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Draft Local Plan Review


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9. Protecting and Enhancing Our Environment

Introduction

272. The national definition of sustainable development aims to enable people to meet their needs without compromising the quality of life of future generations, and includes protection and enhancement of the physical and natural environment, and efficient use of resources and energy. The NPPF states that the purpose of the planning system is to contribute to sustainable development, which includes the need to protect and enhance the natural environment, use natural resources more prudently, and to mitigate and adapt to climate change, thereby moving to a low carbon economy.

273. Since the SLP was adopted, the Council has developed a "Green Prospectus" which captures how the Council is delivering a sustainable, low carbon Solihull.  The prospectus sets out the Council's vision for the future, along key themes that are essential if the Borough is to become more sustainable. They are:

  • Greening the Economy
  • Energy and Resources
  • Building and Efficiency
  • Transport and Mobility
  • Natural Capital and Adaptation
  • Communications, Education and Engagement

274. It is recognised that the Green Prospectus has a number of cross cutting themes, in a similar way that the local plan does, and so its contribution should be seen in a holistic manner contributing in a number of ways; for example to climate change, biodiversity and health.  Where these areas have a land use dimension, the opportunity has been taken to either incorporate them into the policies of this plan or provided added justification for them.

275. Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the nation, and is reflected in the challenges and objectives in this plan. Mitigation means reducing or preventing the causes of climate change, such as promoting renewable or low-carbon energy sources and reducing energy consumption. Adaptation refers to dealing with the impacts of climate change that are occurring now and will continue to affect our people and places.

276. Planning can help to support the transition to a low carbon economy and to provide resilience to impacts from a changing climate. The location and design of new development in the Borough will help to minimise greenhouse gas emissions, the risk of flooding, and other impacts from a changing climate, whilst policies will encourage the use of renewable and low carbon energy. The WMCA recognises the value of supporting the demand and supply chain of the environmental technologies sector for the regional economy.

277. The Borough's high quality green and blue infrastructure (GI) is one of its greatest assets. Our longest river, the River Blythe, is a designated SSSI, 14 of our parks have Green Flag awards and our suburbs are characterised by tree-lined streets. High quality, well-connected GI is our Natural Capital and has multiple benefits, which include:

  • Attracting Investment
  • Creating Sense of Place
  • Providing opportunities for recreation and play
  • Improving health and well-being
  • Habitat for wildlife
  • Flood prevention and alleviation
  • Addressing Climate Change
  • Urban cooling
  • Filtering air and soil pollution
  • Reducing noise impacts

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278. GI is not just our parks and countryside, but is a network of green and blue spaces made up of street trees, gardens, ponds, rivers, canals, hedgerows, woodlands, playing pitches, public rights of way and more.

279. The Government recognises the need for "more, bigger, better and joined" habitats to address fragmentation, degradation and the consequent decline in biodiversity. The ecosystem services provided by a healthy well-functioning natural environment are essential for sustainable economic growth and tackling the causes and effects of climate change. The economic and social benefits of protecting our Natural Capital far outweigh the cost of their protection, and there are significant economic opportunities available for greener goods and services.

280. The natural environment is fundamental to Solihull's attractive urban and rural environment, which helps to attract and retain investment and people. The need to address the decline in biodiversity and fragmentation of habitats locally and to enhance and restore the Borough's green infrastructure network to maximise the benefits for people and nature are recognised in the challenges and objectives, and the policies of this plan.

281. The Council values its existing GI assets and has set out a broad GI vision capturing the opportunities to address this challenge based on the GI Infrastructure Study (2012) and Sub-regional GI Study (2013). This is shown in Appendix E on the GI Opportunities Map.

282. Using natural resources more sustainably will help to protect resources for the future and contribute towards economic efficiency. This is reflected in a number of the challenges and objectives in this plan, notably those relating to water resources, waste management and minerals. More efficient use of water resources in new development will help to reduce the amount of waste water requiring treatment and discharge to the Borough's watercourses, protecting water quality, and minimising the risk of flooding. Treating waste as a resource that has value and using recycled materials will help businesses to be more efficient as well as conserving natural resources, such as the mineral resources in the Borough. The plan addresses the challenges involved in providing for more waste management facilities and to contribute to local and sub-regional needs for sand and gravel aggregates.

283. The Government recognises the importance of protecting the amenities of existing and future occupiers of land and buildings (NPPF). This plan recognises that protecting amenity whilst providing for employment, housing and other growth will be a challenge and has as an objective the need to avoid, minimise or mitigate adverse impacts.

Policy P9 Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change

Proposals for development will be required to demonstrate that, dependent on their scale, use and location, measures are included that mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Full details of the proposed measures should be incorporated into the proposal.

At a strategic level, measures to reduce carbon emissions and transition to a low carbon economy will include:

•Locate development where it minimises the need to travel and encourages sustainable forms of transport such as cycling, walking, and public transport.

•Design development to reduce carbon emissions and make efficient use of natural resources.

•Promote district, low carbon and renewable energy schemes.

•Expect major developments, particularly in Solihull Town Centre and the UKC Hub Area, to connect to or contribute towards existing or planned district energy and/or heat networks.

At a site level, the Council will promote an 'energy hierarchy' in seeking to reduce carbon dioxide emissions as follows:

•Reduce energy demand through energy efficiency measures.

•Supply energy efficiently and give priority to decentralised and/or district energy supply.

•Provide energy from renewable or low carbon sources.

•Promote connections for electric vehicles.

In order that development proposals are adaptive to climate change, measures will include:

•Flood prevention and mitigation measures, including (SUDS) and water efficiency measures as set out in Policy P11.

•Layout and design that minimises the need for energy for heating and cooling.

•Integrated green infrastructure, such as SUDs, green spaces and corridors, retaining and planting trees, green roofs & walls, landscaping and rain gardens.

Community energy

The Council will support the establishment of Renewable Energy Service Companies and community-led initiatives to reduce energy use and exploit renewable energy sources within the Borough.

Justification

284. The NPPF is clear that planning, at both a strategic and decision-making level, should fully support the transition to a low carbon economy; secure radical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and support the delivery of renewable and low carbon energy. The Council recognises that it has a crucial role to play in mitigating against and adapting to climate change through this plan.

285. National climate change targets aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 34% of 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% by 2050, and to deliver 15% of energy from renewable energy sources by 2020. In the period 2005-2014, CO2 emissions per person in the Borough have declined, but at a slower rate than the wider GBSLEP area. For electricity, the GBSLEP area is a net importer of renewable power. The GBSLEP Low Carbon Energy Plan (2015) sets out initiatives to not only reduce energy consumption and thus CO2 emissions, but also increase renewable and decentralised energy generation. The Council will take full account of national and local targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing the generation of energy from renewable and low carbon sources, when considering development proposals.

286. The Council's Home Energy Efficiency and Affordable Warmth Strategy includes the  adoption of the Government's new Fuel Poverty target: to ensure that as many fuel poor homes as is reasonably practicable achieve a minimum energy standard (Energy Performance Certificate rating) of Band 'C' by 2030.

