13. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
13.1 In recent years, the issues of environmental pollution and human health have come increasingly to the fore, and Government guidance and planning policies are developing to address these issues. In setting a strong regeneration agenda for the area to meet the economic and social needs of local people, the Council is also keen to ensure that the environmental quality of the area is maintained and enhanced, both for local residents and visitors, and to encourage inward investment.
13.2 The allocation of sites in this Local Plan for particular purposes should not be taken as an indication that they are free of the physical/hazard constraints addressed in this Chapter, or that they are not in the vicinity of gas transmission pipelines/other installations handling hazardous substances.
13.3 Information regarding sites known or suspected to have problems of ground instability is included on the basis of the best information available to the District Council. It is not necessarily exhaustive, and responsibility for determining the extent and effect of such constraints remains that of the developer.
Strategic Policy Background
13.4 PPG23 states that the planning system and the pollution control systems are separate, but complementary, in their operation. The planning system should not therefore operate so as to duplicate controls that are the statutory responsibility of other bodies. The complementary role of the planning system is to:
(1) regulate the location of development and control operations in order to avoid or minimise the adverse effects on the use of land and on the environment; and
(2) regulate what happens after any development or use of land, so that land and water resources are restored to such a condition so as to be capable of the agreed after use, once any development or use of land has ceased.
13.5 The Regional Planning Guidance for the South East recognises that the quality of the Region's environment is underpinned by the key elements of land, air and water.
13.6 The Kent Structure Plan also seeks to avoid or minimise the pollution impacts of new development and opposes development where such impacts cannot be reduced to an acceptable level (Policy ENV20).
Potentially Polluting Development
13.7 The detailed characteristics of activities with potential to pollute are controlled by wide ranging powers under pollution control legislation. However, the effect of potentially polluting development on use of land can be a material planning consideration in exercising planning controls. The District Council as local planning authority will require any application to contain sufficient information to enable the risk of pollution to be assessed. In considering applications for development with potential to pollute or for housing/other development sensitive to pollution from existing sources, the District Council will consult the relevant pollution control authorities.
13.8 The following Policy does not apply to land use planning matters relating to waste management, for which relevant policies and proposals are set out in the Waste Local Plan prepared by the County Council. With the exception of possible waste management proposals, the District Council is not aware of a need to identify sites to meet specific requirements for potentially polluting development within the Local Plan period. Accordingly, the following criteria-based Policy will apply in respect of any such proposals that may arise.
13.9 Sites that have been used for the deposit of refuse or waste may generate explosive or otherwise harmful gases. The District Council intends to ensure as far as practical that where development may be proposed at or near sites which have been so used, effective measures will be secured to prevent any hazard during construction and subsequent occupation of the development.
Environment Agency, as waste regulation authority, holds
a register of landfill sites,
13.11 If an
application for a new development/redevelopment or major change of use on or
adjacent to a site included on the
landfill register (also known as the landfill atlas)
13.12 Where presence of gas is discovered or it is suspected that it may be present during site development, the District Council will require the applicant to arrange for an investigation to be carried out to determine its source and for satisfactory and effective remedial measures to prevent hazards from migrating gas (including accumulation into property or other confined spaces) during the course of development and during subsequent use of the site. Specialist design and construction advice will usually have to be sought by the developer in this regard.
13.13 Ground stability hazards and their effect on proposed development or a neighbouring area is an important issue that the District Council will take into account in determining planning applications.
13.14 It is in the developer's own interests to investigate whether proposed development land is stable. In addition to the obvious dangers of damage to buildings and structures and possible injury
13.15 The marshes (including the general area of Minster Marshes, Monkton Marshes, Sarre Marshes and Wade Marshes) are an area known to the District Council where problems of ground instability are likely to be present.
