Integrated Sustainability Appraisal (SA) of the



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Integrated Sustainability Appraisal (SA) of the
Walsall Site Allocations Development Plan Document (SAD)

Walsall Town Centre Area Action Plan (AAP)

Incorporating
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)

Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA)

Health Impact Assessment (HIA)


SA Stage 1:
Revised SA Scoping Report

Main Report


May 2013
Version 2 (01.05.13)



Contents

Chapter/ Section


Heading

Pages

1.

Introduction

1 – 11

1.1

Purpose of this Report

1 – 5

1.2

What is a Sustainability Appraisal?

5 – 6

1.3

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)

6 – 8

1.4

Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA)

8 – 10

1.5

Health Impact Assessment (HIA)

10 – 11

1.6

Other Assessments

12










2.

Policy Context and Purposes of SAD and AAP

13 – 35

2.1

Walsall Local Development Scheme (LDS) Revision June 2011

13 – 14

2.2

Development Plans (“Local Plans”) – Overview

14 – 16

2.3

The Planning Policy Framework for Walsall

16 – 17

2.4

Other Plans and Strategies for Walsall Borough

17 – 31

2.5

Purposes of the SAD and AAP

31- 33

2.6

Walsall Site Allocations Document (SAD) – Objectives

33 – 34

2.7

Walsall Town Centre Area Action Plan (AAP) - Objectives

35 – 36










3.

Approach towards Sustainability Appraisal

37 – 54

3.1

Timetable for Plan Preparation

37

3.2

Sustainability Appraisal – General Approach

38

3.3

Sustainability Appraisal – Key Stages

38 - 40

3.4

Sustainability Appraisal – Overview

40 – 44

3.5

Sustainability Appraisal – Stages One and Two

44 – 45

3.6

Sustainability Appraisal – Next Stages

46 – 55










4.

Review of Policies, Plans and Programmes (PPP)

56 – 83

4.1

BCCS PPP Review – Update

56 – 60

4.2

International PPP Overview

60 – 64

4.3

National PPP Overview

64 – 74

4.4

Regional PPP Overview

75 – 76

4.5

Sub-Regional PPP Overview

76 – 77

4.6

Local PPP Overview

78 – 79

4.7

PPPs by SA Topic – Key Sustainability Objectives

79 – 84










5.

Current Baseline Conditions

85 – 141

5.1

Review of BCCS Baseline Topics – Relevance to SAD and AAP

85

5.2

Collecting and Collating Baseline Data

86

5.3

Data Sources

86 – 89

5.4

Data Limitations

89 – 92

5.5

Summary of Current Baseline Sustainability Conditions

92 – 122

5.6

Likely Evolution of Sustainability Conditions

123 – 133

5.7

Characteristics of Areas Likely to be Significantly Affected

133 – 141










6.

Key Issues, Problems and Opportunities

142 – 151

6.1

Key Issues, Problems and Opportunities – BCCS Update

142

6.2

Key Issues and Problems for SAD and AAP

142 – 147

6.3

Key Opportunities for SAD and AAP

148 – 150










7.

Sustainability Objectives

151 -162

7.1

SA Framework – Overview

151

7.2

Review of BCCS SA Objectives - Relevance to SAD and AAP

151 – 152

7.3

Compatibility of SA Objectives

152 – 156




Table 7.1 - Walsall SAD and AAP: SA Objectives, Criteria and Indicators

157 – 162










8.

Public Consultation

163 -166

8.1

Consultation on SA Reports

163 – 164

8.2

Duty to Co-operate

164 – 166

Appendices (in separate document)

Appendix

Content







Appendix A:

Glossary of Abbreviations and Terms Used in this Report

Appendix B:

Summary of Information for SEA Environmental Reports

Appendix C:

Walsall Council – General EqIA Questionnaire

Appendix D:

Review of Plans, Policies and Programmes by SA Topic

Appendix E:

Review of Baseline Information by SA Topic

Appendix F:

SA Objectives Compatibility Testing - Matrix and Commentary

Appendix G:

Walsall SAD and AAP – Sustainability Appraisal Framework

Appendix H

Walsall SAD and AAP - Example of a High Level SA Assessment Matrix

Appendix I:

Walsall SAD and AAP - Example of a Detailed SA Assessment Matrix

Appendix J:

Sustainability Appraisal - Select Bibliography

Appendix K:

Consultation on Draft SA Scoping Report (September-November 2011): Summary of Comments Received and Council Response


1. Introduction


    1. Purpose of this Report

1.1.1 This report has been prepared by Walsall Council as the first stage in the sustainability appraisal (SA) of the following plans:




  • Walsall Site Allocations Development Plan Document (SAD); and

  • Walsall Town Centre Area Action Plan (AAP).