287. Greenhouse gas emissions can be minimised by reducing the need to travel and ensuring that future occupiers of new developments have a choice of low carbon travel options. The Council's Transport Strategy 'Solihull Connected' states to support a low-carbon future Solihull will work in partnership with regional partners and align with the West Midlands Strategic Transport Plan 'Movement for Growth', the GBSLEP Low-carbon Transport Strategy, Birmingham Connected and Highways England, in particular to support people making low-carbon travel choices such as walking, cycling and public transport, the market for low-carbon vehicles and investment in recharging infrastructure and new technologies. Wherever possible, the plan's spatial strategy promotes development in the most accessible locations.

288. This policy seeks to encourage the development of low carbon and renewable energy solutions appropriate to the circumstances and scale of development. The contribution that such proposals make towards the reduction of emissions will be given significant weight.

289. Proposals to develop decentralised energy and heating networks in the Borough will be encouraged and should be based on the latest available evidence, such as the Heat Network Delivery Unit (HNDU) report (2016). Any impacts from infrastructure, including on-site low carbon and renewable energy installations, on the surrounding natural, built and historic environment, including ground and surface water quantity and quality, or on residents or businesses will be considered, with significant weight to be given to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to be achieved. Where adverse impacts are identified, these should be minimised, or be subject to appropriate mitigation. In locations where decentralised energy and heating networks or off-gas networks exist, or have the greatest potential, such as Solihull town centre, UKC Hub, and major business parks, developers will be expected to connect to or deliver decentralised networks, unless it is demonstrated that this is not feasible or viable.

290. Climate change is already happening, with rising temperatures and increase in flooding. The anticipated effects of climate change include more frequent extreme weather events; heavier rainfall and greater risk of flooding; and more and longer-lasting heat waves. The more vulnerable in society; those on low incomes, the elderly and young, those with long-term illness are also more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. This policy aims to ensure that all sections of the community are more resilient to the effects of climate change.

291. It makes good economic sense to ensure resilience to the impacts of a changing climate at the build stage rather than retrofit. The consideration of a range of adaptation measures, including the location, design, materials, build and operation of developments, and the provision of green infrastructure, will be given substantial weight.

292. Green infrastructure delivers multiple cost-effective benefits in mitigating and adapting to climate change. Planted areas can slow water flows, decrease surface run-off, even out temperature fluctuations, trap pollution and encourage biodiversity.

293. Guidance on minimising the consumption of water resources and addressing flood risk concerns, which are likely to increase in importance in the future, is included within Policy P11. Guidance on minimising demand for energy in new developments is included within Policy P15 and protecting the most vulnerable from the impacts of climate change in Policy P18.

Challenges and Objectives Addressed by the Policy

A Reducing inequalities in the Borough

B Meeting housing needs across the Borough, including the Borough's own needs and, where possible, assisting with accommodating the HMA wide shortfall.

C Sustaining the attractiveness of the Borough for people who live, work and invest in Solihull

D Securing sustainable economic growth

F Climate change

H Increasing accessibility and encouraging sustainable travel

I Providing sufficient waste management facilities and providing for sand and gravel aggregates

J Improving health and well being

K Protecting and enhancing our natural assets

Policy P10 Natural Environment

The Council recognises the importance of a healthy natural environment in its own right, and for the economic and social benefits it provides to the Borough. The full value and benefits of the natural environment will be taken into account in considering all development proposals, including the contribution to the green economy and the health of residents, and the potential for reducing the impacts of climate change. Joint working with neighbouring authorities and partners will be supported, recognising the need for a landscape scale approach to the natural environment and conservation of biodiversity.

Arden Landscape

The Council will seek to protect, enhance and restore the diverse landscape features of the Borough and to create characteristic habitats such as new woodlands, copses, hedgerows and standard trees, species-rich grassland and wood pasture. To halt and where possible reverse the degrading of the Arden landscape and promote local distinctiveness.

Development should take full account of national and local guidance on protecting and restoring the landscape and the areas in need of enhancement, including guidance relating to the countryside. Developers will be expected to incorporate measures to protect, enhance and restore the landscape, unless it is demonstrated that it is not feasible, disproportionate or unnecessary.

Biodiversity and Geodiversity

The Council will seek to conserve, enhance and restore biodiversity and geodiversity across the Borough. Protection of designated sites, ancient woodland, and priority habitats shall include the establishment of buffers to any new development so that they connect with existing and created green infrastructure assets.

Development should be informed by the latest information on habitats and species, and take full account of national and local guidance on conserving biodiversity, opportunities for biodiversity enhancement and for improving and restoring the Borough's green infrastructure (especially fragmentation of habitats). When appropriate, development should seek to enhance accessibility to the natural environment, especially for disabled people.

Habitat and species protection and enhancement

The Council will protect areas of national and local importance for biodiversity and geodiversity, where it is reasonable, proportionate and feasible to do so.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest: Development likely to have an adverse effect on a Site of Special Scientific Interest, whether directly or indirectly, will be subject to special scrutiny and will be permitted only if the reasons for the development clearly outweigh the nature conservation value of the site and the national policy to safeguard such sites. Where development may have an adverse effect on a Site of Special Scientific Interest, developers will be expected to incorporate measures to enhance the condition of the site.

Local Nature Reserve, Local Wildlife Site or Geological Site: Development likely to have an adverse effect on a Local Nature Reserve will be permitted only if the reasons for the development clearly outweigh the nature conservation or geological value of the site and its contribution to wider biodiversity objectives. Where development would have an adverse effect on a site of local value, developers will be expected to incorporate measures to enhance the site or to restore the links between sites to improve connectivity in the ecosystem network based on local evidence.

Outside Designated Sites: Developers will be expected to take full account of the nature conservation or geological value, and the existence of any habitats or species included in the Local Biodiversity Action Plan, national S.41 list, or sites in the Local Geological Action Plan as well as the Wildlife and Countryside Act and EU Directives.

Developers will be required to undertake a full ecological survey and to deliver a net gain or enhancement to biodiversity, unless it is demonstrated that it is not appropriate or feasible. In considering the need for green space improvements associated with new development, developers should have regard for the standards and priorities in the Green Spaces Strategy in relation to accessible natural green space.

Mitigation hierarchy

Where development is likely to have significant harmful effects on the natural environment, as a result of the development itself, or the cumulative impact of developments, developers must demonstrate that all possible alternatives that would result in less harm have been considered. Where development is permitted, appropriate mitigation of the impacts and compensation where relevant will be required to deliver a net gain in biodiversity, habitat creation, landscape character and local distinctiveness. Enhancements should be undertaken either on the site, or in its vicinity, but where it is demonstrated that this is not possible, offsetting, as a last resort, in alternative strategic locations within the biodiversity or green infrastructure network, to deliver biodiversity or other objectives may be considered.

