Doesn’t this new Government Document about Conservation of habitats and species legislation prove that Cllr Gerry Hyman was right all along?

 

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For years “Your Waverley’s officers have stuck their heads in the sand and ignored the species extinction planning laws (‘Habitats’) Will they continue to ignore it now? Or will they continue serving up the same advice to councillors, that they have in the past?

Regular readers of the Waverley Web will know of the Marmite relationship Waverley officers and some councillors have with the Farnham Residents’ Rebel incarnate – Cllr Jerry Hyman. The man who founded the Farnham Residents Group – whose Chairman John Ward is now Leader of the council.

Love him or hate him – there is no doubt when it comes to the controversial issue of assessing the extinction of species, which he is passionate about, that in the main he is either ignored or censored for his views.  However, we accept that we, and others, find the Habitats Regulations Assessment  pretty impenetrable

Protecting the Special Protection Areas around Farnham, and everywhere else, – Designated European Nature Conservation Sites has been one of his prime concerns ever since he joined Waverley Borough Council in 2016. Formerly he held a seat on the influential Joint Planning Committee but this was denied him in the new administration. Mainly by his own FRs colleagues.

However, perhaps his group – Waverley Planning officers, and everyone else, including the borough’s legal experts should think again…? and.. perhaps so should Government Inspectors?

This includes some information from The Planning Magazine.

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The entirely new Guidance on the use of Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA), was published by the government earlier this week as part of a series of updates to its Planning Practice Guidance.
The move aims to address confusion among practitioners following the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ’s) landmark People over Wind ruling on HRAs in April last year. Any plans or projects in or near EU-designated special areas of conservation or special protection areas must undergo HRAs before they are adopted or gain permission.Screen Shot 2019-08-19 at 22.39.30.png

Outlining the “key principles which can be considered by competent authorities when considering whether appropriate assessment is required,” the guidance says that “it would appear that off-site Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspaces may be considered as a mitigation measure under People over Wind as their primary purpose is to draw recreational pressure away from sites and so prevent an adverse effect from occurring. In these cases, the competent authority must now assess the robustness of mitigation measures through an appropriate assessment.”

Elsewhere, the document says that “an appropriate assessment for a more strategic plan, such as the local plan, can consider the impacts on sites and confirm the suitability or likely success of mitigation measures for associated non-strategic policies and projects.”

It adds that “an individual assessment of non-strategic policies and projects may not be necessary in some limited cases where the strategic appropriate assessment is sufficiently robust”.

Outlining what an appropriate assessment should contain, the guidance says that it “must contain complete, precise and definitive findings and conclusions to ensure that there is no reasonable scientific doubt as to the effects of the proposed plan or project”.

It adds: “The competent authority will require the applicant to provide such information as may reasonably be required to undertake the assessment.”

In February, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) published revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in light of the People Over Wind ruling.

15 MONTHS SINCE THE RULING.

Paragraph 177 of the July 2018 version of the NPPF had disapplied the presumption in favor of sustainable development if a project required an appropriate assessment, regardless of whether that assessment then found no harm to the site was likely.

But in February, the MHCLG amended paragraph 177 by reinstating the presumption where the appropriate assessment found the project or plan would not affect the integrity of the habitats sites, for example by proposing mitigation measures. 

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https://www.gov.uk/guidance/appropriate-assessment

But of course – ‘Your Waverley’ will continue to ignore it – along with others.

 

 

5 thoughts on “Doesn’t this new Government Document about Conservation of habitats and species legislation prove that Cllr Gerry Hyman was right all along?

  1. Maybe this will help to stem the tide of inappropriate development? I suppose not if Waverley have been ignoring that judgment until now?
    Fortunately for the developers they have already got their applications in the bag, before this change and before CIL was introduced.

  2. Sorry to be so cynical – but we doubt anyone will take any notice – until perhaps – the last birds flies in the sky – the last creature walks on the ground and the last fish swims in the sea that everyone recognises that we can’t just live with more money?

    Now we have developers doing everything they can to reduce the numbers of social housing or “affordables” being built – and if they can, find reasons for not paying any Community Infrastructure Levy either!

  3. I am sitting at a nice restaurant in Château Neuf du Pape contemplating the vagaries of planning officers generally.
    My sister owns a house in Italy and has just been fined for knocking down an old concrete slat garage without permission. Next door is a swimming pool overhanging a cliff, not a safety rail in sight, this of course has permission.
    Jobsworths occupy planning offices the world over

  4. In Corfu at the Moment and planning regs here are pants… But they are enforced if you are found out (as our Neighbore discovered…) But just because other countries get away with it – doesn’t mean we should fallow suit. If we don’t protect our environment now – what hope it there for the future? Developers have been flouting these rules for years… and Planning Officers Ignoring them ….They don’t care about ancient Woodlands and green fields…. the fact that developers have flouted the rules which are only causing a minimal disruption are not considered important.

    Cllr Hyman – was always my favourite Councillor and he had the Cojons to stand up for what he believed in regarding these issues and I think the new Admin should be ashamed of themselves for removing him from the JPC – he will be sorely missed and the JPC a weaker body without him. So many of the Newbies apologise ad nauseum for not having the experience or knowledge with regard to Applications… We need people with experience in these issues regardless of the colour of their Party!
    End of rant and back to the Mythos
    Yammas
    Denise

  5. We have raised a glass of Sangria to all our world-wide readers including those of you in Corfu & France – ( we will show you one day just how far-flung our readers’ are) – from here in a very sunny Spain.

    This post was heavy reading for a Bank Holiday – or any holiday for that matter – and full marks for taking the trouble to leave the sunbed to comment.

    However, we agree with your comments, particularly with thr loss of Cllr Hyman – who not only reads his reports, but actually understands them – a point made by former Council Leader Julia Potts quite recently.

    The JPC needs members who understand their brief, can interpret planning policy for a well-tried and tested planning system, a system which is changing by the minute, and not always for the good.

    We need councillors who don’t just do as they are told by officers, but stand up for what they believe is right for our borough, our children and our children’s children. Because one day they will look back on the environmental damage that has been done to our cherished countryside in this generation’s name.

    Back to the sunbed, and off to the bar…again!! Cheers everyone over there and happy holidays.

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