It is a legal requirement for the Minerals Local Plan to be subject to Sustainability Appraisal (SA), Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) throughout its preparation.
The Sustainability Appraisal systematically appraises the social, environmental and economic effects of the plan. The Sustainability Appraisal ensures that decisions are made that accord with the planning system's presumption in favour of sustainable development.
A Strategic Environmental Assessment is also carried out in accordance with the requirements of the SEA Directive (European Directive 2001/42/EC).
The Habitats Regulations Assessment refers to the assessment of the potential effects of a development plan on one or more European sites, including Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Internationally designated Ramsar sites.
Land Use Consultants, an external consultancy firm, has been instructed to undertake the SA incorporating the requirements of the SEA Directive and HRA for the Minerals Local Plan review on behalf of the county council.
A Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report and a Habitats Regulations Assessment Scoping Report were prepared and consulted on at the Initial Consultation stage of plan production.
These documents were required to determine the objectives of the SA that the Minerals Local Plan will be subject to throughout the preparation process and to describe the approach that will be taken to the HRA of the Minerals Local Plan and to draw together the information required to inform the HRA.
The objectives form a key component of the Sustainability Appraisal as they set out the framework that the effects of proposed options, policies and sites will be assessed against during each stage of the preparation of the Minerals Local Plan.
Initial Consultation Options
Any options being considered for the Minerals Local Plan need to be subject to SA/SEA to identify any likely significant environmental, social or economic effects and inform the selection of a preferred approach to the Minerals Local Plan preparation.
Therefore, the SA of the Initial Consultation options identified the Minerals Local Plan options that required appraisal and provided a summary of their likely effects on the SA objectives developed at the Scoping stage.