to a changing climate.

5.39 Green infrastructure is a recognised climate change adaptation measure. Green infrastructure has a wide range of benefits, including reducing the adverse impacts of a changing climate. Policy ENV3 includes detailed criteria relating to green infrastructure. Landscaping and tree planting are important climate change adaptation measures and new development should take every opportunity to enhance the Borough's green infrastructure network. Landscaping schemes should include species that will tolerate a changing climate, which will help future proof towns and urban areas against rising temperatures.

5.40 To help contribute towards achieving the climate change target set out in the Climate Change Act 2008 of an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 from a 1990 baseline, the Council will encourage development to meet a proportion of energy needs from renewable or low carbon sources. The Council has an interim aim to meet 40% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 (from a 2006/7 baseline). The Council is set to become a signatory of the Covenant of Lord Mayors by the end of 2016. The Covenant of Mayors is a mainstream European movement involving local and regional authorities, voluntarily committing to increasing energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources. By their commitment, Covenant signatories aim to meet and exceed the European Union objective of 20% CO2 reduction by 2020.

5.41 The Council will support proposals for renewable energy development providing that there would be no adverse effects on a Natura 2000 site or the Dedham Vale AONB. Policy DM23 includes criteria that will be used to assess proposals for renewable energy schemes.

5.42 Whilst renewable energy has an important role to play in contributing to a reduction in Colchester's greenhouse gas emissions, regard should be had to the energy hierarchy. The energy hierarchy sets out the order in which energy issues should be tackled:

  1. Reduce the need for energy;
  2. Use energy more efficiently;
  3. Use renewable energy;
  4. Any continuing use of fossil fuels should be clean and efficient.

5.43 In 2015 Element Energy carried out studies of heat network opportunities in the Northern Gateway and the Hythe for the Council and DECC's Heat Network Delivery Unit (HNDU). This study demonstrated that the scale of heat demand, diversity of uses and heat density expected at the Northern Gateway, together with the new build development and greenfield nature of the site combine to present a highly promising opportunity for an economically viable heat network scheme. The Council commissioned a more detailed investigation of the economic viability and potential financing, delivery and operating models for a heat network scheme at the site, which was published in 2016. The study found that there is significant opportunity to deliver a large fraction of the electricity generated by a gas CHP plant through private wire.

5.44 The study of the Hythe identified five areas within the study area as the focus for an initial study of heat network feasibility. More work is required for each of these opportunity areas to establish whether there is potential for a district heating network. If future work demonstrates that a network(s) would be viable development will need to connect to the network or design for future connection where there are firm proposals in place.

5.45 Existing buildings can also play an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through improved energy efficiency measures. Householders and businesses will be encouraged to make energy efficiency improvements to existing buildings as part of proposals for extensions/ alterations.

5.46 In 2015 the Council published an Environmental Sustainability Strategy. The Council is leading the way in sustainability and this has been achieved by working with partners and taking action beyond our statutory duties. The vision set out in the Environmental Sustainability Strategy, which is reflected in the Local Plan is:

  • Demonstrating strong performance in tackling climate change;
  • Resource efficiency;
  • Environmental protection and enhancement (of both natural and built environments);
  • Sustainable transport;
  • Quality of life for all, whilst respecting its special qualities and capacity for growth.

(13) Policy CC1: Climate Change

The Council will continue to adopt strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change. In addressing the move to a low carbon future for Colchester, the Council will plan for new development in locations and ways that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adopt the principles set out in the energy hierarchy and provide resilience to the impacts of a changing climate.

A low carbon future for Colchester will be achieved by:

  • Encouraging and supporting the provision of renewable and low carbon technologies.
  • Encouraging new development to provide a proportion of the energy demand through renewable or low carbon sources.
  • Encouraging design and construction techniques which contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation by using landform, layout, building orientation, massing, tree planting and landscaping to minimise energy consumption and provide resilience to a changing climate.
  • Requiring both innovative design and technologies that reduce the impacts of climate change within the garden communities.
  • Supporting opportunities to deliver decentralised energy systems, particularly those which are powered by a renewable or low carbon source. Supporting connection to an existing decentralised energy supply system where there is capacity to supply the proposed development, or design for future connection where there are proposals for such a system.
  • Requiring development in the Northern Gateway and East Colchester to connect to, or be capable of connecting to the Gas CHP district heating scheme, through private wire where there is capacity to supply the proposed development.
  • Supporting energy efficiency improvements to existing buildings in the Borough.
  • Minimising waste and improving reuse and recycling rates.

(1) 5.47 Alternative options

An alternative option is to retain the current adopted climate change policy. However, this is now out of date as it refers to the Code for Sustainable Homes and out of date national targets on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Another alternative option is to omit a climate change policy from the Local Plan. However, there is a statutory duty on local planning authorities to include policies in their Local Plan designed to tackle climate change and its impacts [Section 19 (1A) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004

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