Aylesbury Vale Area

MM046

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Object

VALP Main Modifications

Representation ID: 3322

Received: 13/12/2019

Respondent: Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Natural Environment Partnership

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? No

Representation Summary:

The NEP is concerned that the deletion of paragraphs removes the place-shaping principles including 'Take account of long-distance views across the site to the Chilterns AONB'

Change suggested by respondent:

See attachment for requested change to plan.

Full text:

Natural Environment Partnership - Reps to Modifications

There are 21 reps here.

SUBMISSION

See embedded document for a summary of each of the NEP's main concerns.

A summary of the main concerns is provided here:

1) Definition of Green Infrastructure
The main modifications include a revised definition of Green infrastructure, based on a definition used in an underlying report assessing sport and recreation provision. The revised definition includes as "green" infrastructure, hard-surfaced surfaces such as civic spaces and market squares as well as reference to cycle-ways, footpaths and other transport routes. This definition does not adhere to EU strategy, national policies (e.g. the NPPF and associated guidance), other generally-accepted definitions (e.g. ANGSt - which the VALP proposes now to be referring to and is about provision of "nature nearby" - or CIEEM) or locally-agreed definitions in strategies and policies that AVDC is party to (such as the Bucks GI Strategy, the Aylesbury Vale GI strategy of 2011 and the NEP's 2016 Vision and Principles for the Improvement of Green Infrastructure in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes).

Including such hard-standing surfaces would lead to perverse and unsatisfactory outcomes such as a concrete market square, or a cycle-route "counting" towards required GI provision and therefore taken into account in assessing whether "ANGSt" requirements have been met - which assesses and advocates access to natural greenspace near to where people live. Clearly they should not count in this way. Green Infrastructure is a term referring to areas of natural green space, often multi-functional, and its provision must not be assessed and planned for within the narrower lense of the provision of leisure and cultural facilities. The 2017 sports provision report should not be used to define the typology of green infrastructure, which has no accepted basis in accepted policy, for the VALP.

The NEP strongly disagrees with the new definition additions related to hard surfaced community areas, footpaths, pedestrian networks, cycleways transport routes and "other recreational routes", and recommends they are removed.

2) Clarifications in the new Policy NE1
Policy NE1 has been amalgamated from two previous policies and as such is muddled in places / confuses different issues within one policy area -and requires a number of amendments to ensure clarity, so the Plan can be understood and implemented effectively, and consistency with national policies. Although we understand the VALP is being inspected on the basis of the 2012 NPPF, the current NPPF (2018) provides a lot of the clarity required for this policy and so is used as justification.

Please note that a new Chilterns AONB Management Plan was adopted by Chilterns Conservation Board in February 2019. Recommend updating to refer to the latest version.


REASON TO SPEAK AT EXAMINATION

To outline the importance of the NEP's key concerns - particularly regarding

- The revised definition of "Green Infrastructure" to include hard-standing surfaces such as market squares, civic spaces cycleways and transport routes. These inclusions are NOT compliant with national policy (e.g. NPPF definition and PPG guidance) or generally-accepted definitions of green infrastructure at EU, national or local level policies or strategies. Their inclusion in the definition is unsound and would risk perverse outcomes whereby "green" infrastructure provision requirements are met with provision of a hard-standing surface or market square.
To clarify in person the nature of the changes proposed by the NEP at Policy NE1 - there is some lack of clarity and detail in the modified policy and supporting text resulting from the amalgamation of two previous draft policies that existed in the previous draft VALP.


Rep to MMO17


The revised definition of green infrastructure includes reference to an ANGSt-compliant network - now including "woodland, natural and semi-natural habitats for wildlife, Local nature Reserves and Local Wildlife Sites...footpaths, cycleways...and other recreational routes" as well as "transport routes".
The NEP strongly argues that its representation on this is considered - as i) it relates to the main modifications MM017 and MM018 ; and ii) some of the suggested amendments are not sound and could lead to perverse outcomes.
The NEP has several concerns with the revised definition:
* "transport routes", footpaths" [undefined, but could mean residential pavements for example], "cycleways" and "other recreational routes" are being listed as types of green infrastructure.

