The South Worcestershire Councils (SWC) i.e Malvern Hills, Worcester and Wychavon started a review of the SWDP in late 2017. This is in line with new Government requirements that local plans should be updated every five years, and therefore a revised SWDP is required by 2021. The review will provide an updated plan period to the year 2041.
As part of the preparation of the SWDP Review an appraisal of the social, environmental and economic impact of the plan must be carried out. This appraisal is known as Sustainability Appraisal.
In addition to Sustainability Appraisal, the SWDP review must comply with the requirements of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), in accordance with European Directive 2001/42/EC, to ensure that environmental effects are given full consideration alongside social and economic issues when preparing the plan. Therefore, the requirements of the SEA Directive have been incorporated into the Sustainability Appraisal scoping process.
Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA)
The HRA process assesses the potential effects of a plan or project on the conservation objectives of European sites designated under the Habitats and Birds Directives. These sites form a system of internationally important sites throughout Europe known collectively as the ‘Natura 2000 Network’.
The HRA has been prepared in accordance with the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (the Habitats Regulations). When preparing development plan documents, Councils are required by law to carry out an HRA.
An interim HRA has been prepared to support the plan making process for the Preferred Options.