The protection and enhancement of the environment is of critical importance to the city, and one of the key features of the Sheffield City Strategy is to create a city that places the environment at the heart of all its decisions.
Planning can assist in achieving this through encouraging positive action to mitigate against climate change, preserving and enhancing biodiversity and enhancing open spaces and river corridors.
These points should be addressed in your Sustainability Statement.
Guidance on the green network & your development
Sheffield has a distinctive network of green corridors that provide routes for wildlife as well as providing important recreational resources linking the city to the surrounding countryside.
New developments will be required to evaluate their relationship to the network and provide or enhance linkages to the network to enhance its value to habitats and recreational routes.
Building on improvements to the Lower Don and Sheffield and Tinsley Canal, emerging SDF policies will require developments alongside rivers and the Canal to make more of their potential for wildlife and open space, public access and celebration of any heritage aspects.
- understand the relationship of the development to the green network
- evaluate the potential of the development to enhance the network
- ensure that development addresses river and canal frontages, provides public access where appropriate and adds to their wildlife value
- explore opportunities to extend the network
Developments in the South Yorkshire Forest area will also be expected to have more tree planting, to establish the Forest character.
Guidance on biodiversity & your development
The green environment and the distinctive contribution it makes to the character of the city, requires the protection and where possible the enhancement of biodiversity within developments.
The protection of natural habitats and maintaining high levels of biodiversity are an essential component of sustainability, the interactions between plants, animals and their habitats helps to regulate the chemistry of our atmosphere and water supply, recycle nutrients and keep soil fertile.
- understanding the potential of buildings to provide habitats
- critically evaluating all parts of the site to provide habitats
- assessing existing habitats and seeking to retain the best areas
- evaluating the potential of connecting fragmented habitats within the site and on surrounding sites
- protecting important geological sites
- protecting important features such as valleys, woodlands, trees or watercourses
Guidance on the water quality & your development
Climate change will put pressure on water resources and could impact on water quality, due to the reduced ability of surface and groundwater sources to dilute pollution.
Developers must ensure that there is are no adverse effects of changes in water flow (rate or volume) or of biological, chemical, suspended-solid or other pollution to watercourses, ponds or ground water.
This includes discharges during construction in addition to the permanent works.
Water must be used efficiently, with opportunities taken to recycle water where possible, such as greywater recycling schemes.
Guidance on flood risks & your development
Climate change is bringing an increased risk of flooding due to increasingly unstable weather patterns.
The National Planning Policy Framework states that inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding should be avoided by directing development away from areas at highest risk, but where development is necessary, making it safe without increasing the risk of flood elsewhere.
What this means for Sheffield
- in areas at risk of flooding development possibilities are constrained
- development will not be permitted where it would result in the loss of natural or semi-natural open space that acts as functional floodplain
- the Core Strategy states that no housing will be permitted in areas with a high probability of flooding before 2016/17
- development will be steered to areas with a low probability of flooding first through the application of the Sequential Test. Only if there are no reasonably available sites in lower probability flood zones will sites in medium, and then high flood probability areas be considered for development
- an Exception Test will be required for certain vulnerable uses in medium and high probability flood areas, even if the Sequential Test is passed
- the Environment Agency’s standing advice is used to determine what information is required for developments in areas with a probability of flooding
Development in flood risk areas is often complex and requires a sensitive approach.
Having pre-application discussions at an early stage in the process is essential to avoid unnecessary costs and time delays at the planning application stage.
The following issues should be considered when wanting to develop in areas with a probability of flooding:
- is the site in a medium (zone 2) or high (zone 3) probability area?
- what does the Environment Agency standing advice suggest is required for development in that flood zone?
- has a Sequential Test and, where necessary, an Exception Test been undertaken?
- if the development has to be on that site, can a sequential approach be taken to site layout whereby more vulnerable uses are located in the parts of the site at lowest probability of flooding?
- does the design control or reduce surface-water runoff?
Guidance on air quality & your development
Improving air quality and reducing pollution is one of our key goals with the entire urban area of the city covered by an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) designation.
We aim to improve air quality in the city. We are therefore keen to ensure that the air quality impacts of new developments, including those arising from the traffic they generate, are minimised. It is equally important to have regard to air quality when considering the location of proposed sensitive developments such as housing or schools.
Core Strategy policy CS66 states that action to protect air quality will be taken in all areas of the city, and further action to improve air quality will be taken across the built up area, particularly where residents are exposed to levels of pollution above national targets.
Developers will be expected to consider the impact they will have on existing air quality. Whilst emissions from both industrial and domestic premises cannot be overlooked, emissions from road traffic are now a major source of local air pollution.
- seek to preserve or improve the existing levels of air quality, as appropriate in line with policy CS66
- assess the nature of the proposed use and the pollution levels in the area
- locate the development so that it is accessible by a range of transport options
- provide details of any mitigation measures (eg car clubs)
Guidance on contamination & your development
Without duplicating pollution controls, the planning authority must be satisfied that there will be no unacceptable risks to health or the environment from the proposed works or use, for future occupiers and those carrying out the development.
Some of the issues to consider
- will the proposal involve the reclamation of contaminated land?
- is a Contaminated Land Risk Assessment required to identify all potential sources of contamination and provide details about the nature of any risks to human health and the wider environment?
- does the proposal result in soil pollution?
Guidance on waste management & your development
Recycling reduces the amount of waste that goes to landfill sites and reduces energy consumption and carbon emissions. All developments that produce waste must be designed and laid out to accommodate waste storage and to encourage recycling.
Sheffield has local guidance setting out the design and layout requirements for waste and recycling storage for apartments, houses and commercial premises.
What to consider
Have waste storage areas and recycling facilities been included in the design and layout to Sheffield's required standards?
Guidance on urban drainage & your development
To minimise the risk of flooding, surface water should be controlled as near to the source as possible. Sustainable Urban Drainage systems (SUDS) are encouraged as water management best practice.
Core Strategy policy CS67 requires the use of SUDS or sustainable drainage techniques on all sites where feasible and practicable.
SUDS are particularly appropriate for Sheffield's topography where poorly managed run off creates local and larger-scale flooding problems downstream. They utilise a variety of techniques such as soakaways, permeable pavements, grassed swales, green roofs, infiltration trenches, ponds or wetlands to attenuate flood peak flows.
Water quality is improved and the imaginative design of SUDS can provide attractive features for new developments.
Sustainable drainage changes
The Government has announced that, from April 2015, the development management system is expected to secure sustainable drainage systems for the management of run-off for Major developments (10 dwellings or more or equivalent non-residential or mixed development). This is unless it is demonstrated to be inappropriate.
The Government has promised further guidance. We will review existing requirements and advice when Government guidance is issued.
- consider whether the green or landscaped areas of the development can accommodate a SUDS scheme
- utilise permeable hard surfacing or a propriety paving system incorporating water storage where possible
- consider the use of green roofs to provide SUDS and other benefits
- SUDS can also provide additional habitat or recreational benefits