Protecting the environment in our local transport plan policies

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Purpose

Implementing the eight LTP4 Policy Areas will require maintenance and operation of the existing transport network and may require construction or enhancement of infrastructure. These developments have the potential to impact the environment and local communities and visitors to the affected area. We will ensure that throughout our design and implementation process we understand and take account of the potential impacts and, wherever possible, specify designs to avoid or mitigate them, or enhance them where appropriate.


Policy statement

Where new or upgraded infrastructure is required under LTP4, or plans are made for maintenance or operation of the existing transport network, before construction or implementation. Measures will be subject to the appropriate level of assessment by the relevant authority, reflective of the scale and nature of the project. This will ensure that we understand potential impacts and how these can be best avoided or mitigated, or enhanced where beneficial.

Dependent on the scheme, assessment will include, as required, Health Impact Assessment, Equalities Impact Assessment, Habitats Regulation Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment. Where these statutory assessments are undertaken, where relevant they will be guided by the HM Treasury Green Book and DfT Transport Appraisal Guidance (or equivalents prevailing at the time) throughout the life of LTP4.


Policies

Working with partners

We will work closely with partner organisations, including the Districts and Boroughs to ensure that consideration of sustainability, including health and equality, is made at the earliest possible planning stage for schemes. We will identify the types of assessment that are appropriate for the scale and nature of the scheme at each stage of development and which organisation has responsibility for the assessment process. This will allow for full consideration of requirements in Local Plans and required statutory processes as necessary.

Health and equality impacts

Those members of society who may be considered vulnerable due to such differentials as age, health, ethnicity, sex or income or who have protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 may potentially be impacted in a different manner, or to a different degree than other members of society, by infrastructure development, enhancement or operational regimes.

Therefore, as part of planning our LTP4 measures, a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) and / or an Equalities Impact Assessment (EqIA) will be undertaken where appropriate to consider potential impacts on these individuals or groups and to inform the process of designing and planning the measures.

Any HIA or EqIA undertaken will detail potential impacts and consider how adverse effects can be mitigated and beneficial effects maximised. For example, it would be likely to consider issues such as severance to key services and community facilities and safety, with a particular focus on ensuring that those most vulnerable or disadvantaged can access opportunities that would otherwise be closed to them. This will help LTP4 to ensure fair and equitable access to services, facilities and amenities for all and will be a key consideration on all relevant schemes.

Environmental impacts

Infrastructure development or enhancement, transport maintenance or operational regimes could also impact on many aspects of Surrey's environment. In developing LTP4 measures, we will have a presumption in favour of working with partners to make net improvements to the local environment wherever possible and, as a minimum, will always follow the policies set out in this LTP4 to take every opportunity to protect and enhance the environment.

For all relevant LTP4 measures under the planning control of the county council, we will undertake Habitat Regulations Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment, as appropriate, and act upon their findings in specifying and delivering the measures.

For any measures that could potentially affect sites that are designated for nature conservation or for other reasons, such as geodiversity, we will appropriately assess any potential direct or indirect impact that may arise over the life span of LTP4. We will mitigate and / or compensate for any impacts, in line with existing best practice and relevant legislation. This will include undertaking a Habitats Regulation Assessment (or equivalent) when necessary.

Where possible, opportunities will be identified to enhance the designated sites, through for example, planting of species that will increase habitat, or through measures to reduce air pollution and therefore reduce deposits of pollutants on these areas.

Environmental Management Plans (EMPs) will be prepared and implemented for all construction, refurbishment and maintenance contracts and will include the findings and suggested mitigation from any assessment made. The EMPs will consider material resource use, energy use, and other environmental issues relevant to the scheme, and will explain how risks and impacts will be mitigated, managed and addressed.


Delivery through scheme design

We will proactively consider health and equalities issues from the earliest stage in designing and specifying our LTP4 measures. For, example we will follow the principles of 'Security by Design' and Inclusive Mobility to ensure a safe and inclusive transport network. Safety and accessibility will be fundamental considerations in the design and delivery of all new transport interventions. We will account for the findings of any HIA or EqIA undertaken and, wherever possible, will design the LTP4 measures to have a positive impact on health and equality for all members of society.

Scheme design will proactively consider environmental protection from the earliest stage. Infrastructure, transport operations and maintenance required to deliver the LTP4 will be specified to ensure that the processes of scheme construction, maintenance and operation identify and take opportunities available to:

Improve air quality

  • Incorporate features with the capacity to absorb or dissipate nitrogen dioxide and other pollutants into the design of new schemes.
  • Incorporate measures to reduce or mitigate noise or odour impacts into the design of schemes.
  • Incorporate measures to reduce or mitigate light pollution into the design of new schemes where required.
  • Address transport emission contributions to the issues identified in the Air Quality Action Plans for the Air Quality Management Areas that have been declared by the Districts and Boroughs.

