4.67 Existing green and blue features, including hedgerows, trees, watercourses and ponds must be retained and incorporated into designs, unless to the proposal can demonstrate net benefits to green infrastructure.
4.68 All development must reinforce the green infrastructure network both within and surrounding the site.
4.69 Private gardens should utilise mature shrub and tree species to create visual interest, year-round structure and wildlife refuge.
4.70 Native species, ideally of local provenance, will be favoured over non-native species due to their role in reinforcing the Lake District's unique landscape character and providing for local wildlife.
4.71 Where boundary features are required to plots and/or sites, use boundary features such as:
4.72 New development that is adjacent to water must respond sensitively to the ecological, recreational and visual amenity of the asset, as well as have consideration for the flood risk that it can pose, and the potential for contaminated run-off. Within the Lake District, water can include lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, wetlands, estuaries and the sea.
4.73 Particular design considerations must be given to schemes that are located on lake shores due to the prominence of their position in views from the lake and from other shores.
4.74 All new development must integrate Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) that achieve greenfield run-off rates. This must be demonstrated through a site-specific drainage strategy.
4.75 In all development situations, the SuDS Management Train must be applied, as illustrated below. Surface water that is captured and managed above-ground on site for non-potable uses, such as irrigation, will always be favoured.
4.76 SuDS must be considered in the early stages of design and, where possible, incorporated within the design. Multifunctional SuDS that also allow for biodiversity and recreation will be favoured.
4.77 The form, function and design of SuDS will vary on a site-by-site basis depending on topography, ground conditions, permeability, contamination potential, adjacent watercourses and the sensitivity of groundwater receptors.
4.78 Where sites have been previously developed, the potential for ‘replacing redundant or paved or sealed surfaces and replacing this with SuDS should be explored.
4.79 The design of new SuDS must carefully, yet imaginatively, respond to local character and the setting of the scheme.
4.80 The creative use of permeable paving and gullies that respond to their context is encouraged.
4.81 Planting choice within SuDS must consider how biodiversity and pollinators can best be provided for. The incorporation of trees and larger specimens is encouraged. The use of native plant and tree species is required.
4.82 SuDS should contribute to amenity and biodiversity. For these reasons ‘pipe to basin’ SuDS where runoff is channelled into an underground tank must only be used as a last resort to manage water runoff from a site.
4.83 The longevity of SuDS and their ongoing maintenance must be secured for the lifetime of the development.
4.84 Applicants should refer to the SuDS Manual for detailed guidance on the correct application of SuDS in their scheme, including calculating and using greenfield run-off rates.
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4.85 Development should contribute to nature recovery through the creation of more areas of wildlife-rich habitat in bigger patches, of better quality, that are more joined-up (see Cumbria Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS)).
4.86 All development must:
4.87 The priority is to retain and enhance existing habitat features of local biodiversity importance (as identified in the emerging LNRS), for example, species-rich grasslands – both hay meadows and pasture in the low-lying valleys and lower slopes.
4.88 Any loss of habitat should be reinstated, for example reinstating hedgerows around the boundary or, where this is not possible, compensated. A qualified ecologist will make locally appropriate recommendations for biodiversity enhancements as part of the ecological assessment process.
4.89 BNG, and more general ecological enhancements delivered as part of development, should be locally appropriate and contribute to the Nature Recovery Network. As part of this network, BNG or general enhancements contribute to the reinstatement, restoration or reintroduction of local conservation priority species (as part of the emerging LNRS, an updated list of Priority Cumbria Species will be developed). The Building with Nature standards or emerging tools such as the Environmental Benefits for Nature Tool or the NATURE Tool can be used to find locally-appropriate restoration planting schemes
4.90 Development must avoid potential impact on protected species. Where this is not possible, the Natural England licensing requirements apply (determined in the ecological assessment in light of the unavoidable impacts at the application site).
4.91 New development should balance introduction of impermeable built surface through provision of an enhanced network of wetland features including ponds, naturalised surface SuDS or ephemeral ditches to support invertebrates, amphibians and birds.
4.92 Avoid the use of hard boundaries around private spaces, unless it is traditional stone walls, and instead retain, restore, and expand on existing hedgerows to provide habitat connectivity across the site and allow for species movement. New hedge planting should be set back approximately 3m from the boundary to allow space for growth. Manage hedges to maintain structural diversity. Non-native hedge species must be avoided.
4.93 Retained trees and hedgerows require adequate root protection zone to ensure their longevity. Their function as part of a habitat mosaic can be optimised through creation and enhancement of adjacent and overhanging / underlying features, such as species-rich grassland verges alongside hedgerows, wet ditches and ponds. Appropriate dimensions and position within the sites will be guided by the ecological assessment, taking into account the site context (topography, substrate/s, proposed shading, etc) and biological requirements of target species.
4.94 Native woodland, shrub, and hedgerows planting should reflect local landscape character and plant typologies.
4.95 Roost and nest boxes for wildlife should be integrated to built development or as part of the wider scheme. Ranging from bird and bat boxes to bug hotels these will be selected for local species, sited at the appropriate height and aspect, and be connected to habitat which allows the target species to successfully establish in. Nest boxes must comply with the relevant British Standard: BS 42021:2022.
4.96 Roosts, nest boxes and microhabitats can be used to attract wildlife that is currently absent to the site. For example, the incorporation of swift bricks in places where swifts are not presently recorded will assist with nature recovery by providing the necessary habitat.
4.97 A variety of physical structures on-site should be used to provide a wider range of microhabitats, niches and microclimates for species. Examples include standing and fallen dead wood, scrub, and a range of vegetation conditions from patches of open ground to very dense vegetation.
4.98 Proposed lighting – both external and internal light spill – should respect habitat areas retained and created on site. Artificial light should avoid areas (including dispersal routes and foraging areas) intended for nocturnal or crepuscular (twilight) species for risk of deterring their use. General guidance provided by the Good Lighting Technical Advisory Note, the Institute of Lighting Professional Guidance and the Bat Conservation Trust addresses parameters including light levels, direction, duration and reflective glare. Specific information will be provided in the ecological assessment.
4.99 Planting trees, shrubs, climbers and ground plants offers significant opportunity to benefit biodiversity as part of sensitive development. Key considerations are to incorporate a diverse selection of locally-appropriate species, suitable to the soil type and ground conditions. Selection of species resilient to climate change means those better able to cope with the more extreme and fluctuating seasonal conditions in the context of the site (prone to flooding, drought, etc). Inclusion of a diverse mix will also promote resilience. Selection of fruiting, nectar-rich and berry-bearing species which collectively provide a foraging resource for wildlife throughout the year is beneficial. In addition to the Cumbria PLAN BEE for pollinators, wildlife-friendly planting lists are available from a range of recognised bodies including the RHS, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, RSPB and Bug life.
4.100 Artificial grass must not be used as it has no ecological value and introduces ecological harms by removing grass habitat and introducing and impermeable plastic surface.