SA Addendum Scoping Report

4 Method to be used for SA Addendum work

Preamble

4.1       As described in Chapter 1, the SA Addendum work will incorporate the requirements of the SEA Regulations. The approach to carrying out the SA Addendum for the Joint Core Strategy will be based on current best practice and the following guidance:

  • A Practical Guide to the SEA Directive (September 2005), Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Scottish Executive, Welsh Assembly Government and the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland.

4.2       The SA will be undertaken in close collaboration with those involved in considering the alternatives for the Joint Core Strategy in order to fully integrate the SA/SEA process with the production of the Plan.

Part 3 of the SEA Regulations 12(5) states that: when deciding on the scope and level of detail of the information that must be included in the report, the responsible authority shall consult the consultation bodies.    

 

4.3       The "detail" as referenced above includes the policy, plan and programme review, the environmental baseline and sustainability issues (including their likely evolution without the Plan) as set out in earlier sections of this Scoping Report, and the information that will be included in the SA report.

4.4       The "scope" includes the range of SA objectives that will be used to assess the effects of the alternatives for the Joint Core Strategy and the approach to that will be taken to the appraisal of "reasonable alternatives" (see below). This information is being consulted on as part of the consultation on this Scoping Report.

Approach to the Assessment

4.5       The SEA Regulations set out the material to be included within the SEA Environmental Report.

Part 3 of the SEA Regulations 12(2) require that: The report shall identify, describe and evaluate the likely significant effects on the environment of:

(a) Implementing the plan or programme; and

(b) Reasonable alternatives taking into account the objectives and the geographical scope of the Plan or Programme.    

 

4.6         As described in Chapter 1, the specific alternatives for three of the elements of Addendum work are still being defined and will be assessed against the reasonableness criteria.

4.7         The SA will clearly set out how the reasonable alternatives perform in comparative terms, and will describe the reasons for selecting the preferred options, and why other reasonable alternatives have been discounted.

The SEA Regulations, Schedule 2(6) require the Environmental Report to consider:

The likely significant effects on the environment, including short, medium and long term effects, permanent and temporary effects, positive and negative effects and secondary, cumulative and synergistic effects, on issues such as (a) biodiversity, (b) population, (c) human health, (d) fauna, (e) flora, (f) soil, (g) water, (h) air, (i) climatic factors, (j) material assets, (k) cultural heritage including architectural and archaeological heritage, (l) landscape and (m) the inter-relationship between the issues referred to in sub-paragraphs (a) – (l).    

SA Framework

4.8         The SA will take an "objectives-led" approach to the assessment that will address the sustainability issues identified while ensuring all the SEA topics (a) to (l) in the box above are covered. It is proposed to use the same SA Framework as was developed originally for the SA of the Joint Core Strategy, and presented in the 2006 SA Scoping Report, which included a set of SA objectives covering all of the SEA topics. Following the original scoping consultation, the SA Framework was updated to reflect statutory consultee comments in the 2007 SA Report (Table 3), and the same updated SA Framework continued to be used in the 2009 SA Report (Table 6.1) and 2011 SA Report (Table 6.1). Using the same SA Framework for this SA Addendum work will ensure that alternatives are assessed in a comparable way to the options previously considered as part of developing the Joint Core Strategy. The SA Framework is re-presented below in Table 4.1.

Table 4.1: SA Framework for the West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy SA Addendum

 

 

SA Objective

 

Appraisal questions.  Will the plan/option lead to…?

 

Air quality and noise

 

Reduce the need to travel and facilitate modal shift.

 

Reduce/minimise the potential increase in congestion.

 

Avoid sensitive development within areas of high noise levels or poor air quality.

 

•  An increase in motor vehicle trips and increased dependence on car use?

•  Sensitive location of new development in areas of high noise levels or poor air quality.

•  Support for the objectives of local air quality action plans?

•  Improvements in existing local public transport infrastructure or access to public transport?

•  Exacerbating existing traffic congestion hotspots or improvements to the current situation?

•  The inclusion of policies to enhance air quality where new development may deliver a means of doing so?

