Development Management Document - Adopted July 2015
Section 6: Environmental Management
Policy DM14 – Environmental Protection
6.1 The Council will ensure that no development gives rise to or triggers unacceptable levels of pollution and land instability that could impact on human health, property and the wider environment including environmental designations. The Council will ensure that consideration is given to adopting environmental best practice measures in all cases.
6.2 Presence of contamination may affect or restrict the use of land, but equally development may address the issue for the benefit of the wider community, and bring the land back into beneficial use. The presence of instability in land can also be a major planning issue, and when new development is proposed it will be necessary to ensure that new buildings and their surroundings are safe for future users as well as ensure that their development doesn't have an effect on the immediate and surrounding area including neighbouring uses.
6.3 In determining whether land contamination or instability is an issue when assessing a planning application, the Council will have regard to a range of information sources including its database of past industrial and commercial land uses, information provided by developers and third parties, statutory guidance, historic maps, and the Southend Contaminated Land Strategy. In the case of development, where the use would be particularly vulnerable to contamination (such as new homes with gardens and schools), evidence will always be required to establish whether there is any concern about contamination which will need to be addressed.
6.4 In the case of development, where the use would be particularly vulnerable to contamination (such as new homes with gardens and schools), evidence will always be required to establish whether there is any concern about contamination that will need to be addressed.
6.5 In April 2000, Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1990 came into force introducing a new regime for the regulation of contaminated land in England. The main purpose of Part IIA is to provide a system for the identification of land that is posing unacceptable risks to health or the environment, and for securing remediation where unacceptable risks cannot be controlled by other means. The regulatory regime encourages the investigation, and where necessary, the remediation of sites of concern through the planning process with subsequent regulations providing a framework for dealing with sites that cannot be addressed through the above approach.
6.6 The urban nature of Southend results in the majority of development in the Borough being built on previously developed land, some of which may formerly have been employment land of an industrial or commercial nature, and may therefore potentially be affected by contamination and require further investigation.
6.7 The term 'Contaminated land' describes land polluted by, for example: heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium and lead; oils, tars and their derivatives; chemical substances and preparations such as solvents; gases, particularly methane and carbon dioxide; asbestos; and radioactive material; all of which may harm fauna, flora, water resources and construction components.
6.8 Redeveloping such land provides an opportunity to remediate the site of any contamination so that any threat to health, the environment and the structure itself is negated.
6.9 Proposals to redevelop sites that are potentially contaminated, or could be affected by nearby sites, will require the developer to carry out an investigation to establish the existence, nature and extent of any contaminating substances.
6.10 The assessment and remediation of contaminated land is complex, with each site beingjudged specifically to render it fit for end use. When carrying out an assessment, interested parties should take into account guidance set out in 'Land affected by Contamination – Technical Guidance for Applicants and Developers, Second Edition' (December 2007), or replacement editions,produced by the Essex Contaminated Land Consortium. This document provides a guide for developers on how to deal with land contamination and what information should accompany a planning application for the development of affected sites It should also be read in conjunction with DEFRA & the Environment Agency's Model Procedures for the Management of Land Contamination (CLR11) and the NPPF.
6.11 It is essential that a Contaminated Land Assessment is carried out by a competent person and in accordance with BS10175 (2011) Code of Practice for the Investigation of Potentially Contaminated Sites. Where there is evidence of contamination, remedial measures will need to be specified to ensure the development will not pose a risk to human health, and where appropriate, improve the wider environment.
6.12 The Borough Council will ensure that no development is at risk from land instability. Where new development occurs, the Council will also ensure that it does not increase risk to the site, or indeed risk to the immediate and wider area.
