Appendix 1 - Monitoring Framework
Development Management - Proposed Submission
Representation ID: 1408
Respondent: Environment Agency
In relation to Representation 1172 consider the inclusion of water quality as a key indicator.
The Development Management DPD has not currently given any consideration to the capacity of foul water infrastructure in the Borough or the impact of growth on water quality. We therefore consider the plan is unsound as it is not justified, effective or compliant with national policy.
The Council completed a Water Cycle Study (WCS) scoping study in March 2009 which identified the 'Southend Wastewater Treatment Works (WwTWs) is currently at capacity and therefore does not have the capability to treat further wastewater flows as a result of increase in development' (table 5.1). The works discharge to the Thames Tideways which are designated SPA, SAC, RAMSAR and SSSI. The quality of discharge into this environment must not result in the deterioration of water quality under the Water Framework Directive, Habitats Regulations Directive, Bathing Waters Directive and Shellfish Waters Directive.
The WCS also identified that in some areas of the Borough any increase in flows through the network is 'likely to cause an increase in the frequency of diluted but untreated discharges' into the Thames Tideway (table 5.1). As with the WwTWs, this has the potential to compromise meeting the objectives of the Water Framework Directive, Habitats Regulations Directive, Bathing Waters Directive and Shellfish Waters Directive. Although not specifically identified, it can also be expected that there could be local surcharges in the system which would lead to local flooding and pollution incidents.
The scoping study does not consider the options, viability or timings associated with upgrading the infrastructure and consequently it advises further investigation is required. Southend Borough Council have commissioned a detailed WCS and aimed to publish the draft in May 2010 however we understand this has been significantly delayed. Whilst the detailed WCS needs to be completed as soon as possible to provide information on how and when the issues will be address, it is clear from the information within the scoping report that a policy is required to ensure the impact of new development on foul water infrastructure and water quality is considered. Not considering these issues in the planning process could not only result in a failure in Water Framework Directive, Habitats Regulations Directive, Bathing Waters Directive and Shellfish Waters Directive targets, but it would conflict with other aims of the Councils LDF such as protecting international and national sites for nature conservation and promoting tourism.
The Sustainability Appraisal (SA) does not appear to have assessed or considered water quality issues associated with foul drainage. Whilst we note that objective NR2 of the Sustainability Appraisal is 'to maintain and improve the quantity and quality of ground, sea and river waters, and minimise risk of flooding', only policies DM2 and DM16 are rated as 'likely to contribute to the achievement of greater sustainability according to the likely objective'. This however relates to the aspect of the objective requiring improvements to water quantity, not quality. For the majority of policies in the Development Management DPD, this objective is rated as 'no identifiable relationship between the topic covered in the policy and the sustainability concern'.
The importance of ensuring there is adequate infrastructure is recognised by national planning policy. Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 1: Delivering Sustainable Development states that there is a requirement to base policies on a 'recognition of the limits of the environment to accept further development without irreversible damage' (paragraph 19). Furthermore, the PPS 1 Supplement: Planning and Climate Change states that in selecting land for development, consideration needs to be given to the 'capacity of existing and potential infrastructure' with specific mention of sewage and sewerage (paragraph 2.4). PPS 12: Local Spatial Planning (paragraph 4.8) requires Local Planning Authorities to support policies with evidence of the infrastructure requirements required to facilitate proposed development.