Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the Shenley Park SPD

Ends on 11 October 2023 (12 days remaining)
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1. Introduction


1.1 AECOM is leading on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) in support of the emerging Shenley Park Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).

1.2 Shenley Park, near Whaddon, is one of the allocated sites for growth within the former district of Aylesbury Vale, located at the edge of Milton Keynes. This site together with other allocations within the adopted Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan 2011-2031 (VALP, 2021) is required to fulfil the level of growth for Aylesbury Vale as set out in VALP Policy S2 Spatial Strategy for Growth. The aim of the SPD is to build upon the statutory development plan (VALP and other SPDs), expanding upon the VALP site allocation policy (WHA001), with a view to guiding work at the planning application stage and ultimately ensuring sustainable development. The scale of the site (99ha) and allocation (at least 1,150 homes) is such that an SPD is warranted. However, it is important to be clear that SPDs cannot change or add new policy (see guidance).

1.3 SEA is a process for exploring the likely effects of a draft plan and alternatives with a view to minimising negative effects and maximising the positives.[1]

SEA explained

1.4 It is a requirement that the SEA process is undertaken in-line with the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004.

1.5 In-line with the Regulations, a report (known as the Environmental Report) must be published for consultation alongside the draft plan that assesses "the plan, and reasonable alternatives".[2] The report must then be taken into account, alongside consultation responses, when finalising the plan.

1.6 More specifically, the report must answer the following three questions:

  1. What has plan-making / SEA involved up to this point?
    - including in relation to 'reasonable alternatives'.
  2. What are the SEA findings at this stage?
    - i.e. in relation to the draft plan.
  3. What happens next?

This Environmental Report

1.7 This report is the Environmental Report for the Shenley Park SPD. It is published for consultation alongside the Draft SPD.

1.8 This report answers each of the three questions introduced above in turn.[3] Each question is answered within a discrete 'part' of the report.

1.9 Before answering question 1, there are two further introductory sections.

[1] SEA is not an automatic requirement for SPDS (unlike Local Plans). Rather, SPDs must be 'screened' to determined whether or not SEA is required. In the case of the Shenley Park SPD screening led to a conclusion that SEA is required.

[2] Regulation 12(2) of the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004.

[3] See Appendix A for further explanation of the report structure including its regulatory basis.

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