New development should seek to protect and where practical, improve and extend the green and blue infrastructure network. When determining planning applications, consideration will be given to how development proposals:
- Protect and enhance green and blue infrastructure assets;
- Provide high quality links between existing assets and/or provide additional uses for multifunctionality where appropriate;
- Secure improved access to green infrastructure;
- Create a sense of place by protecting and/or fully integrating high quality, green infrastructure into the proposed development to reflect the character of the neighbourhood plan area;
- Integrate green and blue infrastructure with sustainable drainage systems and the management of flood risk; and
- Address the management and maintenance of new and existing green and blue infrastructure throughout and beyond the plan period.
Any development where an impact on the water environment is a possibility, will bring about an improvement to that environment. Improvements include:
- Naturalising watercourse channels;
- Improving the biodiversity and ecological connectivity of watercourses;
- Safeguarding and enlarging river or stream buffers with appropriate habitat;
- Mitigating diffuse agricultural and urban pollution;
- Ensuring that all drainage of new development is connected correctly and within the capacity of existing water and sewerage systems;
- Seeking opportunities to incorporate creation of wetland habitat in designs;
- Ensuring that development does not fragment the wildlife corridor; and
- Preventing introduction of non-native species via construction or other works and managing present invasive non-native species where practical.
Proposals that would include the loss of part of the greeninfrastructure network as defined on the policies map, should demonstrate that alternative provision, equivalent to or better than the green infrastructure proposed to be lost in terms of its quantity and quality, can be provided in equally accessible locations that maintain or create new green infrastructure connections.
The NPPF defines green infrastructure as: ‘A network of multi-functional green space, urban and rural, which is capable of delivering a wide range of environmental and quality of life benefits for local communities’. A network, green infrastructure can include: parks, open spaces, playing fields, wildlife corridors, woodlands, street trees, allotments and private gardens. As it can also include streams, canals and other water bodies, the forum considered the term should be expanded to explicitly refer to blue infrastructure. As green and blue infrastructure is close to where people live, it can play a key role in supporting the health of the local community. It also supports wildlife, climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as helping to improve air quality.
Policy EB5 therefore seeks to protect and where practical improve the green and blue infrastructure network of the plan area, supporting the delivery of plan objectives 3, 6 and 7. The identification has been informed by allocations within the adopted and emerging development plan, including the South Tyneside Green Infrastructure Strategy SPD3 (2013).
The green and blue infrastructure identified on the policies map includes: wildlife networks and corridors, open spaces including parks and informal open spaces, playing pitches, public rights of way, trees and woodlands, private gardens and linkages to the wider countryside. The network has a strong link with the public rights of way network and therefore provides vital linkages from the built-up area to the countryside. The key elements of the green infrastructure network include: the bridleways adjoining the railway line and at Boker Lane as well as land at North Farm. The policies map also includes the southern and eastern wildlife corridors which are illustrated within figure 10.2 of the South Tyneside Green Infrastructure Strategy SPD3, these have been omitted from the
emerging South Tyneside Local Plan.