Draft Local Plan: Your questions answered

How can the Local Plan help protect the environment?

We recognise that Horsham District contains a rich network of biodiversity and some very important landscapes and habitats.   These include our ancient woodlands and floodplains of the River Arun and Adur. Other areas which are not designated are still of importance for wildlife and are valued by local people.

Our Local Plan policies provide specific protection for land that is designated for its environmental importance such as the High Weald AONB. Outside of areas which have been identified for development and our towns and villages it is the general expectation against built development ensuring that the vast majority of our countryside continues to be protected.

The Plan also includes policies that require improvements to biodiversity by at least 10% (which may include some off-site measures), and sets out strengthened policies to ensure our air quality does not deteriorate.

As part of the process of preparing the local plan, we have also undertaken a number of detailed legal assessments that examine the impact of development on the environment. These are called Sustainability Assessment (SA) / Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA) processes, details of which can be found on the Council’s Local Plan webpages under Planning Policy Evidence Base.

How have you considered matters such as flood risk when identifying sites?

Development will also be expected to include plans for new landscaping and green infrastructure, to help the development assimilate into its local setting.

A Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) has been undertaken across the District to inform the new Local Plan. The flood risk level of sites has been taken into account through their identification. Sites in the highest flood risk have been discounted.

Will the Local Plan address climate change?

We recognise that the impacts of climate change are predicted to increase over time. The Local Plan policies aim to ensure the impacts of climate change are fully considered from the onset of early design and to ensure that development is future proofed and able to recover from extreme weather events such as flooding, drought and heatwaves.

All major development must demonstrate how it has been designed to adapt to the impacts of climate change and reduce vulnerability, particularly in terms of flood risk, water supply and changes to the District's landscape. Development proposals are expected to include measures which contribute to achieving zero carbon. This will include improvements to building design and provision of electric vehicles