SPT12 - Strategic approach to the natural environment

The Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan has now been adopted! To find out more please visit the Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan: Adoption page.

Visit the interactive Plymouth Plan to see other policies that affect decision making across Plymouth City including the Council and its partners.

The distinctive characteristics, special qualities and important features of the natural environment of the Plan Area will be protected, conserved and enhanced. This will be through a strategic approach which protects the hierarchy of international, national and locally designated sites, commensurate with their status, and takes account of the natural infrastructure functions of different sites, habitats and features. Key principles include:

  1. Avoiding harmful impacts on existing features as a first principle, and where harmful impacts are unavoidable, to ensure that such impacts are adequately and proportionately mitigated or as a last resort fully compensated.
  2. Protecting sites of European significance for biodiversity and conservation. These include existing and potential Special Protection Areas, existing possible and candidate Special Areas of Conservation, existing and proposed Ramsar sites and sites identified, or required, as compensatory measures for harmful impacts on European sites.
  3. Protecting sites of national significance for biodiversity and conservation. These include Sites of Special Scientific Interest, National Nature Reserves, Ancient Woodlands and Marine Conservation Zones.
  4. Conserving and enhancing the landscape and scenic beauty of the South Devon and the Tamar Valley Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the adjacent Dartmoor National Park.
  5. Protecting and enhancing the distinctive landscapes of the Undeveloped Coast, particularly within the South Devon Heritage Coast, with support for improvements to public access to and enjoyment of the coast. 
  6. Safeguarding the landscape setting of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site.
  7. Supporting innovative and sustainable solutions within the North Devon Biosphere Transition Zone in accordance with the Biosphere Strategy for Sustainable Development.
  8. Conserving and enhancing a functional network across the Plan Area of greenspace and geodiversity sites that meets the needs of communities and wildlife.
  9. Improving links to and along regional and national walking and cycling routes, including the South West Coast Path national trail and the National Cycle Network.
  10. Protecting and extending the Public Rights of Way and bridleway network as an essential element of the enjoyment of the natural environment.