Justification

294. The Natural Environment White Paper seeks to address concerns about the decline and fragmentation of the natural environment, highlighted in the Lawton Report, through the provision of more, better, bigger and joined spaces for nature. It sets out a national target to halt biodiversity loss by 2020. The Government recognises the economic benefits that are obtained from natural environment resources or natural capital and makes clear that biodiversity loss has important adverse economic and social consequences, as well as environmental ones. In response to these challenges the Council is participating in the Natural Capital planning toolkit pilot. The policy addresses the themes in the White Paper by confirming that the full value of the natural environment will be taken into account in considering development proposals. This should include the potential for the natural environment to improve health, contribute to the multi-functional benefits of green infrastructure, and reduce the impacts of climate change, through urban cooling and the management of surface water flows.

295. The Borough lies within Arden landscape character area, for which guidance is provided in Natural England's National Character Area study and the Warwickshire Landscapes Guidelines for Arden. These identify the landscape types that are characteristic to the area and the need for enhancement or restoration in much of the Borough. The Council has commissioned a Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) as part of the Local Plan Review evidence base. 'Solihull's Countryside' sets out the strategy for the countryside in the Borough and defines a number of zones within which different policy objectives apply. It highlights continuing landscape change and declining distinctiveness within the Borough's countryside. Developers will be expected to take the LCA, Countryside strategy or its successor into account in locating and designing development.

296. An integrated approach to the conservation of natural ecosystems will be sought, based on landscape-scale conservation, so as to contribute to targets to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, and to deliver economic and social benefits for Solihull's residents and businesses.  New development should incorporate biodiversity conservation through good design.  Developers will be expected to use national guidance on the provision of buffers between development and any ancient woodland, designated site or priority biodiversity action plan habitat. Where development is within 500 metres of woodland recorded in Natural England's Ancient Woodland Inventory, the Forestry Commission will be consulted. Up to date information on biodiversity resources is provided through the Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull Habitat Biodiversity Audit, of which the Council is a partner, and opportunities for enhancement highlighted in the Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull Green Infrastructure Strategy. Developers will be expected to make use of this information in seeking to protect and enhance biodiversity through development.

297. The Council recognises and will promote the need for and benefits of joint working with other agencies to achieve landscape scale conservation and enhance the strategic green and blue infrastructure network. The Council is a partner in the Kingfisher Country Park project, with Birmingham and environmental agencies and groups, to protect and restore the landscape of the River Cole and Kingshurst Brook and their surrounds in North Solihull. The Council supports the work of the Local Nature Partnership for Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull, such as the West Arden Living Landscape project and Tame Valley NIA. 'Nature Conservation in Solihull' sets out the strategic objectives for biodiversity conservation in the Borough, and developers should take these and other strategies relating to the natural environment into account.

298. The policy recognises the importance of designated areas such as the nationally important Sites of Special Scientific Interest, of which there are five in the Borough including the River Blythe, and locally important wildlife and geological sites and nature reserves. It also recognises that many of these important sites are in unfavourable condition, and the potential for nearby development to help deliver improvements. The policy sets out the relative importance to be attached to designated sites when considering development proposals, including the special scrutiny afforded to Sites of Special Scientific Interest, in line with national guidance. However, biodiversity conservation will not be achieved by protecting Sites of Special Scientific Interest alone. Locally important wildlife and geological sites continue to be designated in the Borough and have been successfully protected through policies in development plans for many years.

299. The policy highlights the importance of creating opportunities for wildlife in enhancing and restoring the green infrastructure network both within and around new development sites. Integrating biodiversity through green infrastructure networks and wildlife corridors will be essential to halt and reverse the fragmentation of resources identified in the Lawton Report and evidenced in the State of Nature report 2016. Developers will be expected to take proper account of the value of sites proposed for development, to deliver a net gain in biodiversity and habitat creation wherever feasible, and to have regard for Local Biodiversity Action Plan priorities, accessible natural green space standards and priorities in the Green Spaces Strategy.

300. Where development would be harmful to the natural environment, developers will be expected to consider alternatives that would result in less harm, and to incorporate appropriate mitigation and, where relevant, compensation so as to deliver a net gain in biodiversity, landscape character restoration and ecosystem services. The Council has been successful in implementing a sub-regional approach to biodiversity offsetting, in line with the initiative in the Natural Environment White Paper, albeit recognising that offsetting is a last resort.

Challenges and Objectives Addressed by the Policy

A Reducing inequalities in the Borough

C Sustaining the attractiveness of the Borough for people who live, work and invest in Solihull

E Protecting key gaps between urban areas and settlements

F Climate change

J Improving health and well being

K Protecting and enhancing our natural assets

L Water quality and flood risk

Policy P11 Water Management

Water Quality

All new development should have regard to the actions and objectives of the relevant River Basin Management Plan in striving to protect and improve the quality of water bodies in and adjacent to the Borough, including the Rivers Blythe and Cole and their tributaries. Developers shall undertake thorough risk assessments of the impact of proposals on surface and groundwater systems and incorporate appropriate mitigation measures where necessary. The Council will require developers to demonstrate that all proposed development will be served by appropriate sewerage infrastructure and that there is sufficient sewage treatment capacity to ensure that there is no deterioration of water quality, or that the delivery of any development will not be delayed by the need for additional water treatment provision.  Drainage systems shall deploy surface features within the development site for water quality purposes, unless these are demonstrated to be unviable.

Water Efficiency and Disposal

Disposal of surface water must comply with the following hierarchy:

•Recycling/reuse;

•Discharge into the ground by infiltration;

•Discharge to a surface water body or watercourse;

•Discharge to a surface water sewer, highway drain, or another drainage system;

•Discharge to a combined sewer.

Recycling/reuse

The Council recognises the need for water efficiency in all new development. Developers must demonstrate the highest possible standards of water efficiency through the recycling of potable, grey water and rainwater, and the use of water efficient fittings and appliances, in order to minimise consumption to a rate of 110 litres per person per day.

Infiltration

Development within areas identified as being at risk from groundwater flooding must be subject to full and careful investigation before infiltration measures are proposed, in order to minimise flood risk on the site and reduce risks elsewhere. The use of infiltration systems in areas deemed to be at risk from groundwater flooding must be agreed with the Council as Lead Local Flood Authority.

Discharge to watercourse

Where a developer proposes that a site discharges to a watercourse, appropriate modelling and supporting calculations must be provided to ensure sufficient receiving capacity exists. The Environment Agency must be consulted if a proposal relates to a Main River.

Discharge to sewer

Where discharge to a public sewer is proposed discharge rates must be agreed with the Council as Lead Local Flood Authority, and confirmation obtained from the relevant infrastructure owner.

Sustainable Drainage Systems

All major development must include the use of sustainable drainage systems, in order to contribute towards wider sustainability considerations, including amenity, recreation, conservation of biodiversity and landscape character, as well as flood alleviation and water quality control. Minor development is expected to include the use of sustainable drainage systems unless demonstrated to be inappropriate to do so. Developers are encouraged to secure reduction of flood risk by the provision or enhancement of green infrastructure.

Sustainable drainage systems must be considered for all developments at an early stage, with developers allowing for the allocation of sufficient land to accommodate an appropriate train of adequate sustainable drainage systems features that are technically appropriate for the environment in which they are to be placed. All features must be located outside of the 1 in 100 year plus climate change flood extent.

