National Policy Guidance
10.1 Government guidance on matters related to infrastructure and resources are set out in various PPGs and circular advice.
10.2 PPG8 “Telecommunications” (Revised August 2001) sets out Government policy advice aimed at facilitating the growth of new and existing telecommunications systems whilst keeping the environmental impact to a minimum. Similarly PPG10 “Planning and Waste Management” (September 1999) sets out the objectives for providing for waste management and the needs of business, whilst having regard to the need to protect designated areas and minimise the environmental impacts. Decision-making based on the principles of regional self-sufficiency, the proximity principle and a waste hierarchy are highlighted.
10.3 PPS22 “Renewable Energy” (2004) sets out the Government’s advice on developing renewable energy sources and the considerations that should apply, including the environmental implications.
10.4 Finally PPG25 “Development and Flood Risk” (July 2001) explains how flood risk should be considered at all stages of the planning and development process in order to reduce future damage to property and loss of life. It sets out the importance that the Government attaches to the management and reduction of flood risk in the land use planning process, to acting on a precautionary basis and to take account of climate change.
10.5 Advice on the use of planning obligations is contained in Circular 1/97.
Replacement Structure Plan
10.6 The RSP includes a number of policies aimed at conservation of resources and infrastructure requirements, including ensuring the provision of infrastructure and community facilities through planning obligations (Policy BE5), telecommunications development (Policy BE8), Renewable energy schemes (Policy EG2), energy efficient power schemes (Policy EG3), and energy conservation (Policy EG4).
Brentwood Community Plan
10.7 The Community Plan’s strategic objectives that are relevant to the Replacement Local Plan’s Infrastructure and Resources Policies are set out under the heading “Sustainable Development and the Local Environment” and includes:
“ To seek to make provision for appropriate housing, employment and other development to meet the needs of the Borough, whilst conserving and maximising resources and enhancing the character and environmental quality of the Borough for the benefit of current and future generations, by:
- Promoting the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources both inside and outside the Council’s sphere of operation
- Promoting the minimisation, reuse and recycling of waste and the sustainable disposal of waste from all sources”
THE AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF THE PLAN’S INFRASTRUCTURE AND RESOURCES POLICIES
To ensure that development is sustainable in its use of and impact on resources and infrastructure
- To take account of the availability of resources when formulating proposals
- To relate development to the capacity of the environment and infrastructure and to resist any development for which there is inadequate capacity
- To encourage and promote the efficient use of resources through energy conservation and efficiency, investment in efficient and renewable energy supply technology, the use of non-polluting materials, conservation of non-renewable resources, minimisation of waste and maximisation of re-use and recovery of waste
10.8 One of the over-arching aims of modern land-use planning, as set out in government policies and reflected in this Plan, is the need to achieve sustainable development. The continuing availability of scarce and finite resources and the provision of sufficient capacity in infrastructure to cope with the necessary essential needs of the population are vitally important considerations in the achievement of sustainable development. New development should provide for the reasonable needs of existing and potential occupiers in a manner that does not compromise the quality of life of those already living in the area or future generations of residents.
10.9 Wherever possible new development should seek to make the best use of land and other resources. Every effort should be made to employ techniques and technologies that will encourage energy and water efficiency, minimise waste and allow for recycling. The resources of the Borough need to be used responsibly, and wherever possible, be conserved and enhanced.
10.10 Government advice set out in PPG12 and PPS12 makes it clear that so far as is practicable, the policies and proposals in local plans should be realistic with regard to the likely availability of resources and states that "…plans should take account of national economic policies, the financial policies of the various implementing agencies and the likely availability for use of land, labour and other material resources."
10.11 One of the basic resources that the Plan should concern itself with is the provision and capacity of infrastructure. Infrastructure includes services such as education and health and other community facilities as well as transport facilities, water supply and drainage, and other utilities. In considering proposals for development the Council will, in particular, need to be satisfied that adequate provision can be made for water supply and waste water treatment.
