An important requirement of the Neighbourhood Plan is the need to achieve sustainable development.
This means that it will contribute to improvements in environmental, economic and social conditions – or that consideration is given to how any potential adverse effects arising from the proposals may be prevented, reduced or offset (referred to as mitigation measures). These dimensions give rise to a number of roles, for example:
Examples of how a Neighbourhood Plan can address environmental aspects of sustainable development include:
- protecting and enhancing wildlife areas and measures to support biodiversity
- encouraging the reuse and refurbishment of existing buildings
- ensuring development builds in facilities to encourage recycling, water collection, and reduce risk of flooding
- ensuring development which is energy efficient and encourages local renewable energy generation
- prioritising brown field or degraded sites for development over natural woodland and prime agricultural land
- conserving historic buildings and environments and ensuring they remain in productive use
During our On Tour consultations in January 2015, we asked the Community which of the above were most important to them. Of the 300+ respondents, the largest group (25%) felt that all the criteria we proposed were important to them. That said, the most important single criterion was prioritising brown fields or degraded sites for development over natural woodland and prime agricultural land (21%).