Water Quantity

On all greenfield development sites, surface water discharge rates to any drain, sewer or surface water body shall be limited to the equivalent site specific greenfield run off rate. For brownfield or previously developed sites, surface water discharge rates to any drain, sewer or surface water body shall be as close as reasonably practicable to the greenfield runoff rate from the development, taking account of the capacity of any existing drainage system, but must not exceed the rate of discharge from the development prior to redevelopment. Where it is proposed to discharge runoff at rates greater than greenfield rates, developers will be required to demonstrate why it is not feasible to achieve greenfield rates and to secure agreement from the Council as Lead Local Flood Authority.

In all cases, the greenfield runoff rate shall be agreed with the Council as Lead Local Flood Authority, the Environment Agency, Severn Trent Water and the Canal and River Trust, as appropriate. The greenfield runoff rate should take into account the 1 in 1 year, 1 in 30 year and 1 in100 year rainfall events, including climate change allowances.

Flood Risk Reduction

Developers shall explore opportunities to contribute towards the objectives of relevant Catchment Flood Management Plans and Flood Risk Management Plans. Development must promote the reduction of flood risk by seeking to reinstate the natural floodplain, and the de-culverting and improvement of on-site watercourses. Development should be set back from any watercourse, whether culverted or not, in agreement with the Council as Lead Local Flood Authority, so as to provide an easement for maintenance purposes.

New development will not normally be permitted within areas at risk of flooding. Where it is clearly demonstrated that there are no other viable sites at lower risk of flooding, consideration will be given to development in such locations, providing that it is designed to be safe from the effects of flooding and will minimise flood risk on the site and reduce risks elsewhere. Applications for new development where there is a flood risk issue must be accompanied by a site specific flood risk assessment.

Developers must demonstrate that the layout and design of a development, including the finished floor levels, and the drainage system take account of both fluvial and surface water flows in extreme events so as to avoid flooding of properties, both within and outside the site.

All developments should not detrimentally impact upon existing and planned flood risk management schemes including ensuring land identified for flood storage is safeguarded.  Developers are required to contribute towards the cost of planned flood risk management schemes through Section 106 or Community Infrastructure Levy charging schedules.  All new developments that benefit from existing flood risk management schemes should contribute towards their on-going maintenance.

Justification

301. The European Water Framework Directive became part of UK law in 2003 and requires improvements to the quality of water bodies, including rivers, lakes, reservoirs, canals and aquifers. These requirements are reflected in the Environment Agency's River Basin Management Plans, with the Humber River Basin Management Plan setting out the Water Framework Directive target for each water body to achieve 'good' status. At March 2016, one part of the River Blythe was classified 'bad', three parts 'poor' and one part 'moderate'.  For the length of the River Cole within the Borough, a decline has been measured from 'moderate' status in 2009 to 'poor' status in 2015. The Council requires well designed development in the right locations with appropriate drainage processes that can contribute towards River Basin Management Plan objectives. Where viable, surface drainage features shall be deployed in accordance with the Construction Industry Research Information Association (CIRIA) sustainable drainage systems manual, with approved proprietary engineered pollution control features used only if surface features are demonstrated not to be viable.

302. National planning guidance on water quality and flood risk requires plans to take account of infrastructure needs such as water resources, and a sequential, risk-based approach to the location of new development to avoid and/or manage flood risk.

303. The Council is undertaking an update to the Water Cycle study for the Borough, in consultation with the Environment Agency and Severn Trent Water. The study is expected to indicate that the level of development and the site allocations proposed in the plan are capable of being delivered without significant water and sewerage infrastructure improvements. However, the policy requires all new development to contribute to Water Framework Directive and River Basin Management Plan objectives by protecting and improving the quality of water bodies through the provision of appropriate sewerage infrastructure and sustainable drainage techniques. Developers will be expected to demonstrate that they have thoroughly assessed the impact of their proposals on surface and ground water systems, and incorporated any necessary sewerage and drainage mitigation measures.

304. The Council recognises the need for water efficiency in all new development. The policy requires developers to demonstrate the optional higher standard of water efficiency through the recycling of potable, grey water and rain water, and the use of water efficient fittings and appliances, before seeking disposal of surface water, in accordance with the hierarchy in Part  H of the Building Regulations.

305. Reducing water consumption has the effect of reducing carbon emissions as water companies use energy to collect, treat and supply water and to treat waste water. Simple demand management measures, particularly those that reduce hot water use, have significant potential to save water and energy, and reduce the carbon footprint of the water system. This accords with guidance in the NPPF, which requires local planning authorities to adopt proactive strategies to adapt to climate change.

306. The Environment Agency is promoting the use of sustainable drainage techniques as a means of contributing to the requirements of the Water Framework Directive and reducing flood risk, as well as for wider benefits, such as the conservation of biodiversity, enhancement of the amenity of urban areas and to assist in adaptation to climate change. The NPPF gives priority to the use of sustainable drainage systems in areas at risk of flooding and for major development. Sustainable drainage systems assist with the provision of green infrastructure, supported by the NPPF and the Council's Green Infrastructure study.

307. Sustainable drainage systems will be required for all major development, defined as 10 or more dwellings or sites of 0.5 hectares or more for residential development, and 1,000 square metres or 1 hectare and above for non-residential. For other development, sustainable drainage systems should be used unless it is shown to be inappropriate to do so. Developers will be expected to design in these requirements at an early stage in the development of new proposals, and to demonstrate that the proposed solution will maximise the benefits to the water environment. The Council does not regard underground storage tanks only as an appropriate sustainable drainage system, and will require at least one surface feature to be deployed within the drainage system for a development site for water quality purposes, with more features where runoff may contain higher levels of pollutants.

308. Control of discharge rates from new and previously developed sites is an important part of flood risk management, supporting the NPPF by utilising opportunities offered by new development to reduce the causes and impacts of flooding, and the overall level of risk in the area and beyond. Ensuring that new developments discharge to greenfield rates reduces the wider impact, whilst limiting discharge rates associated with previously developed sites will reduce pressure on existing watercourses and sewer systems.

309. The Environment Agency's Catchment Flood Management Plans provide an overview of flood risk across river catchments and recommend ways in which risks now and in the future can be managed. New development in the Borough will be expected to contribute towards the policy objectives of the Catchment Flood Management Plans. Most of the Borough lies within the Mid Staffordshire and Lower Tame policy unit within the Trent Catchment Flood Management Plan, where the objective is to take action to store water or manage runoff in locations that provide overall flood risk reduction or environmental benefits locally or elsewhere in the catchment. The western part of the Borough adjacent to Birmingham, and the eastern part adjoining Coventry lie in the Birmingham and Black Country, and the Coventry Cluster policy units in the Severn Catchment Flood Management Plan respectively. The Catchment Flood Management Plan objective in these areas is to take further action to reduce flood risk. Reinstatement of the natural floodplain, the de-culverting and improvement of on-site watercourses also helps contribute towards the objectives of the Humber River Basin Management Plan and achieving the Water Framework Directive target of each water body within the Borough achieving good status.

