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CO8  Development in the Coastal Zone Requiring Environmental Assessment  Policy

Where the nature and scale of a development proposal within the Coastal Zone requires that an environmental assessment be submitted, the statement should address the following issues, in addition to other specified information:

(i) the necessity for location on the coast/ intertidal zone/ in coastal waters;

(ii) the degree of modification of physical features of the Coastal Zone;

(iii) implications for sea defences, coastal protection and sediment movement;

(iv) impacts on landscape character and visual quality, particularly within Areas of Special Landscape Value and along the undeveloped parts of the coastline;

(v) impacts on ecological values, and particularly on sites of importance for nature conservation or earth science;

(vi) implications for the archaeological resource, with impacts identified and assessed to minimise potential loss or damage;

(vii) possible conflicts with other uses and measures intended to mitigate these;

(viii) impacts on navigation and public access to the coastline;

(ix) impacts on local amenity and any public amenity benefit resulting from the project;

(x) any associated environmental benefit resulting from the project, such as habitat creation, restoration or enhancement; and

(xi) availability of parking and effects on traffic circulation, where relevant.

Reasoned justification :

20.36 Major developments such as ports, power stations, waste disposal installations and oil refineries are categorised as “Schedule 1” developments by the Town and Country Planning (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1988, as amended, and submission of an Environmental Statement (ES) is mandatory. Other development such as land reclamation, minerals extraction, oil and gas terminals are classified as “Schedule 2” developments for which the Local Planning Authority has discretionary powers to require that an ES be submitted.

20.37 While the regulations identify specified information which an ES must include, Policy CO8 provides additional guidance for developments within the Coastal Zone reflecting the particular circumstances within this area. An ES for a proposed development should address these issues as part of the information requirements specified in the Regulations. The environmental sensitivity of much of the Wirral coastline has already been highlighted, and the Local Planning Authority does not consider major development to be appropriate within areas of open coast.

20.38 Although it now seems unlikely to proceed, in the event of any revived proposal for a barrage across the River Mersey, the Local Planning Authority would require the preparation of an Environmental Assessment (under the terms of Schedule 2 of the Regulations), which would especially have to consider impacts on the hydrodynamics and nature conservation value of the Mersey Estuary.