10.12 It is important to co-ordinate new development with infrastructure demands. Unfortunately, the pace of development can often outstrip the provision of infrastructure. When the infrastructure is unable to cope with the demands made upon it, development proposals will either have to be restricted until the additional capacity is available or the developer is willing to advance infrastructure programmes by undertaking or funding the necessary improvements to meet the needs of their development (see also Policy CP4).
10.13 The provision of utilities and other such services for the public are vital to the proper development of an area and its community. Local Planning Authorities, in formulating their development plans, are urged to consider both the requirements of the Utility Providers for land, to enable them to meet the demands that will be placed on them, and the environmental effects of such additional uses. The Council will, therefore, react positively to the needs of such undertakers and public services, subject to consideration of other policies in the Plan.
10.14 Facilities such as sewage treatment works are typically located in rural areas, outside the built-up area. Minor proposals for existing utilities or other public service facilities in the Green Belt will be given favourable consideration where it is essential to the provision and improvement of those services and complies with the Council's Green Belt policies. However, where new development or significant additions to an existing site is proposed in the Green Belt, the Council will need to be satisfied that there are no equally acceptable alternatives within the urban area and that the development is essential in the Green Belt.
THE PROVISION AND IMPROVEMENT OF PUBLIC SERVICES AND UTILITIES WILL BE SUPPORTED AND ENCOURAGED. WHERE NEW DEVELOPMENT (OR SIGNIFICANT ADDITIONS TO AN EXISTING FACILITY) IS SITED IN THE GREEN BELT, THERE WILL NEED TO BE CLEAR AND OVERRIDING REASONS WHY IT SHOULD BE LOCATED IN THE GREEN BELT, AND IT WILL NEED TO COMPLY WITH POLICY GB2.
10.15 Modern telecommunications are seen as an essential and beneficial part of everyday life as well as having importance for the national economy. Much of the telephone network is long established, but new technology is fast expanding to meet the growing demand for better communications in all aspects of life. The proliferation of masts within the Borough is, however, of great concern to the Council and the public at large both in terms of visual amenity and the continuing public concerns regarding the perceived health risks from electromagnetic fields.
10.16 PPG8 sets out the Government's general policy on telecommunications, which is to facilitate the growth of new and existing systems, whilst being fully committed to environmental objectives and well-established policies for protecting the countryside (including Green Belts), urban areas and public health.
10.17 In Green Belts telecommunications development is likely to be inappropriate unless it maintains openness, and very special circumstances need to be demonstrated for inappropriate development to proceed.
10.18 A good deal of new telecommunications equipment may be installed as "permitted development". All masts over 15m in height, however, require planning permission and some telecommunications development, including masts below 15m in height, are subject to a procedure whereby the developer must apply to the local planning authority for its determination as to whether prior approval will be required to the siting and appearance of the proposed development.
10.19 As set out in PPG8, in making an application for planning permission or prior approval, operators will be expected to provide adequate evidence to justify the need for the proposed development. All new proposals for telecommunication equipment should have regard to the sensitivity of the location and the visual and other impacts upon the amenities of the area within which it is to be located. Planning permission or prior approval will be refused where it is considered that the proposed development would have a detrimental impact on visual amenities or on an environmentally sensitive area or building.
10.20 Wherever practical and where it represents the optimum environmental solution, operators will be expected to investigate the possibility of sharing masts and sites or installation on an existing building or structure. In all cases the proposals will be expected to exhibit the use of sympathetic design and incorporate the provision of appropriate landscaping and screening to minimise visual impact.