13.16 Other sites which might comprise unstable ground include coastal strips; particularly where serious erosion is evident, land overlying the extensive Ramsgate caves and the Margate caves near Zion Place, and land overlying the disused railway tunnel (indicated on a Ordnance Survey Map) and extending between Ramsgate Main Sands and the railway line at Broadstairs near its junction with Salisbury Avenue.
problems are also known to affect land (indicated on the Proposals Map) at Dane
Valley Road, Margate. Sites identified
as ‘landfills’ or ‘areas of unknown fill’
13.18 In considering applications for development on land where known or suspected instability might render it unsuitable for development or could adversely affect it or neighbouring land, the District Council may require a specialist investigation and assessment arranged by the developer to determine stability and to identify any remedial measures required to deal with instability in order to determine the application.
13.19 Before requesting specialist information, the District Council will normally endeavour to provide some informal indication as to the relative importance of land stability in relation to other planning considerations to the likely outcome of the application.
Derelict & Contaminated Land
13.20 Part IIA
of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 requires local authorities to prepare a
strategy to identify and deal with contaminated land in their area. This strategy is to be
based on the "suitable for use" principle. The application of this
principle is to ensure that contaminated sites are the subject of the
appropriate level of remediation to render them suitable for a particular end
use. The Council is involved, with the Environment Agency
13.21 The new contaminated land regime involves three elements:
(1) preparation of a strategy for the identification,
prioritisation and investigation of potentially
contaminated land, which satisfies the requirements of the
(2) review of the
districts land use, both historic and current,
13.24 Contamination is subject to controls under pollution control legislation. However, contamination or potential for it can be a material planning consideration where proposed use/development might pose unacceptable risks to health or the environment. The District Council wishes to encourage recycling of "brownfield" sites, including, where practical, to bring derelict/contaminated sites back to beneficial use.
13.25 Where contamination is known or suspected, the
developer will usually want to arrange for an investigation to assess site conditions, the
nature of any hazards and to establish how the development might be designed to
minimise risk. Sites which are believed
to be landfills
13.26 In determining planning applications relating to sites likely to be affected by contamination, the District Council will take into account the suitability of the site for the particular purpose proposed, and whether proper account is taken of known or potential contamination. In assessing remediation and restoration proposals, the District Council will take into account the need to protect the value of natural habitats present within subject contamination sites.
13.27 In cases where contamination is known or strongly suspected to affect a proposed development site, an appropriate investigation will be required by the District Council prior to determination of the planning application. Such an investigation should identify any contamination and any remedial measures required to deal with the hazards, and should be provided by the applicant as part of the application.
13.28 In this context, an "appropriate investigation" would involve the preparation of an investigation strategy to be agreed with the District Planning Authority and the Environment Agency before any investigation work is carried out. This is to ensure that any investigation methods used will not in themselves result in contamination risks, either to human health, other land or any underlying groundwater resources. All investigation works must be carried out in compliance with the latest British Standards, and industry best practice.
13.29 The District Council will consult any department/body it considers appropriate to establish the significance of contamination and the suitability and adequacy of any safeguarding measures proposed. Where measures are necessary to safeguard against contamination hazards, planning permission may be granted subject to conditions that such measures will be carried out.
13.30 In the event that contamination is unexpectedly discovered during site development, developers and landowners are strongly advised to contact both the Council’s Environmental Protection Team, which has powers of intervention in relation to contaminated land generally, and the Environment Agency, which has powers of intervention in relation to groundwater protection. In these circumstances, the Environmental Protection Team will require a site assessment and any appropriate mitigation measures to ensure that the site is suitable for the proposed end use.
13.31 The siting of installations handling hazardous substances will be the subject of planning controls aimed at keeping these separate from housing and other land uses with which such installations might be incompatible in terms of safety. The area covered by this Local Plan already contains a number of installations handling hazardous substances, including high pressure, natural gas transmission pipelines. Whilst these are subject to stringent controls under existing health and safety
13.32 The District Council as local planning authority will seek the advice of the Health and Safety Executive about off-site risks to the public arising from any proposed development which would introduce one or more hazardous substances.