310. The Council is the Lead Local Flood Authority for Solihull and has published a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy to help reduce flood risk and mitigate the impact of flooding in the Borough. Developers will be expected to review and pay due regard to the recommendations included within the Local Flood Risk Strategy produced by the Lead Local Flood Authority. The Strategy may highlight opportunities to work in partnership with the Environment Agency and the Lead Local Flood Authority to contribute to the reduction of flood risk to new development and to third party land.

311. The Level 1 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment for Solihull has identified the main flood risk areas within the Borough and has been used alongside the Environment Agency's flood zone and surface water maps to help guide new land allocations within the plan to areas at low risk of flooding, via a sequential test.

312. For new developments at risk of flooding, a site specific flood risk assessment must be undertaken which demonstrates that the development will be safe for its lifetime, in accordance with the NPPF.

313. New development sites must be resistant and resilient to flooding, to accord with the NPPF. Drainage systems must be designed so that flooding does not occur on any part of the site in a 1 to 30 year rainfall event, unless an area is designated to hold or convey water as part of the design, or in any part of a building or plant susceptible to water in a 1 to 100 year rainfall event. The design of the site should ensure that flows resulting from events in excess of a 1 to 100 year rainfall event are managed so as to minimise the risks to people and property, including flows from adjacent land where relevant. Finished floor levels must be no lower than 300mm above average surrounding ground level. Where at risk from fluvial flooding, finished floor levels must be a minimum of 600mm above the 1 to 100 year plus climate change flood level, or for minor development where detailed modelling of the latest climate change allowances has not been undertaken, no lower than 600mm above the 1 in 1000 year flood level.

314. Around 2,000 existing properties are considered to be at risk of fluvial flooding. For surface water flooding, there are approximately 1,500 properties across the Borough considered to be within a 1 in 30 year flood outline and 4,500 properties within the 1 in 100 year flood outline. In order to increase resilience, where developments are proposed that increase the size of buildings within areas identified to be at risk from flooding then appropriate individual property level resilience measures should be incorporated in order to reduce the impact and associated costs of repair of homes and buildings along with misery and disruption caused by flooding to families and businesses.

Challenges and Objectives Addressed by the Policy

C Sustaining the attractiveness of the Borough for people who live, work and invest in Solihull

F Climate change

J Improving health and well being

K Protecting and enhancing our natural assets

L Water quality and flood risk

Policy P12 Resource Management

Management of waste

The Council will promote and control new development to prevent the production of waste within the Borough wherever possible, and will encourage prevention from existing buildings and uses. Where this is not feasible, waste shall be treated as a resource to be reused, recycled, or from which value will be recovered, with management to be as high up the waste hierarchy as possible. Disposal of waste shall be a last resort, to be considered only when all other options have been exhausted.

Management of waste shall seek to maximise the contribution to economic development and employment in the Borough, especially within and accessible to the North Solihull Regeneration Area. Waste operators will be expected to demonstrate that the greenhouse gas emissions from the operations involved and associated transport of waste from source to processing facility have been minimised.

Need for waste management facilities:

The Council will seek to address the waste capacity gap in the Borough through this policy, so that an equivalent tonnage is provided within waste management facilities to that arising in the Borough.

Identifying suitable sites and areas

A sequential approach will be used to determine the appropriate location for new waste management facilities:

•On-site management

•Consolidation or expansion at strategic waste management sites

•Suitable industrial areas

•Co-location of complementary waste management operations at Berkswell and Meriden quarries

•Area of Search for waste management facilities.

Wherever possible, on-site management of waste shall be preferred, unless the activities would result in unacceptable harm through impacts on the environment, transport or on neighbouring uses, or it is demonstrated that management elsewhere would have wider sustainability benefits.

Strategically important waste management sites within the Borough, where waste management activities will be supported in principle, are identified on the Proposals Map. These sites include the site of the former Arden Brickworks in Bickenhill, which contains the household waste recycling centre, and a range of other waste management operations, the materials recovery facility at Meriden Quarry, the composting facilities in Berkswell, and the Moat Lane and Chapelhouse Depot waste transfer stations in the Mature Suburbs and North Solihull Regeneration Area.

When investigating the suitability of sites for waste management operations in the Borough, the potential for consolidating or expanding waste management facilities at the former Arden Brickworks site, for the co-location of complementary waste operations at Berkswell and Meriden quarries, and for locating waste management facilities on appropriate industrial sites within the Borough shall be considered. Where it is not possible or appropriate for new operations to be developed on-site or in these locations, developers shall consider the potential of sites within the Area of Search for waste management facilities identified on the Proposals Map.

Criteria for suitability of waste management proposals

The Council will have regard to the following criteria in considering the suitability of sites for waste management facilities:

•The contribution towards national and local waste management strategies, objectives and targets, including the Solihull Municipal Waste Management strategy 2010-2020

•The contribution towards economic development and employment in the Borough, particularly in or accessible from the North Solihull Regeneration Area

•The contribution to national and local targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, taking account of those resulting directly from the operations (Policy P9), and those from the transport of wastes from the source of arisings to the end management

•The potential for on-site management associated with development and other uses

•The potential for the development of shared facilities for more than one waste planning authority where these would accord with this policy

•The potential for the co-location of complementary activities where there are no adverse cumulative impacts

•The contribution towards the restoration of former mineral workings in the Borough

•The suitability of the site for the type of wastes and operations involved, including whether the activity can take place within a building or other enclosure

•The impacts on transport infrastructure, including the potential for the use of alternative modes to road transport, and highway safety

•The compatibility of waste management activities with neighbouring uses, including the nature of the wastes, operations, hours of working and any cumulative effects where waste management activities already exist

•The availability of suitable previously developed land and/or redundant buildings

•The impact on the Green Belt, taking account of National Policy and Policy P17 of this plan

•The impact on the environment, including the protection of water resources and quality (Policy 11), conservation of biodiversity (Policy P10), high quality design (Policy P15), the protection of the historic environment and built heritage (Policy P16), and on air quality from emissions and dust

•The impact on amenity and health, including visual intrusion, noise and vibration, litter, odour, vermin and bird attraction, including the impact on aerodrome safeguarding.

Provision in non-waste development

In considering non-waste management development proposals, the Council will take into account any adverse impact on the strategically important waste management sites and the potential of the Area of Search for waste management facilities identified in this plan. Non-waste development will be required to accommodate facilities for the storage, sorting and presentation of waste arising from the development, and developers will be expected to demonstrate satisfactory provision for waste management through a Site Waste Management Plan or similar supporting evidence.

Justification

315. Waste is a product of inefficient processes and the Government's aim is to prevent waste, treat it as a resource, and drive waste management up the waste hierarchy to improve efficiency and reduce impacts. The waste hierarchy consists of prevention, preparing for reuse, recycling, other recovery, with disposal only as a last resort.  National guidance expects communities to take more responsibility for managing their own waste, which can be equated to managing an equivalent tonnage of waste to that arising in their areas. Waste management should be considered alongside other spatial planning concerns, including economic development, regeneration and the national imperative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The National Planning Policy for Waste requires that sites and/ or areas for the location of waste management facilities should be identified in Local Plans, and sets out locational criteria.

