Protecting and Enhancing Biodiversity
1. As appropriate to their scale, nature and location development proposals should conserve or enhance biodiversity value in the neighbourhood area. Enhancement measures may include:
a) strengthening hedgerows (gapping up) and field boundaries to provide more robust habitat ‘corridors’,
b) planting wild flower meadows and strips,
c) encouraging native tree and shrub planting on suitable sites, especially species that provide good berry or nectar sources,
d) encouraging the creation of sustainable urban drainage schemes (SUDS), (e.g. rain gardens, pond and wetland creation) in new schemes and ‘retrofitting’ where appropriate,
e) the installation of habitat features (i.e. nest boxes) to benefit all bats and bird species of conservation concern, such as swifts, swallow, house martin and house sparrow,
f) protecting dry ditches - as these features are essential to the sustainable management of surface water, and
g) a reduction in light pollution so as to preserve dark landscapes; and
h) improvements to the River Devon that increase biodiversity.
2. Development proposals that would result in a loss of biodiversity value will only be supported where it is demonstrated that the proposal cannot be located on an alternative site with less harmful impacts, and with adequate mitigation. Compensatory measures, involving the creation of off-site habitat and/or relocation of species, should only be used as a last resort and agreed by Melton Borough Council. Mitigation or compensatory measures should be targeted to benefit local conservation priorities identified an up to date assessment and be in accordance with Local Nature Recovery Strategies (or equivalent), and implemented in partnership with an appropriate nature conservation body.
3. Mature trees and hedgerows identified as significant to the character of the villages in the Streets and Trees Survey 2020 should be protected and retained. Where this is not possible as a result of development, trees should be replaced at a ratio of 2:1. Where it is not possible to secure new or replacement tree planting on site, trees should be planted at a suitable location outside the site. Planning conditions or legal agreements will be used to secure this outcome.
4. Development should avoid being located on the highest quality agricultural land.