These plans are development plan documents (DPDs). Once adopted by the Council they will have significant legal status because the Council must make decisions on planning applications in accordance with adopted development plans, unless “material considerations” justify departing from the policies and proposals in them.




      1. This version of the SA Scoping Report is a revision of the draft published in September 2011. Significant changes have been made to the main Report and Appendices to update the information included, to reflect further enhancement of the evidence base, and to respond to comments received during the scoping consultation and advice from the Council’s SA Consultant. The main changes are summarised in Table 1.1 below.




      1. Before a SA can begin, the Council must carry out a “scoping” exercise, to work out how the appraisal will be carried out and the level of detail it will go into at each stage in the process. This includes considering the policy context for the plans being prepared and how they will relate to other plans, policies and programmes, current “baseline” sustainability conditions, the key issues that the plans will be expected to address, the appraisal framework and the structure and content of the SA reports to be produced at each stage in the plan preparation process.


Table 1.1: Changes to SA Scoping Report following Scoping Consultation

Scoping Report Sections

Summary of Changes

Non-Technical Summary

Now a separate document, and updated to provide a clearer overview of the SA framework, SA process, and the results of the first two SA stages.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Updated to include summary of changes to SA Scoping Report post 2011 consultation, and to update sections on Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) and Health Impact Assessment (HIA).

Chapter 2: The Policy Context

Updated to reflect recent changes arising from Equality Act 2010, Localism Act 2011, NPPF, and recent changes to the local policy framework, including publication of revised Walsall Council Equality Objectives and Walsall Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) in 2012, and review of the Walsall community strategy (The Walsall Plan). Clearer statement of the purposes and objectives of the SAD and AAP also included following the advice of the Council’s SA Consultant.

Chapter 3: Approach Towards Sustainability Appraisal

Substantially re-arranged to improve clarity, Table 3.1 (timetable) updated, other sections updated to reflect recent changes arising from Localism Act 2011 and Local Development Regulations 2012 and outcome of the first two SA stages, reference to the need to consider the inter-relationship between sustainability effects included at 3.4.4, following the advice of the Council’s SA Consultant.

Chapter 4: Review of Plans, Policies and Programmes (PPPs)

Amended to clarify evolution of the SA framework from BCCS SA framework, and how SA objectives for SAD and AAP relate to SEA, EqIA and HIA. PPP review section updated to include new documents.

Chapter 5: Baseline Information

Title amended to Current Baseline Conditions. Expanded to include overview of baseline sustainability conditions in Walsall, reflecting significant enhancement of evidence base during 2011/12, and comments received during scoping consultation. Also includes summary of how conditions are likely to evolve without the SAD and AAP, and potential significant effects on Walsall Borough as a whole, Walsall Town Centre, and areas outside Walsall, following the advice of the Council’s SA Consultant.

Chapter 6: Key Issues, Problems and Opportunities

Most of this has been moved to Section 5 and incorporated into summary of baseline conditions. Section 6 now provides a much shorter summary of key issues, problems and opportunities.

Chapter 7: Sustainability Objectives

Expanded to provide a summary of SA Topics, Objectives and Criteria (Table 7.1), and to include a section on the compatibility of SA Objectives with each other.

Chapter 8: Public Consultation

New section on Duty to Co-operate added, to reflect requirements of Localism Act 2011 and Local Planning Regulations 2012.

Appendix C (EqIA Questionnaire)

Replaced with revised EqIA Questionnaire issued by the Council in November 2011, which reflects the requirements of the Equality Act 2010.

Scoping Report Sections

Summary of Changes

Appendix D (PPP Review)

Appendix has been simplified, and detailed schedule of PPPs converted into a separate Technical Report. Both have been updated to include PPPs published since September 2011 and PPPs suggested in responses to the SA scoping consultation in 2011.