The NEP is concerned with this definition and recommends removal. Whilst these are potentially sustainable travel routes, and could be green infrastructure if wildlife grew along them, they should not be confused with having an equivalent

meaning to "green infrastructure". Provision of a cycleway or a footpath should not count towards provision of green infrastructure.
A cycleway or footpath does not provide the same biodiversity, wildlife or ecosystem services for people as truly "green" infrastructure would - e.g. contribution to local air quality, shading, flood risk reduction, pollination, linking habitats for biodiversity and wildlife, vegetation for carbon uptake, etc. Transport routes, footpaths and cycleways should not be confused with green infrastructure and their inclusion could, therefore, lead to perverse outcomes.
* "allotments" are listed twice in the revised definition.

* There is no definition of "ANGSt" included here (but there should be)- or justification /explanation as to why it might be important to consider in terms of infrastructure covering services and facilities.

* Including "Local Nature Reserves" and "Local Wildlife Sites" in the definition of green infrastructure might give the impression that such sites are infrastructure provision and should be accessible, rather than valuable intrinsically for wildlife. It is essential to understand that, in line with the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Natural Environment Partnership's "Vision and Principles for the Improvement of Green Infrastructure in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes" - "some wildlife habitats that are particularly sensitive to human disturbance may not be suited to multi-functionality including access. But sites, routes and links taken together should seek to create a multi-functional and connected network." So not all GI provision can be, or should be, multi-functional.



Soundness -justified;
Soundness - effective
Soundness - consistency with national policy



Rep to MMO018

The revised definition of green infrastructure includes reference to an ANGSt-compliant network - now including "woodland, natural and semi-natural habitats for wildlife, Local nature Reserves and Local Wildlife Sites...footpaths, cycleways...and other recreational routes" as well as "transport routes".
The NEP strongly argues that its representation on this is considered - as i) it relates to the main modifications MM017 and MM018 ; and ii) some of the suggested amendments are not sound and could lead to perverse outcomes.
The NEP has several concerns with the revised definition:
* "transport routes", footpaths" [undefined, but could mean residential pavements for example], "cycleways" and "other recreational routes" are being listed as types of green infrastructure.

The NEP is concerned with this definition and recommends removal. Whilst these are potentially sustainable travel routes, and could be green infrastructure if wildlife grew along them, they should not be confused with having an equivalent

meaning to "green infrastructure". Provision of a cycleway or a footpath should not count towards provision of green infrastructure.
A cycleway or footpath does not provide the same biodiversity, wildlife or ecosystem services for people as truly "green" infrastructure would - e.g. contribution to local air quality, shading, flood risk reduction, pollination, linking habitats for biodiversity and wildlife, vegetation for carbon uptake, etc. Transport routes, footpaths and cycleways should not be confused with green infrastructure and their inclusion could, therefore, lead to perverse outcomes.
* "allotments" are listed twice in the revised definition.

* There is no definition of "ANGSt" included here (but there should be)- or justification /explanation as to why it might be important to consider in terms of infrastructure covering services and facilities.

* Including "Local Nature Reserves" and "Local Wildlife Sites" in the definition of green infrastructure might give the impression that such sites are infrastructure provision and should be accessible, rather than valuable intrinsically for wildlife. It is essential to understand that, in line with the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Natural Environment Partnership's "Vision and Principles for the Improvement of Green Infrastructure in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes" - "some wildlife habitats that are particularly sensitive to human disturbance may not be suited to multi-functionality including access. But sites, routes and links taken together should seek to create a multi-functional and connected network." So not all GI provision can be, or should be, multi-functional.



Soundness -justified;
Soundness - effective
Soundness - consistency with national policy





Rep to MM246

The revised definition of green infrastructure includes reference to an ANGSt-compliant network - now including "woodland, natural and semi-natural habitats for wildlife, Local nature Reserves and Local Wildlife Sites...footpaths, cycleways...and other recreational routes" as well as "transport routes".
The NEP strongly argues that its representation on this is considered - as i) it relates to the main modifications MM017 and MM018 ; and ii) some of the suggested amendments are not sound and could lead to perverse outcomes.
The NEP has several concerns with the revised definition:
* "transport routes", footpaths" [undefined, but could mean residential pavements for example], "cycleways" and "other recreational routes" are being listed as types of green infrastructure.