Reduce carbon emissions

  • Minimise the amount of embodied carbon 'designed in' to new infrastructure and reduce construction waste.
  • Minimise the amount of operational carbon 'designed in' to service delivery, including for example minimising energy use in traffic signals and street lighting.
  • Use the transport estate to generate low carbon energy.
  • Help to transition to a 'circular economy', reducing resource use.
  • Help to remove residual carbon emissions from the atmosphere, including by enhancing green infrastructure with planting to sequester carbon.

Build in resilience to climate change

  • Work with partners to build resilience to flooding, including measures such as introducing green and blue infrastructure and Natural Flood Management or Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) which will improve water quality.
  • Avoid sites in areas of known flood risk when possible.
  • Ensure appropriate compensatory measures are implemented when there is no other option to avoid land take from areas of flood plain.
  • Build in capacity to withstand extremes of temperature, with adequate heating or cooling systems on transport vehicles and in stations.
  • Introduce new planting to help ameliorate the impacts of climate change, for instance by providing shade or acting as wind breaks.

Avoid and protect areas with high level nature conservation designations

This includes those areas designated at the International level such as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Areas (SPA) and Ramsar and sites with the potential to be designated in these categories

  • Recognise that sites such as SAC and SPA provide essential core breeding and resting sites for a range of rare and threatened species and rare natural habitat site and therefore must be protected from direct and indirect impacts of the transport network.
  • Account for legally required assessments (e.g. Habitat Regulations Assessments for works likely to have to significant effects on SPAs or SACs), submitted to the relevant bodies for approval (e.g. Natural England) and ensure that relevant mitigation measures noted in these assessments are enacted.
  • Account for potential impacts on ecological networks and protect those nationally designated sites such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and locally designated sites such as Local Nature Reserves.
  • Account for the results of ecological surveys for schemes, where required, ensuring that the mitigation hierarchy (avoid – mitigate – compensate) is applied.
  • Integrate ecological principles based on work with partner organisations such as Natural England, local Districts and Boroughs and relevant conservation bodies.
  • Reflect a requirement that all schemes that need planning permission must demonstrate biodiversity net gain, with a target increase reflective of targets set by the Districts or Borough for the relevant Local Plan area.
  • Pursue opportunities to contribute to the development of Nature Recovery Networks, for example through the creation of new areas of key habitats (e.g. woodland, wetland, grassland, etc.), wherever possible.

Protect Surrey's ecology, landscape and townscape

  • Where possible protect features of ecological importance such as ancient woodland and veteran trees and take opportunities to plant species native to Surrey / the South East of England and species of particular benefit to biodiversity such as pollinators.
  • Respect and where possible enhance the character of the host landscape in which a scheme is located. Drawing on the Surrey Landscape Character Assessment and accounting for the diversity and distinctiveness of the landscape, including Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
  • Mitigate impacts on visual amenity through measures including screening.
  • Account for Surrey's townscape and reflect and respect its vernacular architecture, drawing on local design guides and character appraisals where these have been prepared by the Borough or District council.

Protect the historic environment

  • Ensure that heritage assets are protected and where possible enhanced, designing schemes to respect the context and setting of historic buildings, structures and landscapes, working with partners and other bodies, including the county council's Heritage Team and Historic England.
  • Reflect heritage assessments and/or archaeological investigations.
  • Where appropriate, take opportunities to protect and restore features of note from transport heritage such as old bridges.

Protect natural resources

  • Protect soil and land resources (including high value agricultural land, safeguarded mineral resources, etc.).
  • Maximise opportunities to use previously developed land, including contaminated land that requires remediation.
  • Take opportunities to remediate contaminated land, where appropriate.
  • Make addressing incidents (e.g. spills of potentially harmful substances) a matter of standard practice for the county council and its contractors.

Protect the water environment

  • Account for potential water impacts throughout the design process, informed by surface water, groundwater risk assessments and by flood risk assessments where relevant.
  • Undertake Water Framework Directive assessments for new schemes where appropriate, with schemes only progressed if and when any failures have been addressed through design changes.
  • Work with partners to promote greater flood resilience.
  • Establish processes to respond promptly to transport incidents that could cause pollution.
  • Introduce green infrastructure to improve water quality.

Promote circular economy principles

  • Reduce the use of materials in design and increase use of recycled and renewable materials.
  • Use local suppliers of sustainably sourced and locally produce materials where possible.
  • Embed sustainable waste management practices in construction and operation.