Ashdown Forest SAC: Natural England has published its position on air quality matters within Supplementary Advice on Conserving and Restoring Site Features as part of an update to the SAC Conservation Objectives. This appears extremely helpful as it confirms that improvements in emissions would outweigh effects from new development, and in any event, nitrogen from additional transport would not reduce species richness.

Key extracts are reproduced below: “Modelling undertaken by Wealden District Council, Lewes District Council and other relevant Local Planning Authorities for Local Plan assessments has identified that increases in development coming forward within plans, would increase Nitrogen deposition, Nitrogen Oxides and ammonia adjacent to roads that run through Ashdown Forest from associated increased transport. However assessment of improvements in vehicular technology and in particular Euro6/VI standards that all vehicles are currently being manufactured to, will outweigh impacts from new development. The improvements will be marginally retarded by additional development but future nitrogen deposition and concentration will continue to decline with the existing trend.

The site exceeds the critical load/level however Natural England Commissioned Report 210 identifies that expected increase in Nitrogen levels from additional transport would fall below the level that would reduce species richness on the site even if the expected declining trend in Nitrogen failed to materialise.

The background levels of Nitrogen are expected to decline with EU and Government clean air strategies and continue the existing downward trend. Notwithstanding the above, large inputs from industrial processes that could disperse over greater distances or large increases in vehicular movements not included within Local Authority modelling would need to be assessed separately for potential impacts on the site.

Source attribution data on APIS identifies that agriculture is contributing to ammonia (and thus Nitrogen) concentrations and deposition.”

To download the source document please click here.