Local Plan to 2030 - Main Modifications September 2018

Main Modifications to Ashford Local Plan

Policy ENV1 – Biodiversity (MM82)

5.298 The Borough is also home to 83 Local Wildlife Sites (LWS), formerly known as Sites of Nature Conservation Interest, identification of which is overseen by the Kent Nature Partnership. In addition, there are 3 Local Nature Reserves, the Ashford Green Corridor, Hothfield Common and Poulton Wood, Aldington. These sites are important elements of the borough’s biodiversity assets and contribute to the promotion, preservation conservation, restoration and re-creation of ecological networks. The Council therefore expects that they will be protected conserved and enhanced in new development that arises during the lifetime of this Plan. All the national and locally important biodiversity sites are listed in Appendix 4 of this Plan.

5.299 Recent years have seen a recognition that the planning system should, in addition to the protection conservation of individual sites and species, move towards a more integrated landscape scale approach to improving biodiversity. In this regard, this Local Plan supports the aims and objectives of the Kent Biodiversity Strategy as they relate specifically to the Biodiversity Opportunity Areas (BOAs) of this Borough, to ensure that the priority habitats and species of each BOA are protected conserved and enhanced in new development. Ashford Borough encompasses parts of 8 of Kent's BOAs, a reflection of its particularly diverse natural environment. A map of these BOAs can be located in Chapter 7 of this Local Plan.

Amend policy wording as follows:

Proposals that conserve and enhance biodiversity will be supported. Proposals for new development should identify and seek opportunities to incorporate and enhance biodiversity should be identified. In particular, development should take opportunities to help connect and improve the wider ecological networks.

Proposals should safeguard features of nature conservation interest and should include measures to retain, protect conserve and enhance habitats, including BAP (Priority) habitats, and networks of ecological interest, including ancient woodland, water features, ditches, dykes and hedgerows, as corridors and stepping stones for wildlife.

Where harm to biodiversity assets cannot be avoided, appropriate mitigation will be required in line with a timetable to be agreed with the Local Authority. Normally any mitigation measures will be required to be delivered on-site, unless special circumstances dictate that an off-site model is more appropriate. A financial contribution - in lieu of on-site mitigation - will only be considered in very exceptional circumstances and where it is demonstrated that the proposed mitigation is deliverable and effective.