Agenda and minutes

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No. Item



To approve the Minutes of the Meeting held on 3 September 2020 (Minute Nos. 65 - 70) as a correct record.



The Minutes of the Meeting held on 3 September 2020 (Minute Nos. 65 – 70) were taken as read, approved and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.


Audio Recording



Declarations of Interest

Councillors should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves or their spouse, civil partner or person with whom they are living with as a spouse or civil partner.  They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.


The Chairman will ask Members if they have any interests to declare in respect of items on this agenda, under the following headings:


(a)          Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPI) under the Localism Act 2011.  The nature as well as the existence of any such interest must be declared.  After declaring a DPI, the Member must leave the meeting and not take part in the discussion or vote.  This applies even if there is provision for public speaking.


(b)          Disclosable Non Pecuniary (DNPI) under the Code of Conduct adopted by the Council in May 2012.  The nature as well as the existence of any such interest must be declared.  After declaring a DNPI interest, the Member may stay, speak and vote on the matter.


(c)          Where it is possible that a fair-minded and informed observer, having considered the facts would conclude that there was a real possibility that the Member might be predetermined or biased the Member should declare their predetermination or bias and then leave the room while that item is considered.


Advice to Members:  If any Councillor has any doubt about the existence or nature of any DPI or DNPI which he/she may have in any item on this agenda, he/she should seek advice from the Monitoring Officer, the Head of Legal or from other Solicitors in Legal Services as early as possible, and in advance of the Meeting.




No interests were declared.


Change to the Order of Business


The Chairman altered the order of business as minuted.

Part A Minutes for Recommendation to Cabinet


Biodiversity Baseline Study pdf icon PDF 62 KB

Report published on Monday 5 October 2020.


Kent Wildlife Trust presentation published on 13 October 2020.


Additional documents:


The Planner introduced the report and advised that the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) required development to provide biodiversity net gain.  He explained that the forthcoming Environment Bill 2020 would require it by law specifying a measurable biodiversity net gain (BNG) of 10% which would apply to both site allocations and planning allocations. 


The Planner reported that in order to comply with the requirements of the NPPF and forthcoming Environment Bill 2020 an understanding of the different habitats across the Borough ensuring the best opportunities for achieving BNG was required.  He advised that to assist with this, the Council had commissioned the Kent Wildlife Trust (KWT) Consultancy Services to prepare a Biodiversity Baseline Study for the Borough, and this was set-out at Appendix I to the report.  The Planner appreciated that the report had been published late for consideration at the meeting and explained that this was due to the manner in which they had to expedite the last few pieces of evidence.  He said that if Members had further queries after the meeting to contact him.  The Planner thanked KWT for their assistance in producing the document. 


The Planner welcomed Mr Richard Bloor from the KWT to the meeting.  Mr Bloor gave a presentation providing a rationale of the mapping exercise: classifying habitats, identifying high value habitat, identifying Nature Recovery Priority Areas; recommendations on developing a Swale Local Nature Reserves (LNRS) to guide Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) Strategy and Local Plan policy; recommendations on provision of onsite BNG in Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment sites according to objectives of LNRS; and recommendations for establishing an offsite BNG policy within the Local Plan according to objectives of LNRS. 


Members were invited to ask questions and make comments.


A Member considered the 10% net gain to be too low and asked whether a higher BNG would be achievable?  Mr Bloor explained that 10% was the minimum required within the legislation.  He reported that both KWT and local authority officers were working alongside the Kent Nature Partnership (KNP) to build a Kent-wide case for an increase to 20%.  In response to further queries, the Planner advised that possible obstacles might come from developers claiming that 20% was impacted on the viability of their development, and KNP hoped to produce evidence that local authorities could use to dispute this.  The Planner added that the Council hoped to achieve a 20% BNG.


A Member asked whether the Council would be able to refer to the report when preparing a case in respect of the solar wind farm application at Cleve Hill?  The Head of Development Services agreed to look into this for the Member.  The Chairman requested that the information be circulated to the Panel. 


A Member asked how much weight the effective distinction carried on BNG?  Mr Bloor stated that the habitat distinctiveness criteria had the largest weight within the metric.  The metric was designed to discourage development on priority habitats, but that was not to say that off-setting was not achievable.


In  ...  view the full minutes text for item 182.


Air Quality Evidence pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Additional documents:


The Planning Policy Manager introduced the report.  She explained that the air quality modelling for the Swale Local Plan Review had been carried out by Sweco’s Air Quality Technical Team.  The Planning Policy Manager explained that air quality was a key element of evidence required for the Local Plan Review and was also a significant concern to local communities and the Council.  She advised that the evidence had been prepared in close working with Swale Council environmental health colleagues and the full draft was set-out at Appendix I to the report. 


The Planning Policy Manager explained that the study had looked at two main scenarios of growth to 2037: 776 dwellings per annum plus employment sites to 2037; and 1054 dwellings per annum plus employment sites to 2037.  She reported that levels of NO2 were forecast to reduce between 2017 (base year for the study) and 2027 and again by 2037.  This was based on the assumption that emissions would fall as newer vehicles were introduced.  The two scenarios tested did show that emissions would increase slightly, but overall would remain well below exceedance levels.   The modelling also showed that there were no exceedances of PM10.


The Planning Policy Manager stated that Jen Simpson (Sweco) was also in attendance to respond to any questions.


Members were invited to ask questions and make comments.


Some Members were concerned that there was no reference to PM2.5 levels within the report.   Ms Simpson explained that the Council’s Air Quality specialist had advised that PM2.5 was not an issue in Swale, and therefore it was considered PM2.5 levels should not be included within the report. Ms Simpson added that PM2.5 was difficult to measure and PM10 was used as a surrogate to gauge whether PM2.5 was likely to be an issue.


A Member asked for clarification in respect of how the employment square footage had been agreed with regard to the two growth scenarios and was unsure how, given the proposed increases in housing that traffic flows would reduce?  Ms Simpson agreed to liaise with Sweco’s Transport section about the figures.  The Planning Policy Manager also agreed to forward employment density figures for the various B class uses. 


A Member queried whether the modelling was over- or under-predicting?  Ms Simpson explained that there was some under-prediction within the modelling.


A Member considered that more information was needed within the report regarding other pollutant sources, and raised concern about the increased number of windfall sites and that the impact they had on air quality had not been considered.  The Member also queried how the Council could assess air quality where it was not known where development would be.  He felt that the proposed housing would have a big impact on air quality and asked whether industry had been included in the modelling?  


Ms Simpson stated that background air quality data had been provided by DEFRA and this data included all other emission sources, including  ...  view the full minutes text for item 183.