Waterbeach HRA Screening Report

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Object

Supporting Documents to Waterbeach New Town SPD

Representation ID: 67524

Received: 26/10/2018

Respondent: The Wildlife Trust

Representation:

HABITATS REGULATIONS ASSESSMENT
We and more importantly the National Trust as site managers have consistently raised concerns over potential impacts of increased recreational pressure on the features of interest at Wicken Fen, and have queried some of the assumptions made in the HRA report. When the original Local Plan HRA was prepared, the scale of impacts from cumulative and in combination recreational pressures on designated nature conservation sites had not yet become fully apparent. In addition, the Local Plan HRA was prepared with reference to the local plan allocation for 8-9000 homes, and not the 11,000 homes currently being put forward by the two submitted planning applications. The Wildlife Trust supports the comments made by the National Trust with respect to this issue.

Comment

Supporting Documents to Waterbeach New Town SPD

Representation ID: 67564

Received: 25/10/2018

Respondent: Natural England

Representation:

HABITATS REGULATIONS ASSESSMENT
Generally satisfied with HRA prepared in accordance with Regulations and taken into consideration EU judgement, but outline areas of mitigation to address effects of increased recreational pressure.

Note the 'no likely significant effects' conclusion based on SPD making no material changes to site area to the site assessed in Local Plan.

Section 3.4.5 implies uncertainties remain with regard to effects on Wicken Fen through increased recreational pressure and should be addressed through planning application stage. Do not agree it should be deferred to the detailed stage. Habitats Regulations require uncertainty to be addressed through precautionary principle. HRA should conclude significant effect is likely and proceed to Appropriate Assessment.

Imperative revised HRA / AA consider delivery of more than 8-9,000 homes - applications total c.11,000. Crucial to understand scale and effect of visitor pressure on Wicken Fen was not widely recognised when Local Plan prepared. Local Plan HRA 5km 'zone of influence' for visitor pressure erroneous - more likely tens of km.

Section 3.4.3 in not correct - Wicken Fen is not access by permit only, numerous PROW. Access via major trails continues to grow and further grow with new town. Associated increasing resources being put into management of the Fen and Wicken Vision Area by National Trust.