Why we need to stop the London Plan
3. Natural England's recommended changes to London Policies were ignored
i. Natural England wanted to ensure policy protection from the effect of tall buildings for birds protected by the Habitats Directive
There is a specific and widespread threat to the gadwall and shoveler from large scale housing and commercial development planned right next to the South West London Waterbodies SPA where the birds over-winter in Hounslow - in the so-called "West of the Borough opportunity area" and all around the waterbodies in the protected Lee Valley SPA where the whole area which spreads North from central London towards the Lee Valley and Epping Forest SAC is facing development on an unprecedented scale as part of various high-growth "opportunity" areas
There was no policy wording to protect birds from tall buildings in the December 2017 draft London Plan; only sub-text which read:
"3.8.8 The list of impacts of tall buildings in Policy D8 Tall buildings is not exhaustive and other impacts may need to be taken into consideration. For example, the impact of new tall buildings in proximity to waterbodies supporting notable bird species upon the birds’ flight lines may need to be considered."
In their March 2018 response to the draft London Plan, Natural England stated:
"D8 - Tall Buildings.
"We agree with the text in Paragraph 3.8.8 relating to the impact of tall buildings on bird flight lines. In order to avoid ambiguity, we recommend that this wording is grouped with other environmental considerations in C.3.c of the policy under "environmental impact".
This change was never made.
Despite the fact that there were several future drafts of the London Plan, the final POLICY wording of the Intend to Publish London Plan did not contain the wording in 3.8.8 above and remains as sub-text in what is now point 3.9.10
A further question of Legality?
One question that comes to mind is how Natural England was satisfied in the first place with wording that said "the impact of new tall buildings in proximity to waterbodies supporting notable bird species upon bird species upon the birds' flight lines MAY need to be considered".
In the context of the Habitats Directive and the impact of tall buildings being considered anywhere near the South West London Waterbodies or Lee Valley SPA, the impact MUST, by law, be considered.