13.33 In determining applications for development on land which is in the vicinity of one or more installations handling hazardous substances, the District Council as local planning authority will take account of advice from the Health and Safety Executive about risks to the proposed development from the installation/s*.
13.34 Under the present system of control over hazardous development and over development within the vicinity of hazardous installations, the activities, substances and quantities to which the above applies are defined by the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 1992, and Department of the Environment Circular 11/92.
13.35 In general terms, Thanet enjoys good air quality. The Environment Act 1995 created new duties for local authorities in dealing with poor air quality. The National Air Quality Strategy, published in 1997, identifies the planning system as one of the key means of improving local air quality. Circular 15/97 provides guidance on Air Quality and Land Use Planning.
13.36 All local authorities are required to carry out at least a First Stage Air Quality Review and Assessment. This involves a general review and assessment of the eight national priority pollutants in relation to the national air quality objectives. If it is concluded, on the basis of local circumstances and professional judgement, that there is the potential that one or more of the air quality objectives may not be reached, a Second Stage Review and Assessment is required.
13.37 The Second Stage requires the use of simple monitoring and modelling techniques to estimate the levels of the various air pollutants, which should provide a quantitative assessment of whether the air quality may be met or not. The Third Stage Review & Assessment involves detailed monitoring and modelling with the aim of estimating the magnitude and geographical extent of potential air quality exceedances. If the Third Stage indicates that the air quality objectives will not be fully met, local authorities are required, under the 1995 Act, to identify Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) and prepare an Air Quality Action Plan.
13.38 In the case of Thanet, the Second Stage Review and Assessment indicated that there were unlikely to be any such exceedances, and subsequently no AQMAs have been identified. However, a further review and assessment of air quality is required by the end of 2003. This should reflect any changes in air quality resulting from variations in traffic flows, the development of London Manston Airport and the business parks and any technological advances that might result in lower levels of pollution. This may require a review of Local Plan policies relating to air quality at that time.
13.39 The current Government guidance makes it clear that air quality is nevertheless a "material consideration" in dealing with development proposals and the following policy will be applied where there is a risk that a particular proposal might cause the national air quality objectives to be exceeded.
13.40 In August 2000, a Draft Framework Directive on the Assessment and Reduction of Environmental Noise was published by the European Commission. This involves a proposal for environmental noise mapping to assess background noise levels and the noise impacts of new development.
13.41 There would be a requirement for local authorities to carry out noise mapping and produce noise reduction action plans for large urban areas and major noise generators. This requirement comes into force during the Plan period. Once the detailed requirements are known, this may trigger the need for a partial review of the Local Plan.
13.42 In the meantime, the control of noise through the planning system is addressed by PPG24, which states that noise, including aircraft noise, can be a material consideration in planning decisions. It advises local authorities to take into account the need to ensure that noisy and noise-sensitive developments are located away from each other to reduce the impact of noise.
13.44 As mentioned in the Economic Development Chapter, the Council supports the development of London Manston Airport as a regional airport.
13.45 Policy EP7 seeks to limit the effect of aircraft noise on sensitive development such as housing, schools and hospitals, by restricting locations where such development may be sited. PPG24
13.46 In 1995, the District Council commissioned production of aircraft noise contours by Arup showing predicted noise levels and based on a study of Manston Airport Traffic Forecasts by Alan Stratford Associates. The forecasts considered a range of high, medium and low traffic scenarios, including the possibility of increased aviation associated with the prospective major economic regeneration role of Central Thanet, and possible runway extension.
13.47 PPG24 indicates that in exercising planning control, regard should be paid not only to existing noise exposure but also any increase that may reasonably be expected in the foreseeable future. Noise predictions were prepared for the years 1996, 2000 and 2010.
13.48 At present, there is uncertainty regarding future aircraft noise levels at Manston. The Council is therefore adopting a precautionary approach in relation to aircraft noise, and for the purposes of Policy EP7, will continue to apply the 1996 (dBLAeq 16 hour) contour predictions, which formed the basis for the Policy in the adopted Local Plan, assuming the presence of military jets. However, the District Council will keep under review the need to consider adoption of alternative contour scenarios as circumstances develop, with quieter commercial aircraft entering service and civilian air activity increasing. Accordingly, because the contours may be subject to change within the Plan period, they are not featured on the Proposals Map, but reproduced separately as an Appendix.