 

Archaeology and cultural heritage

 

Protect the fabric and setting of designated and undesignated archaeological sites, monuments, structures and buildings, registered Historic Parks and gardens, registered battlefields, listed buildings and conservation areas (or their settings).

 

•  Development that affects listed buildings, conservation areas, scheduled ancient monuments, registered historic parks and gardens, and registered battlefields (or their settings)?

•  Development being steered to where it can be accommodated in less sensitive areas?

•  Distinctive development that is well related to the natural environment and characteristic scale, form materials and detailing of the settlement and contributes to a sense of place?

•  Promotes the enhancement of the archaeological resource and other aspects of heritage, such as, parks and open spaces, and areas with a particular historical or cultural association?

•  Will the plan proposals provide opportunities for the enhancement of historic assets, townscapes and landscapes?

 

Biodiversity, flora and fauna

 

Maintain and enhance the structure and function of habitats and populations of species, including those specifically protected.

Enhance and protect greenspace networks and habitat connectivity, including river and stream corridors, to assist in species migration and dispersal.

Increase the land area of UK Biodiversity Action Plan habitats within the area.

 Maintain and improve the conservation status of selected non-designated nature conservation sites.

 

•  Avoidance of net loss, damage to, or fragmentation and positive enhancement of designated wildlife sites protected species and priority species / habitats within the Northamptonshire BAP?

•  Opportunities for people to come into contact with robust wildlife places whilst encouraging respect for and raising awareness of the sensitivity of these sites?

•  Development which includes the integration of ecological conditions and contributes to improvement in ecological connectivity in rural and urban areas?

 

Crime and community safety

 

To improve community safety, reduce crime and the fear of crime.

 

•  Changes in crime levels and fear of crime through improvements to the environment, layouts of streets and public space, passive surveillance, lighting etc.

•  Leisure facilities for young people at the neighbourhood level including consideration of provision as part of large new residential developments.

 

Education and training

 

Improve educational attainment and promote lifelong learning.

 

Promote sustainable modes of travel to access education.

 

•  Improvements in educational attainment, qualification levels and participation in education and training.

•  Adequate supporting educational infrastructure associated with new residential developments.

•  New education facilities well located in relation to walking, cycling and public transport routes.

 

Energy and climatic factors

 

Continue to improve energy efficiency of dwellings.

 

Continue to increase the provision of "affordable warmth".

 

To decrease the dependency on oil for space heating.

 

Increase the local renewable energy generating capacity.

 

•  An average increase in the SAP rating of dwellings?

•  A reduction of the average household fuel bill.

•  A decrease in oil consumption.

•  Major developments incorporating renewable energy measures into the design.

•  An increase in energy efficient measures and CHP in the design new developments.

•  An increase in the number of large scale renewable energy schemes.

•   A better consideration of climate change adaptation measures?

 

Health and well being

 

To improve health and reduce health inequalities.

 

•  Healthier lifestyles?

•  Improved access to healthcare?

•  Improve the quality of homes?

 

Labour market and economy

 

To create high quality employment opportunities and develop a strong culture of enterprise and  innovation.

 

•  An adequate supply of land, skills and infrastructure (such as ICT) to meet the requirements of growth sectors and fully exploit locational/ economic opportunities while not harming the environment.

 •  Minimise travel distances to work and commuting by modes other than the car. Ensuring access to employment by public transport, walking and cycling.

•  An appropriate range of employment opportunities in rural areas.

 

Landscape and townscape

 

Ensure that the quality, character and local distinctiveness of the landscape, and the features within them are conserved and enhanced.

 

Enhance the form and design of the built environment.

 

•  Provide the character areas and SLA's with the highest level of policy protection, make appropriate provision for their economic and social wellbeing and reflect Management Plan objectives?

•  Encourage development which considers the existing character, form and pattern of the landscape, buildings and settlements?

•  Encourage development which incorporates green infrastructure into the design e.g. green corridors, linking open space etc?

•  Encourage development which incorporates sports infrastructure into the design e.g. public football pitches, mini pitches, swimming pools?

