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Development should support the conservation, enhancement and restoration of biodiversity and geodiversity across the Plan Area. Specific provisions are identified below:
1. Full account will be given in making planning decisions to the importance of any affected habitats and features, taking account of the hierarchy of protected sites:
i. Internationally important sites including existing, candidate or proposed Special Protection Areas, Special Areas of Conservation.
ii. Nationally important sites including Sites of Special Scientific Interest, National Nature Reserves, Ancient Woodlands and Marine Conservation Zones.
iii. Locally important sites including County Wildlife Sites, Local Nature Reserves, Regionally Important Geological Sites, and other priority habitats.
iv. The ecological network of wildlife corridors and stepping stones that link the biodiversity areas detailed above, including areas identified for habitat restoration and creation.
2. Net gains in biodiversity will be sought from all major development proposals through the promotion, restoration and re-creation of priority habitats, ecological networks and the protection and recovery of legally protected and priority species populations. Delivery of net gains in biodiversity should be designed to support the delivery of the identified biodiversity network that crosses the Plan Area and links the city of Plymouth to the countryside and coast, as well as the network within the city itself. The level of biodiversity net gain required will be proportionate to the type, scale and impact of development. Enhancements for wildlife within the built environment will be sought where appropriate from all scales of development.
3. Development which would be likely to directly or indirectly impact the biodiversity value of a site will not be permitted unless:
i. The need for and the public interest benefits of the development outweigh the harm, including any harm to the integrity of the ecological network.
ii. The impacts cannot be avoided through an alternative, less harmful location, design or form of development.
iii. The development demonstrates that it has proactively tried to avoid impacts on biodiversity and geological interests through the design process prior to developing measures to mitigate or as a last resort to compensate for unavoidable impacts.
iv. The favourable conservation status of legally protected species is maintained.
v. Impacts upon species, habitats or geodiversity can be reduced to a level whereby they are not significant by appropriate mitigation or as a last resort, by compensation.
vi. Potentially adverse effects can be fully mitigated and / or compensated in the case of European Protected Sites
4. Development will provide for the long term management of biodiversity features retained and enhanced within the site or for those features created off site to compensate for development impacts.
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