Editor's Note: The following is an explanation - in response to inquiries - of the measures taken by the Council to prevent harm to wildlife as a result of development. Please note that it is very important for everyone to photograph and otherwise keep track of their local wildlife and to make this known to either Bird Aware Solent and/or Natural England as HBC refers to these organizations. For further inquiries please contact HBC Planning Team as per below.
Explanation from David Hayward:
You’re absolutely right that Havant Borough Council is a member of Bird Aware Solent. As Cllr Pike says, this partnership was formed to make sure that there would not be any collective harm from increased recreation caused by new development on the Solent’s Special Protection Areas. This is similar to a number of other partnerships that have been set up across the country. There’s more detail about Bird Aware Solent on their website at http://www.birdaware.org/home . The ranger team is expanding following the transition from the interim mitigation strategy to the definitive one which has now been approved by all of the Solent local authorities. HBC is not intending to subsume any existing roles into Bird Aware Solent. You may wish to get in touch with Chichester District Council regarding their intentions which obviously I can’t comment on.
Nonetheless, the Council is also working with partners in a lot of other ways, as I’ve set out before. We are leading on a project with the other PUSH authorities looking at the impact of new development on air quality, we are involved in the work to update the Solent Waders and Brent Goose Strategy and we use the Hampshire Biodiversity Information Centre to provide survey work to inform the Local Plan. The Council is committed to protecting and wherever possible boosting the Borough’s natural environment through development. This is set out in [Havant Borough Council document 2018 available on their website] Where next for the Environment.
The Council does also have an in-house ecologist through a Service Level Agreement with Hampshire County Council. This is a setup that is working successfully across most of the Councils in Hampshire. Particularly as Natural England will generally not comment on local biodiversity matters or the impact on SINCs for example, instead relying on standing advice, the specialist input of our ecologist is extremely useful. It also means that we can objectively screen all of the proposed developments in the new Local Plan for their ecological impact, we can do our Habitats Regulations Assessment in-house (which I’d suggest adds far more value than giving it to consultants) and we can look at key local issues – such as the presence of Bechstein’s Bat in the Borough. [Please contact David Hayward directly for links to these policy documents.]
I can assure you that by no means do we accept the results of a developer’s ecological assessments on face value, they are always looked at objectively as is any technical report which is submitted to support new development.
As always, please let me know if you have any further queries ....
Planning Policy Manager
Havant Borough Council, Civic Centre Road, Havant, PO9 2AX
Tel: 023 9244 6174