 

Material assets

 

To ensure that the housing stock meets the housing needs of the local people.

 

•  Sufficient affordable housing to meet identified needs, including the needs of the community and local economy.

•  Achieve well-designed compact communities which are developed at sufficient density to support viable local services and public transport provision and which achieve efficient use of land.

•  Good access to facilities, particularly by public transport, walking and cycling.

 

Population

 

To develop and maintain a balanced and sustainable population structure with good access to services and facilities.

 

•  Development which delivers an appropriate mix of housing including affordable housing and appropriate housing for older people in locations close to local services/facilities.

•  Appropriate community, social and transport infrastructure.

 

Social deprivation

 

To reduce spatial inequalities in social opportunities.

 

•  Improved provision of key services in deprived communities.

•  Reduced spatial inequalities in access to services including healthcare and education and local/community services.

•  Provision of local facilities which are accessible by walking and cycling and public transport.

 

Soil, geology and land use

 

Reduce land contamination, and safeguard soil and geological quality and quantity.

 

•  The remediation of contaminated sites?

•  Levels of development on brownfield sites that are above the national target of 60%?

•  Development that protects soil processes and functions?

•  Development that protects sites valued for their geological characteristics?

 

Waste

 

To reduce waste generation and disposal, increase recycling and achieve the sustainable management of waste.

 

•  Explicitly set out to reduce the amount of waste generated by development and land use change?

•  Explicitly encourage development to use re-cycled materials and make provision for recycling / composting in all new development?

•  Make positive provision for appropriate sites for waste management facilities including waste to energy generation, with landfill being the least favoured option?

•  Encourage the reduction in the production and movement of hazardous waste?

 

Water

 

Maintain and continue to improve the quality of ground and river water.

Reduce risk of flooding. Improve efficiency of water use.

 

Identify opportunities to implement strategic flood risk management options/measures to reflect the objectives in the River Nene and Great Ouse CFMPs.

 

•  Development where adequate water supply, foul drainage, sewage treatment facilities and surface water drainage is available?

•  Water efficient design and reduction in water consumption (e.g. rainwater recycling/grey water reuse and BREEAM/EcoHomes Excellent Standard)?

•  Development which supports and corresponds with PPS 25 and the flood risk management policies of the EA?

•  Development likely to affect the ecological status of groundwater and surface water and the ability of receiving water to accept additional flows?

•   Development that results in increased spills from combined sewer outlets?

•   The incorporation of the flood risk management policies set out in the River Nene CFMP and the Great Ouse CFMP?

•   Safeguarding of flood storage areas identified in the Nene and Great Ouse CFMPs?

•   Development which incorporates SUDS (including their long-term maintenance), to ensure there is no increase in flood risk (and where possible lead to a reduction in flood risk)?

Predicting effects

4.9      The assessment will focus on the likely significant effects of implementing the reasonable alternatives for each of the four components being addressed in the Addendum work, and the final SA Report Addendum will, where possible and reasonable, distinguish between and report on the different types of effects (listed in the box above, i.e. temporal, cumulative etc.).

4.10       The assessment will be carried out using a matrix based approach. For each reasonable alternative, the matrix will describe:

  • The nature of the effect against each of the SA objectives, including whether it is likely to be positive or negative, permanent or temporary, and the timescale of the effect.
  • For each effect identified, the scope for mitigation (including reference to other policy or regulatory safeguards, either at the national level or through other policies in the Joint Core Strategy).
  • Recommendations for further mitigation or improvements to the Joint Core Strategy to provide more in the way of positive effects will be put forward.
  • The likely residual effects, taking into account mitigation.

4.11 Symbols will be used to summarise the effects identified as follows:

 

++

 

Significant positive effect likely

 

+

 

Minor positive effect likely

 

0

 

Negligible effect likely

 

-

 

Minor negative effect likely

 

--

 

Significant negative effect likely

 

+/-

 

Mixed effect likely

 

?