APPLICATIONS FOR TELECOMMUNICATIONS DEVELOPMENT WILL BE APPROVED PROVIDED THAT:
(i) ADEQUATE EVIDENCE HAS BEEN SUBMITTED WITH THE APPLICATION TO JUSTIFY THE NEED FOR THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT
(ii) WHERE APPROPRIATE, ADEQUATE EVIDENCE IS PROVIDED TO SHOW THAT THERE IS NO REASONABLE POSSIBILITY OF UTILISING EXISTING MASTS OR OTHER STRUCTURES OR BUILDINGS OR OTHER TELECOMMUNICATION SITES
(iii) WHERE APPLICABLE, THERE IS NO UNACCEPTABLE DETRIMENTAL IMPACT TO THE APPEARANCE OF THE BUILDING UPON WHICH THE EQUIPMENT IS TO BE SITED
(iv) IT WOULD NOT HAVE AN UNACCEPTABLE DETRIMENTAL IMPACT ON THE GREEN BELT, SITES OF SPECIAL SCIENTIFIC INTEREST, COUNTY WILDLIFE SITES, SPECIAL LANDSCAPE AREAS, PARKS AND GARDENS OF SPECIAL HISTORIC INTEREST, OR OTHER ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE AREAS OR BUILDINGS
(v) WHERE APPROPRIATE A SCHEME OF PLANTING AND SCREENING HAS BEEN AGREED
WHERE TELECOMMUNICATION EQUIPMENT HAS BEEN ERECTED UNDER PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT, IN A MANNER THAT THE COUNCIL CONSIDERS HAS NOT BEEN SITED SO AS TO MINIMISE ITS EFFECT ON THE EXTERNAL APPEARANCE OF THE BUILDING ON WHICH IT IS INSTALLED, THE COUNCIL MAY SERVE A BREACH OF CONDITION NOTICE REQUIRING THE RE-SITING OF THE ANTENNAE.
10.21 The Council clearly recognises the importance of the prudent use and good management of resources and the effective protection of the environment. The policies contained elsewhere within this Plan aim to conserve and manage vulnerable elements in the environment, including the protection of historic buildings and ancient monuments, open spaces and important habitats, and minimise the impact of environmental pollution. The Green Belt countryside is also a major resource, the protection and enhancement of which this Plan addresses.
10.22 In addition to these matters, the Council will encourage and implement other measures such as the recycling of waste, the conservation of resources through good design and energy efficient means of transport. The policies below set out guidelines by which these aims can be pursued.
Protecting The Best and Most Versatile Agricultural Land
10.23 As part of the overall aim to achieve sustainable development it is important to protect the best and most versatile agricultural land. Paragraphs 28 and 29 of PPS7 set out government advice on the matter.
10.24 Agricultural land grades 1, 2 and 3a are the best and most versatile land. They are a national resource and, like other non-renewable resources, need to be protected. Brentwood contains areas of land in grades 2 and 3a. Where there is a choice between sites of a different classification, development should be directed towards land of the lowest possible classification, unless sustainability or other material issues suggest otherwise. Once agricultural land is developed, even for "soft" uses such as golf courses, it is seldom practicable to return the land to best quality agricultural use. Development of the best and most versatile agricultural land will only be permitted, therefore, where there is a need for the development that cannot be met within existing settlement boundaries or on other previously developed land or on lower grade land or where there are other over-riding considerations.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE BEST AND MOST VERSATILE AGRICULTURAL LAND WILL ONLY BE PERMITTED WHERE IT CAN BE SHOWN THAT NO ALTERNATIVE DEVELOPMENT SITE EXISTS WITHIN EXISTING SETTLEMENT BOUNDARIES OR ON OTHER PREVIOUSLY DEVELOPED LAND. WHERE DEVELOPMENT OF AGRICULTURAL LAND IS REQUIRED, SUCH DEVELOPMENT SHOULD SEEK TO USE AGRICULTURAL LAND OF THE LEAST VALUE UNLESS SUSTAINABILITY OR OTHER CONSIDERATIONS SUGGEST OTHERWISE.
