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Local Place Making - Biodiversity and Geodiversity

So that the Borough remains an attractive place to live, we will draw up policies and undertaking masterplanning to ensure that new development creates good new places, or enhances existing places. Good local places may include a mix of well designed energy efficient housing with strong local community and recreational facilities, shops and services. These walkable neighbourhoods are likely to be designed to encourage healthy lifestyles, enhance the natural environment, cherish local heritage, and have good access to jobs.

Biodiversity is an important indicator of environmental well being, Whilst we have relatively few nationally designated biodiversity and geodiversity sites, there is about 300 hectares of locally important wildlife friendly green space, including land along the river corridors and becks, Local Nature Reserves (e.g. Geneva Woods) and Local Wildlife Sites. Comprehensive up to date information is reflected in the Green Infrastructure Strategy (2013).

The ‘conserve and where possible enhance’ policy approach set out in the IPPS, the Green Infrastructure Strategy and the Core Strategy is well developed and takes account of feedback from key stakeholders and sustainability appraisal. Unless any national policy changes or significant changes to local circumstances warrant it, we propose to reflect the current policy approach in the new Local Plan.

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Local Place Making - Biodiversity and Geodiversity

The natural environment provides a range of benefits to society, from an attractive setting for a new development to valuable services such as flood alleviation. New development should sit within the natural environment, not be imposed upon it, or the capacity of the environment to provide services to society will be compromised. A robust process should be in place to identify the natural assets of the borough and set out where development can be delivered without damaging those assets. There should also be a system in place that shows where mitigation for damage can be delivered to enhance natural assets and provide a robust ecological network across the borough.