The NEP is concerned with this definition and recommends removal. Whilst these are potentially sustainable travel routes, and could be green infrastructure if wildlife grew along them, they should not be confused with having an equivalent

meaning to "green infrastructure". Provision of a cycleway or a footpath should not count towards provision of green infrastructure.
A cycleway or footpath does not provide the same biodiversity, wildlife or ecosystem services for people as truly "green" infrastructure would - e.g. contribution to local air quality, shading, flood risk reduction, pollination, linking habitats for biodiversity and wildlife, vegetation for carbon uptake, etc. Transport routes, footpaths and cycleways should not be confused with green infrastructure and their inclusion could, therefore, lead to perverse outcomes.
* "allotments" are listed twice in the revised definition.

* There is no definition of "ANGSt" included here (but there should be)- or justification /explanation as to why it might be important to consider in terms of infrastructure covering services and facilities.

* Including "Local Nature Reserves" and "Local Wildlife Sites" in the definition of green infrastructure might give the impression that such sites are infrastructure provision and should be accessible, rather than valuable intrinsically for wildlife. It is essential to understand that, in line with the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Natural Environment Partnership's "Vision and Principles for the Improvement of Green Infrastructure in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes" - "some wildlife habitats that are particularly sensitive to human disturbance may not be suited to multi-functionality including access. But sites, routes and links taken together should seek to create a multi-functional and connected network." So not all GI provision can be, or should be, multi-functional.



Soundness -justified;
Soundness - effective
Soundness - consistency with national policy


Rep to MM224 (no.1)

The new paragraph 9.9 inserted should include the definition of priority habitats and species with reference to the NERC Act 2006, per the NPPF .

Soundness - consistency with national policy




Rep to MM224 (no.2)



The paragraph about the "biometric calculator" requires some corrections for clarity - to more clearly set out that:
i) "biometric" is not the correct term for the biodiversity metric. Biometric refers to human body measurements and calculations.

ii) The application of the mitigation hierarchy requires avoidance, then exploitation of all on-site avoidance, mitigation and compensation opportunities, before seeking any off-site offsets to achieve a net gain;

iii) Paragraph 9.14 also currently says "A negative unit loss would need to be offset". This statement is confusing as it could be interpreted that 'loss' is acceptable. The emphasis should be on achieving net gain (on-site in so far as possible through the mitigation hierarchy).

iv) It is the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Natural Environment Partnership, the area's Local Nature Partnership, using its combined partnership expertise, that is leading the work on the Bucks & MK biodiversity net gain scheme, not just the Buckinghamshire Councils;

And
i) That the "Warwickshire" metric refers to the most recent version of the metric being used by Warwickshire County Council.

ii) That the Warwickshire metric is one of a number available. Consideration could, for example, also be given to the recently-published Defra metric 2.0 released as a test / beta metric.
Soundness - effective


Rep to MM228

The NEP suggests some amendments to make the policy clearer to interpret and understand, in particular with reference to:
i. Protected sites -to reinstate reference to SSSIs, irreplaceable habitats such as ancient trees or woodland. These are not mentioned elsewhere and are specifically highlighted in the NPPF (SSSI at 175b;

irreplaceable habitats at 175c)

ii. In NE1 (a) to make it clear that it is not just SSSIs that are being referred to here, but features of sites of international or national importance - and protected sites and species; also that the NPPF (Para 175b) states that development proposals leading to adverse impacts should not normally be permitted -it does not have to be a "significant" adverse impact in this instance.
iii. In NE1 (c), to make clear the biodiversity net gain requirement applies to all development except for householder applications (and particular exceptions to be specified in an SPD).

iv. In NE1 (d) what might be meant by "significant harm". The description of the mitigation hierarchy in this paragraph is about what happens with a net loss in biodiversity as calculated using a metric that uses impacts on habitats as a proxy for affects on species. "Significant harm" is a different term - with a different meaning based on ecological loss.
v. In NE1 (d) to set out more clearly how, in the case of a habitat-based calculated net loss (e.g. calculated via an accepted metric), the mitigation hierarchy should require on-site avoidance, mitigation and compensation first, and offsite-offsets only as a last resort. This is different, and should not be confused / amalgamated with, what would happen in the case of "significant harm" - an ecological term (not necessarily based on units from a metric that reviews impacts on habitats as a proxy for impact on species) - where the mitigation hierarchy gives strong protections. It is recommended this is made clear in Policy NE1.