13.49 As mentioned in the Economic Development Chapter, an agreement is being discussed with the Airport operators regarding future airport operations and related environmental impacts. In particular, this addresses the issue of aircraft noise, and noise abatement measures, and seeks a contraction in the aircraft noise contours from 2002.
13.50 PPG24 recommends particular noise ranges for each NEC, but indicates that local planning authorities may justify a range of NEC's of up to 3dB(A) (decibel incorporating frequency weighting) above or below those recommended. Because the air noise contours are based on a scenario assuming low growth, no runway extension and no night flights, the District Council has adopted a precautionary approach to safeguarding sensitive development from the effects of aircraft noise.
13.51 Therefore, while the NECs in Policy EP7 are essentially calibrated as recommended in PPG24, the upper limit of category "B" has been reduced to 63dB(A). This contour lies almost wholly outside the built up parts of the Thanet towns and villages. Restriction on residential development within this contour would not affect the ability to meet housing land provisions within the Local Plan period.
Other Noise-Sensitive Development
13.52 Noise sensitive non-residential development such as schools and hospitals may occupy large sites and include elements of varying sensitivity. The NEC principle cannot therefore be sensibly applied, and it is appropriate in such circumstances to refer to specific guidance on internal noise standards. In respect of aircraft noise, PPG24 advises that 60dB(A) should be regarded as a desirable upper limit for major new noise sensitive development.
** LAeq 57dB 07.00-23.00
13.54 The provisions of Policy EP8 will not apply to permissions relating to small extensions to existing houses provided:
(1) Permission for the construction of the house itself was not granted subject to the provisions of this Policy; or
(2) The extension is not intended to form a separate unit of living accommodation.
13.55 In such instances the sound insulation standards referred to in this Policy are brought to the attention of all applicants, but it is left to them whether they implement the standards within the new extension or not.
13.56 A guidance note which sets out brief specifications of works required to meet specific levels of sound attenuation (adapted from Building Research Establishment Digest 338) is available from the District Council. Alternative schemes can be considered where problems are likely to be encountered, eg: rooflights.
13.57 General information in respect of internal noise standards can be found in BS 8233:1987 (Sound insulation and noise reduction for buildings). Information for guidance about health and hospital buildings is available from NHS Estates; an executive agency of the Department of Health. The Department for Education publishes guidance for schools (Dept. of Education Design Note 17: Guidelines for Environmental Design in Educational Buildings).
Airport Public Safety Zones
13.58 In the
past, Public Safety Zones (PSZs) around airports have been limited to the twenty
largest airports in Great Britain. However,
the PSZ policy is currently under review and zones are now identified on the
basis of individual risk contours at a level of 1 in 100 000 of an incident
occurring. The purpose of the zones is to prevent development that would result
in a significant number of people being located within an identified risk
13.61 PPG23 refers to light as a potential source of pollution, and advises that local planning authorities should assess its impact on general amenity and the natural environment. The Council also recognises the need for lighting to provide security and public safety, and the potential civic amenity value.
13.62 However, poorly designed or installed lighting can result in light spillage beyond the site into residential areas or the countryside, and can produce sky glow, which introduces a suburban character into rural areas.
13.63 The rural landscape in Thanet is gently undulating, generally very open, and largely devoid of trees and other significant vegetation. Poor outdoor lighting could therefore have a substantial adverse effect on the character of the area well beyond the site on which it is located.
