A Strategic Environmental Assessment prepared by consultants AECOM for the Peacehaven and Telscombe Neighbourhood Plan into the environmental impact of future housing development has been published by the Peacehaven and Telscombe Neighbourhood Plan (NDP) steering group covering air quality, biodiversity, climate change and transportation.
The report will help guide the NDP when allocating sites including the 253 additional homes required in the area by national Government by 2030 (not including the 450 Chalkers Rise homes). Approximately 60 homes have been identified as built and at least 100 will be developed at the Meridian Site.
It is important that development is sustainable as it will increase transport, heating, food consumption and production which produce greenhouse gases causing air pollution and impact nature and biodiversity.
The report found that air quality in the plan area is currently within Government targets and the NDP already contains measures to protect it.
Climate change has the potential to increase the occurrence of extreme weather and the report highlighted issues such as flood risks and carbon dioxide emissions created through road transport. A further report based on the sites identified for development has been commissioned by the NDP to help protect Peacehaven and Telscombe from climate change effects.
Image: Carbon dioxide emissions per capita, 2005-2018
There are several Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the area including the cliffs, the seabed (Marine Conservation Zone) and Castle Hill SAC (to the north west) and Lewes Downs SAC (to the north) which are part of the UNESCO Designated Biosphere.
The report identified increasing pressures on habitats and species from future development and recommends the NDP includes these risks at an early stage of future planning.
The report found that car or van were the most common form of travel to work for residents (40.1%), higher than averages for Lewes District (37.6%) and England (37.0%) and that the recovery from COVID-19 could affect these patterns.
Future developments will need to show that they promote sustainable transport use and reduce the need to travel by improving access on foot, by cycling or by public transport.
In Lewes District the use of walking, cycling and public transport is being promoted with the new network of high-quality walking and cycle routes. In Peacehaven and Telscombe, routes across Telscombe Tye, the back streets and Centenary Park have been identified to allow residents to move around without accessing the congested A259.
The report will be used by the NDP to make decisions on any future developments and has been sent to Natural and Historic England, the Environment Agency and the South Downs National Park Authority and is available on the NDP website here.
Cathy Gallagher, Chair of Steering Group