vi. In NE1(e), the meaning of a site of regional or local importance and that this includes LWS and LGS

vii. In NE1 (e) - to explain the meaning of a "habitat of principal importance" - that this is known as a priority habitat.

viii. Make clear the expectations overall for plan to promote the conservation and restoration and enhancement of priority habitats, ecological networks, priority species and to secure measurable net gains for biodiversity.

ix. In NE1 (f), ecological surveys should be consistent with standards and also guidance - e.g. the CIEEM Ecological Report Writing guidance.

x. In NE1(g) the expectations for planning when a development is proposed on a Priority Habitat. Text from the NPPF (2018) should be incorporated in to this section of the Plan . Specifically, paragraph 174 (b) "To protect and enhance biodiversity and geodiversity, plans should:.... b) promote the conservation, restoration and enhancement of priority habitats, ecological networks and the protection and recovery of priority species; and identify and pursue opportunities for securing measurable net gains for biodiversity."

xi. In NE1 (g) - to remove the last sentence regarding assessing whether advantages outweigh the disadvantages of development to the protected site and local community v adverse impacts. This is not in line with the NPPF and it is not clear the basis on which it is included. "The only exception will be where the advantages of development to the protected site and the local community clearly outweigh the adverse impacts. In such a case, the Council will consider the wider implications of any adverse impact
to a protected site, such as its role in providing a vital wildlife corridor, mitigating flood risk or ensuring good water quality in a catchment."

xii. The definition of a priority habitat or priority species should be included in the glossary -per the NPPF (2018) -which refers to the definition in the NERC Act 2006 - should be included for clarity at Para 9.9 and in the Glossary.

xiii. The Biodiversity Code of Practice referred to in NE1 (f) should be BS42020 (not BS2020 -i.e. the 4 has been missed)

xiv. In NE1 (i) To correct - that the NEP's Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) does not just solely focus on creating priority habitat within Biodiversity Opportunity Areas, but in areas of local biodiversity priority.

xv. In NE(i), it should not the amount of information available about a site that determines its significance and importance for biodiversity.

NE1 Protected Sites has clearly been written based on paragraph 175 of the NPPF 2018, which is appropriate. However, paragraphs 176 and 177 of the NPPF also relate to protected sites and it appears these have not been considered in NE1, or at least they are not easily identifiable as having been considered. It is recommended that this wording is incorporated in to the VALP for the avoidance of any doubt as to the definition/protection of a protected site/habitat:
"176. The following should be given the same protection as habitats sites:
a) potential Special Protection Areas and possible Special Areas of Conservation;
b) listed or proposed Ramsar sites; and
c) sites identified, or required, as compensatory measures for adverse effects on habitats sites, potential Special Protection Areas, possible Special Areas of Conservation, and listed or proposed Ramsar sites.
177. The presumption in favour of sustainable development does not apply where the plan or project is likely to have a significant effect on a habitats site (either alone or in combination with other plans or projects), unless an appropriate assessment has concluded that the plan or project will not adversely affect the integrity of the habitats site."

Soundness - justified
Soundness - effective (clarity)
Soundness - consistency with national policy

Rep to 231

To strengthen the wording around what the SPD will expect in terms of using a biodiversity metric to measure impacts from development on biodiversity.
To clarify the NEP's role in working with the Buckinghamshire councils to develop a consistently biodiversity net gain scheme for the area.
To make the policy clearer and easier to interpret.
To correct the term "biometric" to biodiversity.

Soundness - effective
Soundness - justified

Rep to 227

There is no reference in this section to the statutory protection afforded to Local Nature Reserves. It is recommended that this is included.