6.13 The Thames Estuary frontage of the Borough is backed by cliffs from the western boundary to Marine Parade in Leigh on Sea to Shoeburyness in the east of the Borough. The cliffs are often steeper than the natural stable gradient for the material(s) of which they are composed. As such there has been an on-going history of movement of the cliffs ranging from small scale slumping to major rotational and transitional movements, such as that witnessed below the Southend Bandstand in 2002. The cliffs, if not maintained, over a significant period of time, would naturally degrade to a stable profile which would continue to slump and move northwards. However, allowing this to occur would have a significant and detrimental effect on the built environment of the Borough. As a result, measures need to be introduced to prevent and / or reduce the movement, or, where possible,accommodate it. Before any future significant work is undertaken it will be essential to monitor existing movement to identify the nature and extent of the problems that the cliffs present.
6.14 It is important to ensure that the full implications of building on unstable land are taken into account at an early stage in the development process. The stability of the ground so far as it affects land use is a material consideration that will be taken into account when making a decision on a planning application. All appropriate mitigation measures will need to be agreed with the appropriate authorities prior to a planning application submission.
6.15 The Council is developing a Cliffs Management Strategy which will include location specific guidance to developers on areas which the Council consider unsuitable for development and those which require mitigation works to facilitate development. Pending issue of this strategy, potential developments should be discussed with the Council at an early stage to establish the suitability of the proposal.
Waste Water Treatment Works
6.16 While infrastructure associated with water supply and sewers can be provided and funded by developers, upgrades to Wastewater Treatment Works (WwTWs) can only be provided by water and wastewater utility companies (which is currently Anglian Water), and this work is dependent on their funding programme, which works in five year cycles.
6.17 The Essex Thames Gateway Water Cycle Study - Scoping Report (dated March 2009) identified that Southend WwTWs is currently at capacity. It also identified that increases in flow through parts of the sewerage network is likely to cause an increase in the frequency of diluted but untreated discharges from the system. These systems discharge to the Thames Tideways which are a sensitive environmental receptor and designated SAC, SPAs, RAMSAR and SSSI. The discharges are also required to meet the requirements of the Water Framework Directive, Habitats Directive, Shellfish Waters Directive and Bathing Waters Directive.
6.18 However, since the publication of the Scoping Report (2009), it has been confirmed, and demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Environment Agency, that current capacity at the Southend WwTWs can accommodate the Core Strategy adopted growth targets to 2021 and beyond.
6.19 The adopted Core Strategy (2007) already contains the necessary safeguards to ensure that relevant environmental designations are not adversely affected by development as set out in Policy KP1, KP2, KP3 and their supporting text. Nevertheless, development proposals that would result in the Core Strategy growth targets being significantly exceeded must ensure, in consultation with Anglian Water, that there is adequate capacity in foul water infrastructure to accommodate the proposed development in order to prevent the deterioration in current water quality standards and thus ensure the objectives of the Water Framework Directive are not compromised.
6.20 Southend Borough Council is working jointly with Essex County Council in producing a Replacement Waste Local Plan that includes developing a policy approach for the management of Waste Water Treatment Works.
Policy DM14 – Environmental Protection
- Development on or near land that is known to be
contaminated or which may be affected by contamination will
only be permitted where:
- An appropriate Contaminated Land Assessment has been carried out as part of the application to identify any risks to human health, the natural environment or water quality; and
- Where contamination is found which would pose an unacceptable risk to people's health, the natural environment or water quality, the Council will impose a condition, if appropriate, to ensure the applicant undertake appropriate remedial measures to ensure that the site is suitable for the proposed use and that the development can safely proceed.
- Remediation works will be carried out before the commencement of any new development.
- All development proposals in the vicinity of the cliff
frontages shall take full account of the risk of ground
instability. Development that is at risk
from land instability or that is likely to increase risk to
a site or to the surrounding areas will be not acceptable.
Proposals will only be considered where:
- It has been demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Council that the development of unstable or potentially unstable land will be constructed and used safely without increasing instability of the site and surrounding land; and
- It can be demonstrated that mitigation measures to stabilise land are environmentally acceptable and will not adversely impact upon neighbouring uses or sites.
Core Strategy Linkage:
Strategic Objective 12
Policy KP1: Spatial Strategy
Policy KP2: Development Principles
Policy KP3: Implementation and Resources
Strategic Objective 14
Policy CP4: The Environment and Urban Renaissance