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Contributions for Habitats Mitigation and the Relationship with Community Infrastructure Levy Payments

Introduction

This guide describes a new arrangement under which NFDC will deal with its obligations under the Habitats Regulations for considering whether the impact of additional residential development can be adequately mitigated. This requirement is described in policies DM2 & DM3 of the adopted Local Plan Part 2 (April 2014) and the adopted Supplementary Planning Document on Mitigation (Mitigation Strategy for European Sites; June 2014).

Previously this issue was resolved through a combination of using the Community Infrastructure Levy to fund mitigation related infrastructure and the entering of a Section 106 agreement before planning permission was granted to secure non-infrastructure related mitigation measures. This approach has now changed.

New Arrangement

Under the new arrangement the assessment about whether a new residential development can be adequately mitigated will generally be considered under a Grampian planning condition which will be imposed on most residential planning permissions in which additional units of accommodation are proposed. This condition will state:-

"No development shall be carried out until proposals for the mitigation of the impact of the development on the New Forest and Solent Coast European Nature Conservation Sites have been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority, and the local planning authority has confirmed in writing that the provision of the proposed mitigation has been secured.   Such proposals must:

  1. Provide for mitigation in accordance with the New Forest District Council Mitigation Strategy for European Sites SPD, adopted in June 2014 (or any amendment to or replacement for this document in force at the time), or for mitigation to at least an equivalent effect;

  2. Provide details of the manner in which the proposed mitigation is to be secured. Details to be submitted shall include arrangements for the ongoing maintenance and monitoring of any Suitable Alternative Natural Green Spaces which form part of the proposed mitigation measures together with arrangements for permanent public access thereto.

  3. The development shall be carried out in accordance with and subject to the approved proposals."

The Council is satisfied that it is reasonable to use this condition because there will always be a solution to the issue of adequate mitigation because of the detailed consideration of this matter in its Mitigation Strategy for European Sites, Supplementary Planning Document, June 2014. That is not to say that other arrangements cannot be put forward but if they are they will be considered on their own merits and subject to the process of appropriate assessment.

Discharge of the Condition

If the Local Planning Authority is minded to grant planning permission, you will need to secure the provision of appropriate habitat mitigation measures before the condition can be discharged.  There are two ways in which you will be able to do this.  You can either;

 i) contribute to funding the Council's suite of mitigation projects, or

 ii) provide your own mitigation project to mitigate the impact of the proposal.

 

i)             Mitigation through contributing to the Council's suite of mitigation projects:

This is achieved in one of the following ways:

For schemes of less than 50 dwellings on sites smaller than 0.5 ha, by entering into a Section 106 agreement with the Council following the grant of planning permission to pay the contributions necessary to fully fund the mitigation projects as set out in the Council's Mitigation Strategy, in proportion to the number and size of dwellings you are proposing.  Part of your mitigation relies on the payment of your Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) which will contribute in part or fully towards funding the SANGS and recreational route proposals of the Habitat Mitigation SPD.  The amount you pay for CIL will not be settled until after the planning permission has been issued and may need to be supplemented through an additional payment if your CIL amount has been reduced through the application of reliefs or exemptions.  A clause will be included in your Section 106 agreement to this effect.

For schemes of less than 50 dwellings but on sites larger than 0.5ha where a minimum on-site SANGS provision is incorporated into the development, by entering into a Section 106 agreement with the Council following the grant of planning permission to secure the contributions necessary to fund the access & visitor management measures and monitoring measures for each additional dwelling (£550 per dwelling).  A further Section 106 agreement will be necessary prior to the grant of planning permission to ensure the on-site open space is publicly accessible and to pay a contribution for the future maintenance of the open space. It is not possible for you to secure all your mitigation in one Section 106 agreement because part of your mitigation relies on the payment of your Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).  The amount you pay for CIL will not be settled until after the planning permission has been issued and may need to be supplemented through an additional payment if your CIL amount has been reduced through the application of reliefs or exemptions. A clause will be included in your post planning permission Section 106 agreement to this effect.

For schemes of 50 or more dwellings where SANGS are incorporated into the development, the condition will not normally need to be imposed because arrangements to secure the necessary mitigation are able to be put in place prior to the granting of planning permission.

The Council's solicitors will draft a Section 106 agreement for you, for which a fee will be charged, whether or not the agreement is completed and whether or not planning permission is granted. In circumstances where you require two Section 106 agreements to be completed in connection with the same application, your second Section 106 agreement will not incur any legal fees from the Council except for disbursements.

 

ii)            Mitigation through your own mitigation project:

This is achieved by providing your own alternative mitigation project or proposal for mitigating the potentially harmful effects of your development on European designated nature conservation sites which will be evaluated on its own merits.  Such evaluation will need to take account of the precautionary principle applying to such judgements and will be subject to a Habitat Regulations assessment by the local planning authority.  Any alternative proposal would need to mitigate the impact of the development to no less a degree as would be achieved by the Council's Mitigation Strategy.  The Council would require the proposal to be robustly justified with evidence and you are strongly encouraged to seek professional advice from a habitat expert in order to support your proposal and to allow sufficient time for you to undertake any necessary research and for the Local Planning Authority to consider your alternative proposal.  You would need to submit your scheme to us following the grant of planning permission and ensure that your alternative proposal was implemented before the condition could be discharged. 

               

 

                    

Updated: 22 Feb 2016
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