Soundness - consistency with national policy


Rep to MM246

The NEP strongly disagrees with the insertion of the definition of green infrastructure for the VALP, to now include market squares and other hard surfaced community areas. No justification of why these have been included has been given.
Including hard surfaces in a Green Infrastructure definition is concerning for three main reasons - because it:
1. Does not adhere to national policy or recognised definitions or practice of green infrastructure - including latest PPG definition of green infrastructure, European GI Strategy definition, Natural England's definitions within the ANGSt suite of documents, and local definitions -including the Aylesbury Vale Green Infrastructure Strategy (2011) and the Bucks & MK Natural Environment Partnership (2016) definitions - so is unsound;

2. Does not adhere to ANGSt definitions of publicly-accessible "natural" green spaces or the "Nature Nearby" examples of "natural" spaces or green infrastructure definition - so the new VALP wording is internally inconsistent with the policy around ANGSt. The revised draft VALP at Paras 11.7 and 11.8 indeed cites the ANGSt requirements for "...access to good quality natural greenspace near where they live". Para 11.8 specifically quotes from Natural England's "Nature Nearby" publication (2011) that a "natural" space must be "...a place where human control and activities
are not intensive so that a feeling of naturalness is allowed to predominate".

However - nowhere in the "Nature Nearby" Accessible Natural Greenspace guidance document, where ANGSt (Access to Natural Greenspace Standard) is explained, or in the example sites provided there, does is suggest that hardstanding community areas such as market squares and similar civic spaces would qualify as "natural". The guidance suggests that such spaces could take many forms -"from a space dedicated to wildlife to more local nature such as a village common, the local park, the scrap of land at the bottom of the street" - so this about nature being nearby - not hardstanding surfaces being nearby.

To emphasise the point and the need for consistency with ANGSt and other definitions and practice - , the "Nature nearby" publication includes the following:
* Definition of "green infrastructure" (pg 8):

"Green Infrastructure - A strategically planned and delivered network comprising the broadest
range of high quality green spaces and other environmental features. Designed and managed as a multi-functional resource capable of delivering those ecological services and quality-of-life benefits required by the communities it serves and needed to underpin sustainability. Its design and management should also respect and enhance the character and distinctiveness of an area with regard to habitats and landscape types."
Even in the definition of multi-functionality is no mention made of hard surfaces:
* "Multi-functionality - The ability to perform more than one function at the same time. In terms of greenspace this can mean providing opportunities for recreation whilst delivering biodiversity and contributing to climate change adaptation and mitigation."

* Proxy measures of land use when determining what is "natural" - Annex 2, page 48. There is no mention of hard surfaces!
3. Would lead to perverse outcomes - e.g. where green infrastructure requirements are fulfilled without any actual green
spaces being provided - therefore the ecosystem services that would otherwise be provided would be absent (ANGSt would not, therefore be fulfilled either).

The NEP therefore strongly recommends the removal of the new, unsupported and unjustified definition of green infrastructure to include hard-surfaced civic surfaces, in favour of the previous definitions and those provided in the "Nature Nearby" publication about ANGSt, in PPG guidance, and locally in the NEP's Vision and Principles for the Improvement of Green Infrastructure in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes, agreed by all NEP partners, including AVDC, in 2016.


Soundness - justified
Soundness - effective
Soundness - consistency with national policy

