1. Why is mitigation needed within this area?
The Exe Estuary and Dawlish Warren are European Wildlife Sites that have strong legal protection and the Council must not grant planning permission, unless any harmful effects will be fully mitigated.
Legal protection of these sites
The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 sets out how we must deal with planning applications that have potential to impact on European wildlife sites (Special Protection Areas, Special Areas of Conservation and Ramsar sites). This impact may be direct or indirect:
- eg. distant development may cause significant impact on the key species when they are away from the designated site
- eg. a single development may have a small effect but a combined overall large effect
Section 63 of the Habitat Regulations requires us to assess whether a significant effect is likely and if we consider it is then we must undertake an Appropriate Assessment to consider whether or not the effect can be fully mitigated. We may ask the applicant to provide evidence to help undertake these assessments. We must consult Natural England on the completed Appropriate Assessment.
The legislation says that we must not grant consent for a development that would, either alone or in combination with other developments, have a likely significant effect on a European wildlife site, unless full mitigation is provided.