A Target and Indicator for monitoring this policy is set out in Chapter 13
10.25 Essex is rapidly running out of landfill sites for waste disposal, which has historically been the method of dealing with the large amounts of waste produced by society. Government and European Union targets require increasing levels of recycling and waste minimisation and promote self-sufficiency in dealing with waste. The Government Waste Strategy document (June 2000) defined the minimum targets as:
- By 2006 recovery by recycling and/or composting of 25% of household waste
- By 2010 recovering value from 30% of municipal waste and reducing biodegradable municipal waste to landfill by 75% of the 1995 level
- By 2015 recovering 2/3 of our municipal waste, at least half of which should be recycling or composting
10.26 Brentwood Borough is achieving good domestic recycling rates, which in 2004/2005 is likely to reach 25%, which is 8% above the national average. There is clearly much more that needs to be done. The Borough contains a number of sites that accept glass; food and drink cans; textiles & shoes; newspapers & magazines; and cardboard. In addition to these facilities the Council also operates a fortnightly kerbside collection scheme for newspapers and magazines and green waste and, from April 2005, a dedicated kerbside glass collection. The Council is working towards a “three-stream” strategy of separate kerbside collection of compostables, dry recyclables and residual waste.
10.27 In order to achieve the Government targets, the Borough Council will need to work in partnership with the County Council as the waste disposal authority. There is also a need to increase information and education particularly in raising awareness of the “Waste Hierarchy”, which identifies the first priority as waste minimisation, followed by re-use or repair, and then recycling. Landfill should be the last resort.
WHERE APPROPRIATE, THE COUNCIL WILL SEEK THE PROVISION OF RECYCLING FACILITIES IN ASSOCIATION WITH DEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS ON SITES CONVENIENT TO THE PUBLIC.
UNDER THE TERMS OF POLICY CP4, A DEVELOPER CONTRIBUTION MAY BE SOUGHT TOWARDS SUCH PROVISION
Energy and Water Conservation in New Development
10.28 In view of the need to achieve sustainable forms of development, energy and water conservation and efficiency of use are increasingly important considerations in the design and layout of development. Achieving higher standards of thermal efficiency in insulation and utilising passive solar gain can help conserve energy. In addition the design and orientation of buildings, avoidance of overshadowing and the effective use of landscaping and landform to reduce wind chill can aid greater energy conservation and efficiency. The use of energy from renewable sources should also be promoted.
10.29 Water conservation can be achieved through increased recycling of used water (grey water) and the use of on-site biological systems to treat used water and sewage. The quality and quantity of surface water run off can also be enhanced by, for example, minimising the amount of non-porous surfaces, providing balancing ponds, providing for rainwater collection, and using reed beds to treat contaminated water. Such features are promoted by the Environment Agency in a new approach to drainage referred to as Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDS), which aim to reduce water pollution and flood risk relative to conventional urban drainage systems.
NEW DEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS, INCLUDING THE CONVERSION OR RE-USE OF EXISTING BUILDINGS, SHOULD:
(i) INCORPORATE THE PRINCIPLES OF ENERGY CONSERVATION AND EFFICIENCY IN THE DESIGN, MASSING, SITING, ORIENTATION, LAYOUT AND USE OF MATERIALS
(ii) ENCOURAGE THE USE OF RENEWABLE SOURCES OF ENERGY
(iii) ENCOURAGE WATER CONSERVATION
Renewable Energy Schemes
10.30 Government guidance on renewable energy is set out in PPS22, which states that the development of renewable energy, alongside improvements in energy efficiency and the development of combined heat and power, will make a vital contribution to the aims of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by some 60% by 2050, and to maintain reliable and competitive energy supplies. The government has set a target to generate 10% of UK electricity from renewable sources by 2010 and an aspiration to double this figure to 20% by 2020.
10.31 PPS22 includes in its key principles for renewable energy that development plans should contain policies designed to promote and encourage, rather than restrict, the development of renewable energy sources. However, it also acknowledges that, when located in the Green Belt, elements of many renewable energy projects will comprise inappropriate development and, as appropriate, developers will need to demonstrate very special circumstances, which may include the wider environmental benefits.
10.32 The following policy, based on RSP Policy EG2, will provide an interim policy until such time as an up-to-date analysis of regional provision has emerged through the preparation and adoption of the emerging Regional Spatial Strategy for the East of England.