316. A number of studies relating to waste management were undertaken to inform the revision of the Regional Spatial Strategy. Whilst the Regional Spatial Strategy has been revoked, the evidence in the waste management studies will remain relevant. This indicated that there will be a significant gap between the waste arising in the Borough, and the capacity of facilities in the Borough to manage waste. The policy recognises that, whilst it will not be possible to manage all waste arising within the Borough, Solihull should aim to manage an equivalent tonnage of waste to that arising locally. The evidence indicated waste arisings to 2030-31 of up to 0.1 million tonnes per annum of municipal, 0.26 million tonnes per annum of commercial and industrial, 0.3 million tonnes per annum of construction, demolition and excavation, and 0.01 million tonnes per annum of hazardous waste[36]. The capacity of waste management facilities in the Borough was estimated at 0.17 million tonnes per annum, based on the licensed sites for 2011, although this had increased to 0.48 million tonnes for 2014[37]. The estimated gap between waste arising and capacity of facilities in the Borough was 0.35 million tonnes in 2011. The evidence indicated that this could increase to over 0.5 million tonnes per annum by the end of the Plan period, made up of 0.09 million tonnes per annum municipal, 0.25 million tonnes per annum commercial and industrial with the requirement mainly for recycling facilities, 0.16 million tonnes per annum construction, demolition and excavation and 0.01 million tonnes per annum of hazardous waste[38]. The requirement for additional capacity was estimated at 0.4 million tonnes per annum for recycling, 0.03 million tonnes per annum for organic treatment, 0.05 million tonnes per annum for recovery and 0.03 million tonnes per annum for other treatment annually. This takes account of national municipal waste management targets for reuse, recycling and composting of 45% by 2015 and 50% by 2020, whilst the Council has an aspiration to achieve a performance of 60% by 2020. The targets for recovery and biodegradable waste to landfill for 2020 have already been exceeded. Significant progress has been made since the development of the Local Plan 2013, and whilst the waste capacity gap in the Borough is now much smaller, the evidence does not yet indicate that Solihull is managing an equivalent tonnage to that arising locally.

317. The first option for managing waste should be on-site where this is feasible, delivers wider sustainability objectives, and does not result in unacceptable harm to environmental assets, transport infrastructure or on neighbouring uses. If this is not possible, developers will be expected to consider the potential of the strategic waste management sites, or suitable industrial sites in the Borough for appropriate or complementary activities. For operations that are complementary to mineral extraction, such as recycling of construction and demolition waste, or more appropriate in remote locations, such as open composting, an Area of Search for waste management facilities has been identified, utilising opportunities offered by former mineral workings. The line of the High Speed 2 rail link has a direct impact on the Household Waste Recycling Centre off Coventry Road, Bickenhill, which will need to be relocated, although the remainder of the strategic waste management site is not directly affected.

318. The policy sets out the criteria that will be used to assess the appropriateness of waste management proposals. These include national and local strategies, objectives and targets, including the National Waste Management Plan for England, National Planning Policy for Waste and the Solihull Municipal Waste Management strategy 2010-2020 and the Mid-Point Update 2015, the contribution towards economic development and regeneration, including North Solihull Regeneration, and to national and local targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The potential for on-site management, shared facilities and co-location of complementary activities will be taken into account, along with the suitability of the location or site, the availability of previously developed land or redundant buildings, and whether the operations would take place in the open or are enclosed. The impacts of proposed waste management operations on the Green Belt, the environment, transport infrastructure including aerodrome safeguarding, highway safety, amenity and health will be considered, and any unacceptable harm will need to be minimised and/or appropriate mitigation incorporated.

319. Other development may compromise or restrict the potential of waste management operations on the strategic waste management sites or in the area of search for waste management facilities. In considering proposals for non-waste management development in or adjacent to these locations, the Council will take account of any adverse effect on the potential for waste management activities. Non-waste development in all areas will be expected to include appropriate facilities for the storage, sorting and presentation of waste. Developers will be expected to demonstrate satisfactory provision for waste management through a Site Waste Management Plan or similar supporting evidence, taking account of the Council's waste and recycling service guide for developers.

Challenges and Objectives Addressed by the Policy

DSecuring sustainable economic growth

EProtecting key gaps between urban areas and settlements

FClimate change

HIncreasing accessibility and encouraging sustainable travel

IProviding sufficient waste management facilities and providing for sand and gravel aggregates

Policy P13 Minerals

Mineral Safeguarding Areas

Mineral Safeguarding Areas (MSAs) for important underground coal resources in the eastern part of the Borough, and for sand and gravel aggregate resources between Berkswell, Hampton and Meriden and east of the NEC and M42, including sites for important associated infrastructure and to meet potential needs are defined on the Proposals Map.

The Council will permit the search for new minerals, including coal bed methane resources, whether within or outside the Mineral Safeguarding Areas, providing that the criteria for minerals development proposals are met. Permission for exploration will not necessarily imply that a subsequent consent for mineral extraction will be forthcoming.

Within these MSAs, proposals for non-mineral development will only be permitted where it can be demonstrated that the development will not result in the sterilisation of mineral resources or the loss of important infrastructure or sites for potential infrastructure needs in the areas. Prior to development, developers will be expected to ensure that all safeguarded minerals that would be affected are extracted, unless it is demonstrated that the resources have no economic value, extraction is not feasible or would result in excessive costs or delays, or that there is an overriding need for the development that outweighs the need to safeguard the mineral resources.

Alternative materials

The Council will promote the use of alternative materials, such as secondary and recycled aggregates in all new development within the Borough. Provision for alternative materials will be encouraged on sites for significant development within the Borough, where appropriate. Permanent facilities will be encouraged within the area of search for appropriate waste management facilities defined on the Proposals Map.

Provision for primary sand and gravel extraction

Provision for primary sand and gravel resources will be made through a mixture of specific sites, preferred areas and/or areas of search to help meet the identified requirement of between 7.2 and 8.6 million tonnes for the West Midlands Metropolitan Area over the plan period. These will include sites already granted planning permission where not included in the current sub-regional landbank.

Preferred areas for primary sand and gravel extraction are identified at Marsh House Farm, Hornbrook Farm and west of Berkswell Quarry, which will provide around 2.5 million tonnes and are defined on the Proposals Map. Extraction of any site or part thereof that will impact on an adjacent Site of Special Scientific Interest will be permitted only if the necessary avoidance and/or mitigation is incorporated to protect the SSSI.

Areas of search for primary sand and gravel extraction are identified between Berkswell, Hampton and Meriden and east of the NEC and M42 to meet the shortfall in provision, and are defined on the Proposals Map. However, inclusion within an area of search does not imply that all of the mineral resources are viable or that extraction would be acceptable. Sand and gravel extraction outside the areas of search may also be permitted, if there is evidence that insufficient mineral resources from the areas of search are likely to come forward within the plan period, or that production targets will not be met.