 

Likely effect uncertain

 

N/A

 

Policy is not relevant to SA objective

 

4.12       In carrying out the SA use will be made of Geographical Information Sytems (GIS) which provide mapped data of key factors of relevance to the identification of significant effects such as:

  • Landscape, biodiversity and cultural heritage designations.
  • Agricultural land classifications.
  • Areas at risk of flooding.
  • Mineral deposits.
  • Areas of social deprivation.
  • Location of employment, retail, community facilities (e.g. schools and hospitals), neighbourhood centres.
  • Transport network including public transport (bus, rail).

4.13       It will also be informed by the most recent technical studies including those listed as the Evidence Base within the Hearings Document List (18 April 2013) as well as any updates since that list was produced, and relevant documents submitted to the Hearings and subsequently by representors.

4.14       The SA will also take into account the findings of the Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) also being undertaken by LUC.

4.15       Once the JPU has selected its preferred options from the reasonable alternatives being considered as part of the Addendum work, cumulative effects will be considered by comparing the likely effects of the preferred options with the effects identified for the remainder of the Joint Core Strategy (in the 2011 SA Report) in order to consider the cumulative effects of the potential revisions to the Joint Core Strategy as a whole. Consideration will also be given to cumulative effects arising from proposed development in West Northamptonshire alongside development in neighbouring local authorities. This will be undertaken through a review of the plans and accompanying SA reports prepared by neighbouring authorities.

Consultation on the SA Report Addendum

4.16       The results of the appraisal will be reported in the SA Report Addendum prepared alongside any proposed modifications to the Joint Core Strategy that the JPU decides to put forward for the inspector to consider at the further hearings in December 2013. The consultation on the objectively assessed housing needs study, the SA Addendum and proposed modifications to the Joint Core Strategy will be for a 6 week period in October and November 2013

Proposed structure of the SA Report Addendum

4.17       The SA Addendum Report will be designed to complement the SA Report already published. It will include, as appropriate, all the component parts required under Schedule 2 of the SEA Regulations:

  • An outline of the contents of the plan and its relationship with other relevant plans and programmes, including the work already undertaken.
  • The environmental, social and economic characteristics of the plan area as relevant to the SA Addendum work, including any problems and issues identified and their likely evolution without the plan.
  • Key environmental, social and economic policy objectives set at the international, national and local level, of relevance to the SA Report Addendum.
  • The SA framework, and the assumptions used in coming to judgements on the effects of the draft plan.
  • The reasonable alternatives considered and why these were selected, how they performed in sustainability terms, and the reasons for selecting the alternatives included in the plan and the reasons for rejecting reasonable alternatives.
  • Any difficulties encountered during the appraisal process, including lack of knowledge.
  • How consultation comments were taken into account from the earlier stages in the appraisal process, and how they have been dealt with.
  • The significant effects of the preferred alternatives (including cumulative effects) under each of the objectives in the appraisal framework, taking into account mitigation (which may take the form of policy safeguards in national policy, the Core Strategy, or other regulatory mechanisms).
  • The influence of the SA process on the modifications to the Joint Core Strategy.
  • Proposed monitoring framework for significant effects identified (including uncertain effects where these could become significant).
  • A Non-Technical Summary (of the matters listed above).

4.18       The SA Addendum Report will need to reflect any proposed modifications to the Joint Core Strategy. It will also need to incorporate the findings of the HRA.

Monitoring

4.19        The purpose of monitoring under the SEA Regulations is to measure the sustainability effects of the Joint Core Strategy (in particular the likely significant or uncertain effects) and to identify any unforeseen adverse effects, enabling appropriate remedial action to be taken at an early opportunity. It is recognised that the monitoring requirements typically associated with the SA process can place heavy demands on authorities. Therefore the monitoring strategy will, wherever possible, build on existing monitoring that is being undertaken, using indicators and datasets that are already being routinely collected. For example, it should be possible to utilise the monitoring that is already undertaken for West Northamptonshire as part of its Annual Monitoring process. The monitoring proposed in the SA Report Addendum will update and amend as necessary the relevant parts of the monitoring programme in Table 8.1 of the 2011 SA Report, based on any significant effects identified for the preferred alternatives selected by the WNJPU.