Open22 Jan, 2024, 10:00am - 4 Mar, 2024, 11:59pm
7.1 A key objective of the Plan is to protect and enhance the borough’s natural environment,  responding to the council’s Ecological Emergency declaration. 
7.2 The Plan aims to maximise biodiversity net gain and the policy approach meets the requirements of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006, which contains a duty to conserve biodiversity, and the Environment Act (2021) which legislates for biodiversity net gain, the Habitats Regulations (2017) to protect nature conservation sites, and the goals set out in the Environment Improvement Plan (2023).  The policies will sit alongside and support the forthcoming Nature Recovery Network and Local Nature Recovery Strategy, together with the council’s Green Infrastructure Strategy (2018), to improve the network of natural areas and green open spaces.
7.3 The borough’s landscape will be protected and enhanced, and the Plans’ approach has been informed by a borough-wide Landscape Character Assessment (2021) and Valued Landscapes Study (2023).  The plan also includes strategic gaps to maintain the separate identity of settlements, in line with the conclusions of the Strategic Gaps Study (2023).
7.4 The Plan also seeks to  protect, manage and improve the water quality of the borough’s watercourses in line with the Water Framework Directive as set out in relevant River Basin Management Plans.  The approach has been informed by a Water Cycle Study (2022) and Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (2021).