PROPOSALS FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY SCHEMES WILL BE PERMITTED PROVIDED THERE IS NO UNACCEPTABLE DETRIMENTAL IMPACT ON:
(i) HEALTH, THE ENVIRONMENT OR AMENITY BY REASON OF POLLUTION, ODOUR AND NOISE;
(ii) VISUAL AMENITY OR THE CHARACTER AND APPEARANCE OF THE SURROUNDING AREA;
(iii) THE LOCAL HIGHWAY NETWORK INCLUDING THE CONVENIENCE AND SAFETY OF ROAD USERS;
(iv) TELECOMMUNICATIONS NETWORKS, RADAR INSTALLATIONS AND FLIGHT PATHS FOR AIRCRAFT;
(v) STATUTORILY PROTECTED NATURE CONSERVATION SITES, LANDSCAPE CHARACTER, HISTORIC SETTLEMENTS, OR BUILDINGS/AREAS OF ARCHITECTURAL, HISTORIC OR ARCHAEOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE.
Development in Areas at Risk of Flooding
10.33 Following the severe weather conditions of the previous year, PPG25 “Development and Flood Risk” (July 2001) was issued in order to limit the impact that flooding has had upon people’s lives. In recent years flooding has been getting worse, both in frequency and in scale. Climate change and human activity are recognised as contributory factors.
10.34 Flood plains are areas of low-lying land adjacent to a watercourse that are liable to flood under certain conditions. Functional flood plains are the unobstructed or active areas where water regularly flows in the time of flood. The Environment Agency provides indicative flood plain maps to each Local Authority, indicating flood risk areas. The Environment Agency also advises on the issue of flood risk in the determination of planning applications.
10.35 Any development taking place in flood risk area places people and property in these areas at direct risk from flooding. These developments are not only at direct risk, however, but also reduce the capacity of the available flood plain and/or impede the flow of water, thereby increasing the risk of flooding elsewhere.
IN AREAS DESIGNATED AS FUNCTIONAL FLOOD PLAINS, DEVELOPMENT WILL ONLY BE PERMITTED IN WHOLLY EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES, AND THEN, ONLY IF:
(i) THE DEVELOPMENT IS LIMITED TO ESSENTIAL TRANSPORT AND UTILITIES INFRASTRUCTURE THAT HAS TO BE THERE;
(ii) IT IS DESIGNED AND CONSTRUCTED SO AS TO REMAIN OPERATIONAL EVEN AT TIMES OF FLOOD
(iii) IT RESULTS IN NO NET LOSS OF FLOOD PLAIN STORAGE
(iv) IT DOES NOT IMPEDE WATER FLOWS
(v) IT DOES NOT INCREASE FLOOD RISK ELSEWHERE
IN ALL AREAS AT RISK OF FLOODING A FULL FLOOD RISK ASSESSMENT WILL BE REQUIRED TO ACCOMPANY APPLICATIONS FOR PLANNING PERMISSION. DEVELOPMENT WILL ONLY BE PERMITTED WHERE IT IS APPROPRIATE IN SEQUENTIAL TEST TERMS, AS ESTABLISHED BY TABLE 1 OF PPG25 ‘DEVELOPMENT AND FLOOD RISK’, AND IT IS PROVIDED WITH THE APPROPRIATE STANDARD OF PROTECTION FOR THE DEVELOPMENT’S LIFETIME.
Surface Water Run Off
10.36 Unless carefully sited and designed, development can worsen the problems of flooding in areas downstream, due to an increase in surface water run off from additional impermeable surfaces such as roofs and roads. The Council will consult the Environment Agency, sewerage undertakers and adjacent Districts to assess the impact of any proposals that appear likely to result in an increased flood risk in areas downstream due to additional surface water run off.
10.37 Depending upon the particular circumstances or local geography/land ownership, it may be necessary to provide for flood protection or attenuation measures through an appropriate legal agreement. Such measures should incorporate Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), wherever the opportunity presents itself. SuDS have water quality, biodiversity and amenity benefits compared to piped systems. In all cases where SuDS are incorporated into a development, details of appropriate adoption and maintenance measures will need to be agreed.