13.64 In 1994, the Institution of Lighting Engineers (ILE) produced the Guidance Notes for the Reduction of Light Pollution. This identifies 4 different "environmental zones" in which different standards of light reduction should be applied:
E1 – National Parks, AONBs and other "dark
13.65 It is for the Local Planning Authority to identify the relevant areas of the district to which the different standards would apply, and these zones are identified on the Proposals Map by way of reference to other policy areas. Thus in this Plan:
E1 comprises the Pegwell Bay
Special Landscape Area and the former Wantsum Channel (as identified in Policy CC2);
13.66 Within these areas, the ILE advises the following standards:
OBTRUSIVE LIGHT LIMITATIONS FOR EXTERIOR LIGHTING INSTALLATIONS
*From public road lighting installations ONLY.
Flood Risk Areas
Government guidance in d
13.68 The Environment Agency’s "Policy & Practice for the Protection of Floodplains" (March 1997) also states that development should be guided away from areas at risk from flooding. The Agency recognises that, in some cases, development may sometimes have to be located in flood risk areas because of the nature of the use or the lack of alternative sites. In these circumstances, development should take account of all aspects of flood protection and prevention.
13.69 However, in Thanet, the main areas at risk of flooding are located in the former Wantsum Channel, away from the main population and service centres of the district. Consequently, the Council considers that the application of the precautionary principle leads to a highly restrictive approach to development in this flood risk area.
13.70 The flood risk area in Margate includes the Old Town area, which lies at the centre of the urban area and is an area identified for physical and economic regeneration. It also includes parts of Dane Valley along King Street, and the Dreamland Amusement Park and Tivoli Road areas. In these areas, the Council considers that commercial and residential development is acceptable, subject to full and proper safeguards in relation to flood risk.
13.71 These policies will obviously need to be regularly reviewed, as the evidence on the effects of global warming on future sea levels is refined and better established.
13.72 The District Council will consult the Environment Agency in respect of new development proposals, and developers and applicants are therefore strongly advised to contact the Environment Agency prior to submitting a planning application if flood risk is likely to be an issue. In line with appendix F of PPG25, the Environment Agency may recommend that a Flood Risk Assessment be undertaken prior to the submission of a planning application to ascertain the suitability of a site for development. For example, a plan of the site showing existing levels related to Ordnance Datum would help to establish the risk and depth of flooding at the site.
Surface Water Run-off
13.73 New development can increase the quantity and rate of flow of surface water runoff. In some parts of the district, surface water runoff is a potential problem, either in terms of flooding or other adverse effects on the water environment, such as the Stour Valley drainage system.
13.74 In cases where surface water run-off is considered to be an issue, appropriate attenuation measures will be required, such as sensitively designed balancing pools or other water flow control mechanisms to be jointly agreed with Thanet District Council, the Environment Agency and the statutory sewerage undertaker. The council will expect any measures for surface water control to be maintained in order to retain their long-term effectiveness.
13.74.1 The use of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDS) provides a significant contribution towards more sustainable development by managing environmental impacts at source rather than downstream or before it enters a watercourse. Encouragement will be given for the implementation of Sustainable Drainage Systems wherever practicable.
Environment Agency has
District Council also supports
Groundwater Protection Zones
13.78 Damage to water resources may occur due to the physical disturbance of aquifers and groundwater flows by quarrying, new mineral workings, infill of old mineral workings, road construction, etc; or through contamination by waste disposal on land, industrial processes, disturbance of existing contaminated land, etc. It is therefore essential that adequate measures are undertaken to protect surface and groundwater resources.
13.79 There is also concern that, with declining underground water source reserves, this supply is more susceptible to pollution, whether from agricultural chemicals, industrial waste, or other contaminants. It is therefore all the more important that preventable water source pollution through necessary development does not occur.
13.80 These groundwater sources require protection from potentially polluting development, and Policy EP13 will therefore apply in these areas. In applying this Policy, the Council will consult the Environment Agency, and developers and applicants are strongly advised to contact the Environment Agency prior to submitting a planning application if groundwater protection is likely to be an issue.
13.81 The Environment Agency has developed a "Policy and Practice for the Protection of Groundwater". This seeks to ensure that new development does not present an unacceptable risk to groundwater resources or lead to a deterioration in the quality or potential yield of groundwater, and recommends appropriate protection measures for different classes of potentially polluting development.
