Non-technical summary

Non-technical summary

West Northamptonshire's Joint Core Strategy ('the Plan') is legally required to undergo a process known as Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA). The purpose of HRA is to test whether the Plan will have a negative effect on certain types of internationally important wildlife site (Special Areas of Conservation 'SAC', Special Protection Areas 'SPA' or Ramsar sites, collectively referred to in this report as 'European sites') so as to prevent them meeting their conservation objectives.

A good deal of HRA work has already been carried out at earlier stages in the development of the Plan, leading to changes in the Plan that will help to avoid potential negative effects on European sites. LUC was appointed to carry out additional HRA work in relation to the proposed changes or 'Proposed Main Modifications' to the current version of the Plan (West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy Pre-Submission version as amended: as submitted, December 2012), which is currently undergoing examination. LUC's work builds on the earlier HRA findings and this HRA Addendum Report should be read together with those earlier findings for a full understanding.

An initial assessment ('HRA Screening') of the Proposed Main Modifications to the Plan flagged up potential negative effects on two European sites, Rutland Water SPA and Ramsar site and Upper Nene Valley Gravel Pits SPA and Ramsar site, as shown in the first column of the table below.

More detailed analysis ('Appropriate Assessment') was able to rule out any significant negative effects on the two European sites from the Proposed Main Modifications for the reasons shown in the second column of the table.

Type of potential negative effect not able to be ruled out initially('likely significant effect')

Reason that negative effects('significant effects on integrity')could be ruled out after further testing

European site: Rutland Water SPA and Ramsar site

Reduction in water supply and water levels due to increased water use by new residents and businesses

Policy protection provided by the Plan.

Package of habitat creation works implemented by Anglian Water to protect the designated wildlife of the reservoir from potential negative effects of falling water levels during a period of drought.

European site: Upper Nene Valley Gravel Pits SPA and Ramsar site

Loss of 'supporting habitat'used by birds due to development on greenfield land at 'Northampton South of Brackmills' urban extension

Policy protection provided by the Plan.

Effects are better addressed at the development management (planning application) stage.

Existing survey work shows that land which would be lost to development is not important to the European site's protected birds.

Reduction in water supply and water levels due to increased water use by new residents and businesses

Policy protection provided by the Plan.

Reduction in water quality due to increased amounts of treated sewage entering the River Nene or increased amounts of polluted water running off roads and other urban surfaces

Policy protection provided by the Plan.

Increased disturbance of bird species due to increased numbers of visitors to the wildlife site

Policy protection provided by the Plan.

In summary, the HRA work on the Proposed Main Modifications found that they will not have a significant negative effect on any European site.