Appeal decision in Wealden District determines that mitigation is not required for potential air quality effects on Ashdown Forest SAC arising from residential development.

An appeal has been heard by an Inspector for 10 residential units in Wealden District. In considering the matter, the Inspector noted that the Council had raised a concern as to the likely significant adverse effect on the Ashdown Forest SAC from air quality effects arising from in-combination traffic growth. However, the Inspector was guided by evidence provided by Natural England in response to the Council’s Regulation 19 consultation which includes provision for a large number of new dwellings throughout the District. In this regard Natural England advised that the plan would not adversely affect the integrity of the SAC in respect of air quality effects including from atmospheric nitrogen pollution.

Natural England reached this conclusion based on the evidence provided, its expert knowledge and its professional judgement and importantly, without the need to utilise mitigation measures. Taking this into account the Inspector concluded that:

“I afford NE’s view on this matter substantial weight and, on this basis and having carefully considered all of the evidence provided, it seems reasonable for me to take a similar view in respect of the proposal before me and its effect on the AFSAC. As such, it would not, alone, or in combination with other projects, have a likely significant adverse effect on the integrity of the AFSAC with regard to atmospheric pollution/nitrogen deposition and a full appropriate assessment is thus not required”.

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