Rep to MM249

The Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Natural Environment Partnership is disappointed to see the removal of reference to the "Vision and principles for the improvement of green infrastructure in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes" as an explicitly-supported document, particularly as this was agreed in 2016 by all the NEP's partners, including AVDC.
The "Assessment for Open Space, Sports and Recreation Needs for Aylesbury Vale" Final Report 2017 does not include generally-accepted typologies of green infrastructure (as outlined in detail at the NEP's response to MM246). It actually provides a wide definition of "open space" (see page 12) and also of "living spaces" (see paras 2.10 and 2.11) - which are different concepts and must not be confused with GI or used to set strategies for GI. The purpose of the "Final Report" (see its Para 2.15-2.17) was to define a shared vision for culture and sport, and to conduct a needs and provision assessment based on local evidence.
The 2017 "Final Report" referred to in the new paragraph is therefore incorrectly being drawn upon to provide a typology of green infrastructure.
These definitions are very different from, and should not be confused with, Green Infrastructure. GI is a far broader term and must not be assessed and planned for within the narrower lense of leisure and cultural facilities.
The "Final Report" itself includes, at Para 4.129, reference to "civic spaces, including market squares and other hard surfaced community areas used for community activities" as being included as green infrastructure - but without explanation. This is not the accepted definition of GI or consistent with national policy.
Equally as crucial here, the "Final Report" appears to be being relied on for the definition of GI in the new wording of the modified sections of the VALP and Policy I1 - yet this report focussed on assessing sports and culture needs and included hardstanding surfaces within its definition of GI without explanation. These spaces are NOT the same as green infrastructure needs or indeed the ANGSt definitions or standards which have now been introduced as key in the new VALP modified wording.
The NEP does not, therefore, agree that the 2017 Final Report should be used to define the typology of green infrastructure - the report was for a different purposes and typologies of open and living spaces cannot be used for setting policies on green infrastructure without being inconsistent with generally-accepted definitions of GI from EU, national and local policy and strategies, and risking perverse and possibly unintended outcomes from the GI Policy I1.
The generally-accepted definitions of GI include those in current PPG guidance, in the European GI Strategy, in the ANGSt documents to which the draft VALP is now looking to adhere to, in the Aylesbury Vale Green Infrastructure Strategy of 2011, which built on the Buckinghamshire Green Infrastructure Strategy of 2009, and in the locally-agreed and partnership-wide approved NEP documents on how to improve green infrastructure across the local area.
The purpose of green infrastructure in such definitions tends to include multi-functionality - but with respect to wildlife and other ecosystem services such as space for recreation, health & wellbeing, - but not with the primary function being to enhance the sport and recreation value, as is implied in the new wording and which could lead to perverse outcomes.
The new draft wording does not give any explanation as to why the typologies of a Sports / recreation / culture focussed assessment report should take precedence in setting the definition of GI in the Policy I1 in the modified draft VALP, over widely-accepted definitions of green infrastructure form the EU, PPG guidance, ANGSt and accepted local GI-related strategies including the 2011 Aylesbury Vale GI Strategy.
The suggested corrections are therefore to reinstate support for the NEP's GI Vision and Principles document and provide clarity over what GI means according to the accepted guidance and definitions - to that the Policy I1 is properly informed.
NB - if a section regarding open spaces and dedicated recreation spaces including sports spaces is required, then for the reasons outlined, this should be in a separate paragraph and not mixed into the Green Infrastructure section of the modified VALP.
As stated above, green infrastructure and the ANGSt standards do not include open and leisure spaces as such a mix would suggest - which is misleading, risks misinterpretation and would lead to perverse outcomes -e.g. the provision of a hard-standing surface being accepted as a "natural" area of accessible greenspace as if the ANGSt standards would intend this - they specifically do not.


Soundness - unjustified
Soundness - ineffective
Soundness - inconsistency with national policy

Rep to MM253

To correct the otherwise incorrect statement that the 2017 Final Report identified deficiencies across the AVDC district in terms of meeting ANGSt standards. It was the Buckinghamshire 2009 GI Strategy findings that are quoted here, not findings from the "2017 Final Report."
The "Final Report (2017)" referred to replicates directly the Buckinghamshire Green Infrastructure Strategy 2009 findings, rather than any new data or work. Para 4.141 of the "Final Report" states this. This is acknowledged in the 2011 Aylesbury Vale Green Infrastructure Strategy 2011 document (see page 10) and the new wording added into the latest draft VALP directly draws on the words in that strategy.

Soundness - justified


Rep to MM255

Again, the NEP objects to the inclusion of types of infrastructure that do not fall within the generally-accepted definitions of GI as provided by EU, national and local policies and strategies.
To avoid inconsistency with national policy, inconsistency with ANGSt requirements, and likely perverse outcomes, the NEP advocates that reference to existing pedestrian and cycle networks when discussing GI is explained. These routes may have the potential to provide GI connectivity routes but are not regarded as GI in their own right. The suggested amendments are made to reflect this.


Soundness - justified
Soundness - effective
Soundness -inconsistent with national policy


Rep to MM256

The NEP is disappointed to see the wholescale removal of explicit support in the modified VALP to the NEP's locally-agreed Vision and principles for the Improvement of Green Infrastructure in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes.

This has been replaced with a non-equivalent paragraph concerning the threshold to which accessibility standards should be applied - the NEP assumes refer to the ANGSt standards, although this could be made clearer.
The NEP therefore advocates reinstating the commitment to the locally-agreed principles.