Appendix E (Evidence Base)

Appendix has been substantially expanded to reflect significant enhancement of evidence base during 2011 and 2012. Summarises key evidence for each SA topic, including information suggested in responses to the SA scoping consultation in 2011. This includes a summary of baseline sustainability conditions, and likely evolution without the SAD and AAP, following the advice of the Council’s SA Consultant. Supplementary baseline evidence will be included in separate Technical Reports for specific SA Topics, where appropriate (e.g. where it is not readily available from existing published sources).

-

New Appendix F created - SA Objectives Compatibility Testing Matrix and Commentary.

Appendix F (SA Framework)

Now Appendix G. SA Objectives, Criteria and Indicators have been substantially revised to reflect updated review of PPPs, enhancement of evidence base, and comments received during the SA scoping consultation in 2011.

-

New Appendix H created, showing example of High Level Assessment Matrix.

Appendix G (SA Matrix)

Now Appendix I. Updated to reflect revisions to SA framework.

Appendix H (Select Bibliography)

Now Appendix J. Updated to reflect changes to documents.

-

New Appendix K created summarising the comments received during the SA scoping consultation in 2011 and the Council’s response.




      1. In the interests of efficiency, and to avoid unnecessary duplication, the SA of the Walsall SAD and AAP will be integrated with three other types of assessment required for these types of plans:




  • Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA);

  • Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA); and

  • Health Impact Assessment (HIA).


Throughout this report, unless otherwise stated, “SA” refers to the integrated appraisal process, including the above assessments.


      1. The methodology and framework we are proposing to use to appraise the SAD and AAP will be based on the one developed for the Black Country Core Strategy (BCCS) by Tesserae Environmental Consultants (now UE Associates Ltd).1 This report explains how the BCCS SA framework has been reviewed, updated and adapted to reflect recent developments in policy and evidence, and to take account of local circumstances.




      1. The Council is required to consult certain environmental bodies (English Heritage, the Environment Agency and Natural England) on the scope and level of detail of a SA before the appraisal process begins. A draft of this SA Scoping Report was produced in September 2011 for the purpose of consulting those bodies and the wider public on the scope of the SA and the SA framework we are proposing to use to carry out the appraisals. A summary of the comments received, and how they have been addressed in this revised SA Scoping Report and the development of the SA framework, is set out at Appendix K.




      1. The terms and abbreviations used in technical reports such as this can often be confusing. Although we have explained the meaning of those used in this report when they are first mentioned, readers may find the “Glossary of Abbreviations and Terms” (Appendix A) helpful.


1.2 What is a Sustainability Appraisal?


      1. Section 19 (5) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (as amended) requires local planning authorities to “carry out an appraisal of the sustainability of the proposals” in each development plan document (DPD) they prepare, and to prepare a report on the findings of the appraisal.2 This is why the Council is required to carry out a sustainability appraisal (SA) for the SAD and AAP.




      1. The requirement for SA of development plans also reflects the requirement in Section 38 of the above Act, which requires planning authorities to exercise their development planning function “with the objective of contributing to the achievement of sustainable development.” This flows from the UK Sustainable Development Strategy, “Securing the Future,” published in 2005, the key principles of which are outlined in Section 1.6 of the BCCS SA Scoping Report.




      1. A SA is a method of assessing the potential environmental, social and economic impacts of the emerging proposals in the plan, taking into account the five “guiding principles” outlined in “Securing the Future” which have not changed. In this way, potential impacts on sustainable development can be identified early on, and addressed where feasible. The secondary legislation governing the preparation of DPDs requires the Council to publish the SA report alongside the draft DPD when it undergoes its “publication” consultation, and again when it is submitted to the Secretary of State for independent examination. 3




      1. This legislation does not prescribe any particular format or method for carrying out a SA, but in practice this is dictated by the requirements of the strategic environmental assessment (SEA), which must also be carried out for all DPDs. Current Government guidance on sustainability appraisal of development plan documents suggests co-ordination of related assessments where appropriate/ feasible.4




      1. The section below explains the requirements for SEA, EqIA and HIA and how these will be integrated into a single assessment framework for the SAD and AAP.



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