Designating Sites of Biological importance in the Township
The Township Committee considered a report of the Director of Economy which advised that sites of Biological Importance (SBIs) were local planning designations covering areas of nature conservation importance in Greater Manchester which contain locally valuable habitats, plants and animals. Whilst they did not provide legal protection, they could be taken into consideration when determining planning applications which may affect the site and its nature conservation interest.
New SBIs and changes to existing SBIs were recommended on an annual basis by the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit (GMEU) and were reported to the relevant Township Committee in order that they may be adopted for planning purposes.
The latest review which GMEU had undertaken recommended that the existing Ashworth Valley SBI be extended to include two hectares of additional woodland habitat, and that the existing Fordoe and Naden Woods SBI be extended to include an additional 1.8 hectares of grassland and habitat for butterflies, and upgraded from grade C to grade B. The proposed extensions were demonstrated on maps detailed on the submitted Committee report.
The alternative would be to not support the proposed changes to the SBIs. This course of action could leave some important areas of habitat more vulnerable to damage from development in the area or nearby.
The Rochdale North Township Committee approves the extensions to the SBIs, detailed in the submitted report, so that the nature conservation interests of the new areas can be taken into account when planning applications which may affect those interests that are being considered.
Reasons for the decision:
The National Planning Policy Framework stated that planning decisions should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment by, amongst other things, protecting and enhancing valued sites of biodiversity value. The areas in question had been identified by experts as being of local biodiversity value and the Council should thus try and protect this value by taking it into account in planning decisions.
Eligible for Call-in: Yes.