Soundness - justified


Rep to MM258

The new paragraph inserted here in the modified VALP refers to an "Open Space, Sports, Leisure and Public Realm SPD" that will set out "detailed guidance for the maintenance and adoption of open space".
The NEP is concerned that this new paragraph (para 11.14 in the modified VALP) sits within a section on "Green Infrastructure" - yet the SPD referred to in the new paragraph is for open space and sports and leisure spaces. These are different concepts.
We are concerned that the amendments to this paragraph illustrate a broader concern that the whole Section on "detailed" infrastructure tries to amalgamate both green infrastructure and open or sports spaces, and the policy objectives and treatment in planning associated with them.
However - green infrastructure is defined differently (at EU level, nationally and locally) to the modified VALP (it should not include hard standing or cycleways in its definition, nor imply pavements - none of which include any "natural" spaces against which ANGSt criteria should be assessed).
Green infrastructure is therefore a separate concept and should not be included within an SPD on "Open space, sports, leisure and public realm".
Muddling the concept and benefits provided by "green" infrastructure with those of general open spaces, sports facilities and hardstanding surfaces such as market squares or cycleways will lead to perverse and unsatisfactory outcomes for existing and new communities - where, for example, the provision of a hard-standing surface "counts" towards "green" infrastructure provision for planning application purposes - and is taken into account in assessing whether ANGSt criteria have been met.
The ANGSt criteria were never devised to encourage such spaces nearby -they strive to provide access to nature near to where people live.
And the provision of hard-standing, as referenced in the "2017 Final Report" in the modified VALP (referring to an assessment of sports, recreation and open space provision in the Vale) does not satisfy any accepted definition of green infrastructure from national or local strategies or policies.
The NEP therefore considers this mixing of the needs and policies around green infrastructure and other types of open and sports spaces for communities to be wholly unsound.
The suggested amendments are therefore to separate out any reference to Green Infrastructure from others types of open space that could include hard standing, cycle ways, or civic spaces such as market squares.

Soundness - justified
Soundness - effective
Soundness - inconsistent with national policy

Rep to MM259

The new paragraph inserted here in the modified VALP refers to an "Open Space, Sports, Leisure and Public Realm SPD" that will set out "detailed guidance for the maintenance and adoption of open space".
The NEP is concerned that this new paragraph (para 11.14 in the modified VALP) sits within a section on "Green Infrastructure" -yet the SPD referred to in the new paragraph is for open space and sports and leisure spaces. These are different concepts.
We are concerned that the amendments to this paragraph illustrate a broader concern that the whole Section on "detailed" infrastructure tries to amalgamate both green infrastructure and open or sports spaces, and the policy objectives and treatment in planning associated with them.
However - green infrastructure is defined differently (at EU level, nationally and locally) to the modified VALP (it should not include hard standing or cycleways in its definition, nor imply pavements - none of which include any "natural" spaces against which ANGSt criteria should be assessed).
Green infrastructure is therefore a separate concept and should not be included within an SPD on "Open space, sports, leisure and public realm".
Muddling the concept and benefits provided by "green" infrastructure with those of general open spaces, sports facilities and hardstanding surfaces such as market squares and cycleways will lead to perverse and unsatisfactory outcomes for existing and new communities - where, for example, the provision of a hard-standing surface "counts" towards "green" infrastructure provision for planning application purposes - and is taken into account in assessing whether ANGSt criteria have been met.
The ANGSt criteria were never devised to encourage such spaces nearby -they strive to provide access to nature near to where people live.
And the provision of hard-standing, as referenced in the "2017 Final Report" in the modified VALP (referring to an assessment of sports, recreation and open space provision in the Vale) does not satisfy any accepted definition of green infrastructure from national or local strategies or policies.
The NEP therefore considers this mixing of the needs and policies around green infrastructure and other types of open and sports spaces for communities to be wholly unsound.
The suggested amendments are therefore to separate out any reference to Green Infrastructure from others types of open space that could include hard standing, cycle ways, or civic spaces such as market squares.

