Sustainability Appraisal / Strategic Environmental Assessment
The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 introduced the mandatory requirement for the Sustainability Appraisal of certain plans and programmes including all Development Plan Documents. By undertaking a Sustainability Appraisal, the requirements of the European Union Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive 2004, will also be met.
Jam has significant experience both undertaking and reviewing SAs on behalf of public and private sector clients at Screening, Scoping and Reporting stages. Jam's experience includes the preparation of representations and hearing statements for Examinations in Public (EiPs) as well as presenting evidence on behalf of both local authorities and developers as an expert witness.
Sustainable Development Frameworks / Masterplans
Jam's skills are ideally suited to the preparation of sustainable development frameworks, which can be used to guide land use planning frameworks, master plans and as a forerunner to detailed sustainability appraisals. The framework sets out the strategic issues, which need to be addressed, including:
- Planning policy context
- Site analysis
- Identification of key issues
- Constraints and opportunities
- Options for development
Jam also has experience in preparing sustainable master plans. Sustainable master planning ensures that the development of the master plan is designed with full integration of sustainability issues from the very start of the project. This approach means that sustainable design is integral to the layout of the scheme and thus facilitates compliance with planning and environmental regulations. As a result, the likelihood of abortive work is reduced thereby minimising costs and maximising efficiency.
If a master plan is to be adopted as a formal planning guidance document, such as an Area Action Plan (AAP), it may also need a sustainability appraisal to verify how the options for development were considered and to ensure that the most sustainable solution is selected [see SA/SEA services].
Environmental Impact Assessments
The need for Environmental Impact Assessments is set out in the 1999 Town & Country Planning Regulations and subsequent amendments. There are two Schedules of development that are affected:
- Schedule 1 applies to major infrastructure projects and projects that by their very nature have a significant impact on the environment.
- Schedule 2 applies to a whole range of development but perhaps of most relevance is the need to assess large scale Urban Development Projects.
From early 2015 the screening threshold for residential development will be increased from 0.5 hectare up to 5 hectares, including where there is up to 1 hectare of non-residential urban development. Residential developments of more than 150 units will need to be screened regardless of site area. The threshold for other urban development will be raised from 0.5 hectare to 1 hectare and the threshold for industrial estate development will be raised from 0.5 hectare to 5 hectares.).
The existing directive on environmental impact assessment was amended by a new Directive 2014/52/EU in early 2014. The Government will implement the new requirements by 17 May 2017. Jam has experience in both undertaking and reviewing EIAs on behalf of public and private sector clients at Screening, Scoping and Reporting stages. Jam can also offer a co-ordination service for the production of the Environmental Statement by managing the input from all the contributing consultants and pulling together all the documentation.
Jam provides a range of support for planning applications from the small-scale to major and strategic developments. Support includes:
Sustainability Statements are reports that are increasingly requested by Local Authorities to accompany planning applications and verify how sustainability has been addressed in the development proposals in order to demonstrate how the "presumption in favour of sustainable development" has been met. Sustainability Statements are usually required for strategic and major planning applications. The statements can also be incorporated into Design and Access Statements. Jam specialises in producing well designed, concise documents in plain language with good graphics, which can also be used for marketing purposes.
Sustainability Checklists can be used at both the strategic master plan level and also for small-scale projects, down to individual buildings. The use of a checklist ensures that sustainability principles have been considered appropriately and enables a robust solution for consideration by the planning process. Some Local Authorities have produced their own checklists, which they will use to assess planning applications before determination.
Review of Planning Applications
Jam offers a review of planning applications and the supporting technical documents for clients who would like to object or support applications. Jam will review all the supporting information and statements such as:
- design & access
- environmental impact
- daylight & sunlight
Jam will then prepare detailed objections or support to be submitted to the Local Authority.
Sustainability and Planning Policy
Jam has experience of writing policy for documents such as Local Plans, Development Plan Documents and Supplementary Planning Documents as well as responding to Government consultations on changes to the planning system. As a consequence, Jam has detailed knowledge of the regulatory framework and the National Planning Policy Framework and Guidance that aids the development of such policies and their implementation through the planning process. Such knowledge is of great importance in understanding how to navigate the planning system and enable appropriate outcomes for policies and projects.
Jam can also provide input and advice on the preparation of Neighbourhood Plans, including the preparation of SAs/SEAs [see SA/SEA section of Services]
Sustainable Management and Reporting
The recent trend in sustainable management and reporting has seen an increase in the number of companies who wish to improve the performance of their operations and show their customers that they are committed to sustainable and ethical practices. A range of management tools can be used, which provide Sustainability Management Systems such as ISO14001 and EMAS.
As a gold level signatory to the Mayor of London's Green Procurement Code, Jam has first hand experience of implementing sustainable management practices, particularly for Small and Medium Enterprises.
Consultation plays a vital part in the development process, for all scales of development. Jam has been involved in major consultation exercises using the "charrette" method of involvement, an intense consultation process with as many key stakeholders as possible over a short period of time. The result is a draft design or master plan that enables general consensus, whilst identifying further areas of work that will be needed to refine the proposals as the project develops.
Training / Seminars
Jam has carried out a number of training events and seminars on sustainability for both the private and public sectors, including CPD events, updates and implications of new regulations and case studies of best practice. If you would like Jam to come and talk to your organisation please get in touch with your requirements.