11. Safeguarding our Natural Environment
The RDS and SPPS emphasise that the diverse range of habitats, species, landscapes and earth science features in NI are highly valued assets, which should be conserved, protected and enhanced for their own intrinsic value. Through the LDP our Borough’s natural heritage will be protected, conserved, enhanced and restored alongside the appropriate protection of designated nature conservation or scientific sites, habitats, species and features of natural heritage importance.
Striving to safeguard our natural environment supports our Community Plan by seeking to ensure the protection, enhancement and sustainable management of ‘Our Environment’ and its natural heritage assets. As a number of our key tourism assets are based around significant natural heritage features, this approach will also support the Community Plan theme ‘Sustainable Jobs and Tourism’. It is also recognised that this approach will have wider benefits that will contribute to meeting other strategic priorities within our Community Plan in relation to ‘Good Health and Wellbeing’ and ‘Progress in Education’.
The strategic subject policies within this chapter will assist with the implementation of the strategic objectives set out in Chapter 4.0, particularly the following:
- To protect, conserve and where possible, enhance environmental quality, biodiversity, and the natural processes underpinning the delivery of ecosystem services in Mid and East Antrim.
- To protect sites designated for their nature conservation or scientific importance and to avoid harm to protected species.
In this chapter, the strategic subject polices are informed by our evidence base and the relevant regional and local policy context, alongside our Sustainability Appraisal objectives, particularly the following:
- Protect natural resources and enhance biodiversity; and
- Maintain and enhance landscape character.