District Council will therefore
13.83 The Environment Agency's Guidance Notes on "Protecting the Water Environment through Development Plans" (originally produced by the NRA) is available from the Environment Agency Southern Region Office in Worthing, West Sussex.
Wastewater Treatment Facilities
13.84 The treatment of wastewater in Thanet is carried out by Southern Water Services. The Weatherlees Hill Wastewater Treatment Works at Ebbsfleet is now in operation, and should bring considerable improvements to the quality of bathing water and to wildlife habitats. Southern Water is continuing to invest in new plant to provide better treatment facilities for wastewater and to improve bathing water quality, for example, at Weatherlees Hill and Foreness Point.
13.86 Where a need for such facilities is identified, the District Council will assist Southern Water in identifying appropriate new sites, and will support such facilities, where there is no significant detrimental impact on other aspects of the Thanet environment, as reflected in the policies of this Plan.
Renewable Energy and Recycling
13.87 Government policy PPG22 is to stimulate the exploitation of renewable energy technology, in order to help reduce emissions harmful to the environment and to husband finite energy resources. The location and geographical characteristics of Thanet are potentially conducive to the technological development and exploitation of many known sources of renewable energy. (as demonstrated in the South East Renewable Energy Resource Assessment 2000).
13.88 The District Council generally supports the harnessing of renewable energy sources and efficient energy production technology including recycling to produce energy from waste and re-use of waste*. The Council also recognises the potential for energy saving measures in the location and design of new development. However, the benefits of efficient and renewable energy production need to be balanced against their environmental impacts. In many instances, environmentally sensitive sites may also be the most efficient location for renewable energy technology.
13.89 The level of impact will vary according to location (for example, much of the Thanet coast is a designated SPA/Ramsar site, candidate Special Area of Conservation and Site Of Special Scientific Interest, in which extremely sensitive control is required). Level of impact will also vary according to the scale and nature of development. (Proposals may range from individual household applications for small solar heating panels, new development designed/orientated so as to exploit passive solar energy, to large-scale projects capable of contributing to energy requirements of the wider community through established networks).
13.90 *(The County Council is the responsible planning authority for deciding "County matter" waste applications [ie proposals for waste management, including deposit of refuse or waste materials or erection of buildings, plant or machinery designed to be used for treating, storing, processing or disposal of refuse or waste]. Specific policies relating to recycling of waste and energy production from waste are to be found in the Kent Waste Local Plan).
Richborough Power Station
Power Station, which is situated at the boundary with Dover District, is a substantial complex of buildings in a sensitive landscape area
(see Policy CC2) and adjacent to a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Nearby is Pegwell Bay, a
Special Protection Area (SPA), Ramsar Site and two
13.92 The Power Station is allocated in the Kent Waste Local Plan as a location suitable in principle for:
(1) preparation of category A (inert) wastes (eg builder's
waste) for re-use (Policy W7vc);
13.93 The District Council supports such allocation in principle, provided that such development would not have an unacceptable impact (including on landscape, wildlife, water resources, flooding, archaeology and traffic generation). A full assessment of the ecological, hydrological, archaeological and landscape impacts on the environment will be required. The Richmond site is located in close proximity to national and international sites of nature conservation interest necessitating the identification of all potential mechanisms of impact on sensitive receptors. Appropriate safeguarding policies are included in the Waste Local Plan and these were formulated in consultation with the District Council. Policy EP15 indicates that the District Council generally supports proposals associated with renewable/efficient energy production. The Policy is considered to provide sufficient guidance in relation to this particular site that may be particularly conducive to such proposals.
13.94 It is recognised that certain proposals may arise which do not fall within the scope of Policy EP15, nor fall to be determined by the County Council as Waste Local Planning Authority. It is considered that existing Policies contained within this Plan provide adequate guidance in respect of other proposals that might arise during the Plan period.
LP Implementation Target
LP Implementation Target
LP Implementation Target