Mitigation, restoration, aftercare and after use

Proposals for mineral working or related infrastructure will be assessed against the following criteria:

•Contribution  towards national and local strategic objectives or wider needs including national and local targets for minimising carbon emissions and using alternative materials;

•Contribution towards the local and sub-regional economy and the regeneration of North Solihull;

•Contribution towards local communities and character and quality of the environment;

•Opportunities for the co-location of related uses and wider benefits such as the production of secondary or recycled aggregates;

•Impact of the proposed activities, including any associated infrastructure, on surrounding land uses and amenity, taking account of the nature of the operations, duration, hours of operation, noise, dust vibration, air pollution, visual impacts and, in respect of underground extraction, the impact of subsidence;

•Impact on the local and sub-regional transport network, including the routing of lorries to and from the site and the potential for rail freight;

•Impact on the environment, landscape, built heritage and archaeology, nature conservation interests, ground and surface water quantity and quality, best and most versatile farmland, agricultural businesses and aerodrome safeguarding;

•Measures for mitigating any environmental , transport or other impacts or for compensation for loss or damage where appropriate, including the provision of appropriate buffers between extraction and environmental or other assets;

•The potential for subsidence, migration of gases and contamination of ground water associated with underground extraction;

•Restoration to a safe and high quality condition with appropriate aftercare in accordance with agreed restoration and aftercare schemes and within an agreed period following the cessation of extraction; and

•Reclamation to an agreed use, which should prioritise the contribution the site could make to green infrastructure, the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity, including Local Biodiversity Action Plans, the enhancement and restoration of the Arden landscape, flood risk management, appropriate recreation uses and agriculture, as well as the availability of suitable infill material if appropriate.

Proposals for ancillary uses will be permitted where they are located within the extraction site, are limited to the life of the permitted reserves and minimise the impacts on environmental assets, transport infrastructure and surrounding occupiers and uses. The Council will support proposals for complementary recycling facilities, which should be as close as possible to the point of extraction or disposal.

Justification

320. The NPPF requires the Council to safeguard proven mineral resources from sterilisation by non-mineral development, together with existing, planned and potential infrastructure facilities. Mineral Safeguarding Areas have been defined for both underground coal and sand and gravel resources, based on work undertaken in Mineral Safeguarding in Solihull. The Mineral Safeguarding Areas include any known or anticipated sites for infrastructure including the production of secondary and recycled materials. The policy requires the prior extraction of minerals where non-mineral development that could sterilise resources is proposed unless justified, in accordance with national guidance.

321. The national and local guidelines for aggregates provision in England 2005 to 2020 assume a significant contribution from alternative materials, which reduces the requirement for the production of primary aggregates. The policy promotes the use of alternative materials in construction within the Borough and provides for new and expanded facilities within a defined area of search. The co-location of primary extraction and permanent secondary facilities is likely to bring benefits in minimising transport and environmental costs. Temporary facilities for alternative materials will be encouraged on sites for significant development in the Borough.

322. The national and local guidelines for aggregates provision in England 2005 to 2020 provide a target production figure for primary aggregates for the West Midlands, which has been apportioned to sub-regions following advice from the West Midlands aggregates working party (WMAWP). Whilst account still needs to be taken of the guidelines, the NPPF requires minerals planning authorities to prepare an annual Local Aggregate Assessment (LAA) to plan for a steady and adequate supply of aggregates. The West Midlands Metropolitan Area LAA 2015 puts forward two scenarios based firstly on the apportioned figure of 0.55 million tonnes per annum, and secondly on the ten year rolling average of sales data of just under 0.5 million tonnes per annum. This results in a requirement of between 12.359 and 13.750 million tonnes for the period 2014 to 2031, including a seven year landbank. This would increase to 13.347 and 14.850 million tonnes for the Plan period to 2033.

323. The latest WMAGP AMR for 2015 identifies permitted reserves of 5.2 million tonnes for the Metropolitan Area as at 31 December 2015. This would leave between 7.2 and 8.6 million tonnes to be provided for across the Metropolitan Area to 2033.

324. The Borough is the main source of primary aggregate production for the Metropolitan Area, with annual production of around 0.5 million tonnes of sand and gravel representing over 90% of the sub-regional apportionment figure. This reflects the relative levels of sand and gravel resources in Solihull and Walsall, the only authorities that contribute to primary sand and gravel production. This policy takes account of the provision for primary sand and gravel production within the Black Country Core Strategy.

325. In seeking to meet the requirement for primary sand and gravel production, the Council identified a number of preferred areas for extraction in the adopted Local Plan 2013. These preferred areas provide for a proportion of the total requirement only, with the remainder to be provided from within defined areas of search in both Solihull and Walsall. Proposals for sand and gravel extraction outside these areas will be permitted where this can be justified. The policy provides for a minimum landbank of 7 years at the end of the plan period, in accordance with national guidance.

326. The policy sets out the criteria for new minerals development in the Borough, to ensure mitigation of environmental and transport impacts, in accordance with national guidance. It seeks to ensure that minerals development contributes to wider national and local objectives, such as the reduction of carbon emissions, the use of alternative materials and the regeneration of North Solihull.

327. The criteria include the protection of the amenities of surrounding occupiers and land uses, and the local and sub-regional transport network from unacceptable impacts. Working practices will be required to avoid or minimise impacts on health and the environment from extraction, processing, management and transportation of materials. Environmental and other assets of acknowledged importance, including best and most versatile agricultural land, the natural and historic environment, and water resources and quality will need to be protected, with appropriate mitigation and compensation where necessary, in accordance with the environmental policies in this plan. The impact on aerodrome safeguarding shall include the need to minimise bird strike hazard. Any proposal adjacent to the River Blythe Site of Special Scientific Interest will be expected to maintain a minimum 30 metre buffer to the Site of Special Scientific Interest. The Council will require that investigations are undertaken to demonstrate that there will be no adverse impact on a Site of Special Scientific Interest before planning permission is granted.

328. Guidance is provided on the restoration and aftercare of mineral sites once extraction has ceased and on the after use to which the land should be put, in accordance with national guidance. The restoration of any site that has a biodiversity designation, or equivalent biodiversity value, shall prioritise the contribution to biodiversity objectives. Reclamation schemes will be expected to prioritise the potential for contributing to green infrastructure, biodiversity objectives, including national and local biodiversity action plan targets, to policies seeking to enhance and restore the Arden landscape, and to flood risk management. Where appropriate, after uses may include agriculture and recreation uses providing these are in accordance with other national and local planning policies. The availability of materials to restore mineral sites will need to be a consideration to avoid unreasonably lengthy restoration.

