NAT5 Habitats, Species or Features of Natural Heritage Importance

Closeddate_range16 Oct, 2019, 9:30am - 11 Dec, 2019, 5:00pm

Policy NAT5 Habitats, Species or Features of Natural Heritage Importance

Planning permission will only be granted for a development proposal that is not likely to result in the unacceptable adverse impact on, or damage to known:

  • priority habitats;
  • priority species;
  • active peatland;
  • ancient and long-established woodland;
  • features of earth science conservation importance;
  • features of the landscape and coastline which are of major importance for wild flora and fauna;
  • rare or threatened native species;
  • wetlands (includes river corridors); or
  • other natural heritage features worthy of protection including trees and woodland.

A development proposal which is likely to result in an unacceptable adverse impact on, or damage to, habitats, species or features may only be permitted where the benefits of the proposed development outweigh the value of the habitat, species or feature.

In such cases, appropriate mitigation and/or compensatory measures will be required.

Justification and Amplification

This policy seeks to ensure that the conservation, protection and where possible the enhancement of local biodiversity is treated as a material consideration in the determination of planning applications, irrespective of whether the species or habitats are subject to legal protection or otherwise through the LDP Natural Environment Policies.

The NI and EU Biodiversity Strategies seek to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystems services by 2020, and the Wildlife and Natural Environment Act (NI) 2011 places a statutory duty on every public body to further the conservation of biodiversity. The NI Biodiversity Checklist (Version 2, Appendix 2) April 2017 provides further information on the legal framework for the protection of Northern Ireland’s biodiversity and natural heritage. It is intended to provide a ‘step-by-step’ tool for applicants to help identify if a development proposal is likely to adversely affect biodiversity and natural heritage interests and what information may be reasonably required to accompany a planning application in order to comply with the relevant legislation and planning policy. The NI Biodiversity Checklist can be viewed at: www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/ni-biodiversity-checklist-documents

Council’s Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) raises awareness of biodiversity in the Borough, threats to it and ways to halt biodiversity loss. It should be noted that the LBAP does not identify the threat to active peatland arising from ammonia emissions which has become more apparent since the document was published.

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