PUBLIC consultation for the North East Lincolnshire draft Local Plan review is well underway, with residents urged to have their say on how the area develops in the future.
Whilst maintaining a plan committed to capturing the growth opportunities, its structure has been revised with greater focus on aspects of climate change and enhancement of the natural environment.
This sees various proposals aimed at strengthening policies around the environment theme, including:
- Ensuring that the mandatory introduction of biodiversity net gain, which comes into force on February 12 this year, is achieved. (If, for example, a developer is going to build on open land, they must ensure that when that building is complete, there is more enriched habitat than there originally was – either on site or elsewhere). For more go to Biodiversity net gain – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk);
- The proposal to introduce Local Green Space Designation. This is a policy by which local communities can identify areas of open space that are ‘special’ to them. If this land has specific characteristics (it has to be close to a community it services, demonstrably special to the community and local in character) then it could get special protection;
- The proposed introduction of a Health and Wellbeing policy. This is to recognise supporting aspects of the environment that are important to physical and mental health. (developers must demonstrate how they have addressed health and wellbeing in any designs).
- To consider the introduction a Green Wedge policy – with a chance for local people to recommend where such wedges could be.
Unlike ‘Green Belts’, which are designated protected areas around urban developments, Green Wedges consist of protected land that can extend into built-up areas. The only development allowed within them would need to maintain the principles linked to the green wedge protection, for example to enable farming, forestry, or flood protection.
An expert’s view: To explain the purpose of Green Wedges, we contacted Dr Jingxia Wang, who is a lecturer in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Sheffield. Whilst not involved in North East Lincolnshire’s Local Plan Review, she is a specialist in greenspace planning.
Speaking generally about their value to areas, she explained how Green Wedges were important both to protect and enhance green spaces for residents, and wildlife.
“Green Wedges act as a buffer concept to protect areas of residential and industrial development from flowing into one another,” she said.
“Local people might see a green area as something purely for recreation, like a park, but it can be totally multi-functional. For instance, during the recent hot summers, a green lung can help to mitigate air pollution and assist an area to adapt to climate change.”
Dr Wang added: “From the point of view of local people, green spaces can make a difference in a number of ways. For example, on a school route it could determine whether a child chooses a route alongside a main road with more car pollution or walks through a green area with park facilities that offers better air quality.
“These are issues that might concern parents and would be examples of why local residents should engage with the consultation on the Local Plan review so that all points of view can be taken into consideration.”
Cllr Stewart Swinburn, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Transport, at North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “As I have said before, as a council we are committed to ensuring that North East Lincolnshire grows and develops. To do that we must take opportunities but also look at how best we protect important green spaces. Green Wedges, introduced in the right way could allow nature and green space to grow and thrive alongside developments.”
The Green Wedges policy can be viewed as part of the draft review of the Local Plan which is available now by visiting the web-based Consultation portal (https://nelincs-consult.objective.co.uk/kse/)
- The draft Local Plan review is out for public consultation from now until Friday 8 March. The names of all residents of the borough who take part in the consultations up to then will go into a draw to win a £100 shopping voucher. The consultation gives everyone who lives in North East Lincolnshire the chance to give their views on the Plan, which sets out a vision for development of the borough for the next 20 years. By law it has to be reviewed every five years, allowing planners to update their forecast for the region in line with local and national changes. For more explanations about the Plan go also to Local Plan Review | NELC (nelincs.gov.uk)