Challenges and Objectives Addressed by the Policy

D Securing sustainable economic growth

E Protecting key gaps between urban areas and settlements

F Climate change

H Increasing accessibility and encouraging sustainable travel

I Providing sufficient waste management facilities and providing for sand and gravel aggregates

K Protecting and enhancing our natural assets

Policy P14 Amenity

The Council will seek a good standard of amenity for all existing and future occupiers of houses, businesses and other uses in considering proposals for new development, extensions and changes of use and will:

•Permit development only if secures high quality design (see Policy P15);

•Consider the visual and other amenities of potential occupiers and users of new developments close to overhead power lines and substations. Developers will be expected to locate and design new developments so as to minimise the visual and other amenity impacts;

•Support the development of electronic communications networks including telecommunications and high speed broadband, whilst also seeking to keep the numbers of radio and telecommunications installations to a minimum consistent with the efficient operation of the network. The Council will have regard to the needs of telecommunications operators, any technical constraints on location of telecommunications apparatus, the potential for sharing sites and other existing tall buildings and structures, the impact of development on its surroundings, the sensitivity of the environment and the design and external appearance of telecommunications apparatus. In considering proposals for new sites or equipment, developers will be expected to demonstrate that there are no other  technically suitable locations or design solutions that meet operational requirements and cause less environmental harm;

•Safeguard important trees, hedgerows and woodlands, and will require new and replacement tree and hedgerow planting; and, where appropriate, new woodlands;

•Ensure development that would contribute to air pollution, either directly or indirectly does not have a significant adverse impact on local air quality resulting in unacceptable effects on human health, local amenity and the natural environment, and that it incorporates appropriate attenuation, mitigation or compensatory measures where necessary;

•Require proposals for development on land known or suspected to be contaminated to include appropriate information to enable the potential implications to be assessed and to incorporate any necessary remediation;

•Require design features and operational measures to minimise and contain noise from developments and protect existing residential development from background noise. Where development adjoins other buildings or structures, developers will be required to demonstrate that as far as reasonably practicable, developments will be designed and operated to prevent the transmission of audible noise or perception of vibration through the fabric of the building or structure to adjoining properties;

•Protect the amenity of residential and shopping areas, community facilities and open space from bad neighbour uses. Development that would be significantly harmful because of smell, noise or atmospheric pollution will not be permitted, whilst development that would be potentially harmful to such areas will be expected to incorporate appropriate attenuation, mitigation or compensatory measures. In locations close to existing bad neighbour uses, the Council will not permit new residential or other sensitive development, unless the effects can be satisfactorily mitigated as part of the development;

•Safeguard those parts of the countryside in the Borough that retain an intrinsically dark sky from the impacts of light pollution; and

•Protect the tranquil and locally distinctive areas in the Borough by guiding new development to locations that will avoid or minimise adverse impacts.

Justification

329. The NPPF indicates that planning policies should seek to secure a good standard of amenity for existing and future occupiers of land and buildings. Developments that affect people's visual and other amenities, such as those that create noise, smell or air pollution require careful siting to minimise impacts and appropriate measures to minimise or mitigate any impacts that location does not resolve. Equally, the siting and design of sensitive uses, such as residential development needs careful consideration to ensure that problems are not created. Significant new growth in the Borough is being promoted through this plan to meet needs for new employment, housing, retail, leisure and community facilities. The Council will seek to protect people's amenities whilst ensuring provision for essential development.

330. The policy recognises the need to consider amenity, access, good design and noise in relation to development close to electricity generation, transmission and distribution sources. Where possible, development should be located and designed so as to minimise any impacts.

331. The NPPF indicates that authorities should support the expansion of electronic communications networks, whilst aiming to keep the number of masts and sites to a minimum, consistent with the efficient operation of the network. The guidance for telecommunication development reflects both the strategic requirements of networks and the limitations imposed by the nature of the technology, as well as the need to protect amenity and sensitive environments. Sensitive uses include residential areas, education and health institutions, all heritage assets and their settings, features characteristic of the Arden landscape, sites of ecological and geological importance, open space and the Green Belt. In such areas telecommunications infrastructure development will be discouraged, unless there are no other locations that meet operational requirements and cause less environmental harm.

332. The policy recognises the importance of protecting and increasing trees and woodlands for amenity and other benefits, such as the enhancement or restoration of the Arden landscape, green infrastructure, conservation of biodiversity, informal recreation, and to address the impacts of climate change. Important trees, hedgerows and woodlands will include those covered by tree preservation orders, veteran trees or those with potential to be veteran trees, features characteristic of the Arden landscape or included in national or local biodiversity action plans, and trees and hedgerows covered by regulations or best practice guidance, such as the Hedgerow Regulations and the British Standard for trees and construction. Policy on conserving the landscape and biodiversity, including the protection of ancient woodlands in the Borough, is contained in Policy P10.

333. The Council is a partner in the Low Emissions Towns and Cities (LET&C) Programme and will support proposals aimed at securing better air quality across the metropolitan area, such as the provision of infrastructure to encourage the use of electric vehicles for freight and public transport journeys within and beyond the Borough. Good Practice Air Quality Planning Guidance was produced in 2014 to provide guidance for local authorities and developers. Developers will be expected to ensure that development does not have a significant adverse impact on local air quality in considering the location and design of new development, and to incorporate appropriate measures where necessary.

334. Whilst there are likely to be few potential previously developed sites where there are contaminated land issues coming forward for redevelopment in the Borough, the policy reflects the importance of information on any contamination that may be present.

335. The Council recognises the existence of significant sources of noise or potential noise within the Borough, such as Birmingham Airport, major roads and railways, mineral workings and some industrial processes, and the need to protect noise sensitive uses, including housing, education and health institutions. The policy seeks to ensure that noise and vibration are contained by appropriate design and operational measures.

336. Some uses may be harmful to amenity as a result of smell, noise or atmospheric pollution, such a mineral workings, sewage treatment works, certain types of waste management activities or certain intensive agricultural uses. The Council will protect residential, shopping, heritage assets, community and recreation areas from uses that are significantly harmful, and ensure that, where permitted, such development incorporates measures to avoid or minimise any adverse impacts.

337. Solihull's Countryside identifies suburbanisation as a threat to the character and quality of the countryside, which includes those areas outside rural settlements that retain a dark sky. Built development is controlled through Green Belt policy, but light spillage and pollution can be a problem both from residential and business properties and from other sources and can be harmful to biodiversity.

338. "Solihull's Countryside" notes the loss of remoteness and a reduction in tranquillity associated with development and traffic growth and the need to maintain local distinctiveness. Whilst much of the Borough is subject to interference from road, rail or air traffic, other noisy activities, or urban influences, there remain some quiet areas. These include canal cuttings, footpaths, some conservation areas, villages and hamlets away from major roads and flight paths, and some more remote rural areas. The Council will seek to protect tranquil and locally distinctive areas by guiding development, especially that involving noisy operations or significant traffic, away from these areas.

Challenges and Objectives Addressed by the Policy

CSustaining the attractiveness of the Borough for people who live, work and invest in Solihull

EProtecting key gaps between urban areas and settlements

JImproving health and well being

KProtecting and enhancing our natural assets


View Comments (108) 19. Do you agree with the policies for protecting the environment?  If not why not, and what alternatives would you suggest?

[36] West Midlands Landfill Capacity study 2009

[37] Environment Agency Waste Data Interrogator 2011 and 2014

[38] Waste: A Future Resource for Business 2008; Regional Approach to Landfill Diversion Infrastructure 2009

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