Soundness - justified
Soundness - effective
Soundness - inconsistent with national policy

Rep to MM260

This modification represents the wholescale removal of a specific policy related to green infrastructure, to be replaced with a policy that is still called Green Infrastructure but which aims to encompass both green infrastructure and broader categories of infrastructure such a sports spaces and civic spaces including market squares and areas of hard-standing.
In doing so, the catch-all policy is trying to achieve many things but risks not delivering on the accepted international, national and local definitions of green infrastructure included within policy and strategy - which do NOT include, for example, cycleways, or areas of hard standing.
Muddling the concept and policy requirements of "green" infrastructure with those of general open spaces, sports facilities and hardstanding surfaces such as market squares and cycleways will lead to perverse and unsatisfactory outcomes for existing and new communities - where, for example, the provision of a
hard-standing surface "counts" towards "green" infrastructure provision for planning application purposes - and is taken into account in assessing whether ANGSt criteria have been met.
The ANGSt criteria were not devised to encourage such spaces nearby - they strive to provide access to nature near to where people live.
And the provision of hard-standing, as referenced in the "2017 Final Report" in the modified VALP (referring to an assessment of sports, recreation and open space provision in the Vale) does not satisfy accepted definitions of green infrastructure from national or local strategies or policies.
The NEP therefore considers this mixing of the needs and policies around green infrastructure and other types of open and sports spaces for communities to be wholly unsound.
The suggested amendments are therefore to separate out any reference to and requirements for Green Infrastructure and ANGSt requirements for "natural" accessible green space near to where people live, from others types of open space that could include hard standing, cycle ways and pedestrian routes (which do not necessarily include "natural" areas within or along them), or civic spaces such as market squares.
For this reason the NEP advocates reinstating part of the draft VALP's policy on Green Infrastructure, which adheres to the generally-accepted definitions of GI.
We have then provided some suggested amendments to the modified policy based on the updated wording of the modified version, to make clear that:
- Amenity green space will not necessarily include any element of "natural" and so may not meet ANGSt standards. For example, an artificial grass area provides an amenity green space but would not provide any "natural" areas.

- The term "wildlife value" in the modified policy at i), is not defined. Most areas of unbuilt land would hold some wildlife value.

- The comment about formal outdoor sports areas, play areas and allotments being located within or outside ANGSt should specifically state that these are not considered to be part of the ANGSt assessment of whether there is sufficient natural greenspace near to a development

- In Policy I1a) it is the GI opportunity zones that were identified by the Bucks & MK NEP, and not the public rights of way; also that the opportunity zones are at the very large scale; whereas GI networks existing at all scales -from the very large to the local.

- In Policy I1d) that the range of types of GI
isn't as important as the benefits that GI provides - the ecosystem services provided to wildlife and people.

- In Policy I1e) to make it clear that requirements for GI to be provided (i.e. measured against the ANGSt standards highlighted in the modified VALP) should be separate from any requirements for sports, recreation facilities or public realm improvements -because green infrastructure does not include areas of, for example, hard standing, civic spaces, market squares or cycleways which might be included within "sports, recreation facilities" and "public realm".

- In Policy I1g), the importance of links and connections between existing GI and GI features and development areas including across adjoining land (as had been referenced in the deleted text).

- ANGSt is an assessment standard of the provision of natural greenspace accessible nearby to where people live. It is not a term to describe a type of land in itself.

- That loss of natural green space and whether it is "surplus t requirements" does not just rely on measurement against the ANGSt standards - this should
be subject to an ecological assessment too.

- That not all accessible natural green space will be provided by a developer - it may already exist nearby or on the development site.

Soundness - justified
Soundness - effective
Soundness - inconsistent with national policy


Rep to MMO34


The NEP is concerned that the deletion of paragraphs removes the place-shaping principles including 'Take account of long-distance views across the site to the Chilterns AONB'

Soundness - justified

Rep to MMO39

The NEP is concerned that the deletion of paragraphs removes the place-shaping principles including 'Take account of long-distance views across the site to the Chilterns AONB'




Soundness - justified

Rep to MMO40

The NEP is concerned that the deletion of paragraphs removes the place-shaping principles including 'Take account of long-distance views across the site to the Chilterns AONB'

Soundness - justified


Rep to MMO46

The NEP is concerned that the deletion of paragraphs removes the place-shaping principles including 'Take account of long-distance views across the site to the Chilterns AONB'


Soundness - justified


Rep to MM053

The NEP is concerned that the deletion of paragraphs removes the place-shaping principles including 'Take account of long-distance views across the site to the Chilterns AONB'


Soundness - justified

Rep to MM054


The NEP is concerned that the deletion of paragraphs removes the place-shaping principles including 'Take account of long-distance views across the site to the Chilterns AONB'


Soundness - justified