Appendix B.1: Phase 2 proposals
The proposals in the Phase 2 work programme include changes to PDR specifically related to:
- electric vehicle charging infrastructure
- changes of use in centres
- port development
We published our Phase 2 Update to the 2019 Sustainability Appraisal (‘the Phase 2 Update’) as an annex to the consultation draft Phase 2 proposals. This again builds on the findings included in the 2019 SA report, taking into account the comments received. It also considers new aspects of the Phase 2 proposals which were not assessed previously.
Potential changes to the existing PDR for EV charging were identified and assessed in the 2019 SA. Classes 9E and 9F of the GPDO provide PDR for wall-mounted chargers and charging upstands located in areas lawfully used for parking; they are subject to conditions/limitations related to the scale and location of the apparatus permitted. Local authorities also have general PDR related to their functions (Class 30).
The options considered - namely no change in PDR, increasing the volume and scale of outlets in all/some areas, and the removal of development restriction within 2m of a road - were found to have broadly significant positive effects on climate change and air quality through increased uptake of electric vehicles. We consider these findings remain valid. The 2019 SA identified potential for significant negative effects on cultural heritage, and recommended this could be alleviated by retaining the restrictions which provide that the current PDR for certain EV charging infrastructure (Class 9E and 9F) do not apply in certain specified areas (e.g. conservation areas, National Parks etc). One respondent considered the SA over-stated the potential negative impacts of EV charging infrastructure on cultural heritage. While the Phase 2 proposals include removal of the current restriction of Class 9E and 9F PDR in the specified areas mentioned previously, the PDR would continue to be limited to areas lawfully used for off-street parking, thereby localising and minimising adverse effects on cultural heritage. The Phase 2 consultation does not propose to remove the restriction on development within 2m of a road.
Comments received on the original PDR work programme also highlighted the potential for solar energy to be deployed alongside EV charging infrastructure. Phase 2 proposals therefore include extending PDR to allow the development of solar canopies with charging stations in relation to PDR for EV charging upstands in areas lawfully used for off-street parking – currently Class 9F. The Phase 2 Update concluded that potential negative effects on the setting of heritage, landscape and cultural assets would be localised given that the PDR will be restricted in certain specified areas.
The Phase 2 Update concluded that the proposed PDR for the conversion of petrol filling stations to charging forecourts is considered likely to lead to minor positive effects on material assets and soils where the proposals lead to removal of petrol tanks and reduced areas of contamination.
On town centre changes of use, comments received on the 2019 SA highlighted concerns related to potential impacts on residential amenity associated with noise and air quality. It was also suggested that the SA should consider potential effects on human health as a result of changing vulnerability to flooding associated with change of use. The 2019 SA identified a number of significantly positive effects and cumulative effects in relation to climatic factors and population and human health, as well as the potential for negative impacts associated with ‘bad neighbour’ effects and increased take-away restaurants. The Phase 2 proposals include amending the use classes order (UCO) to bring together a greater range of uses into a broader merged class, the effect of which would be to allow additional changes of use to take place without a planning application being required. The Phase 2 consultation makes clear that bad neighbour uses should not be included in a new merged use class, if such a proposal were taken forward. Overall, we consider the 2019 SA findings remain relevant for the Phase 2 PDR and UCO proposals that could result in a loss/gain of particular uses. It is noted that changes of use which do not constitute development by virtue of the UCO are not subject to planning control and, unlike PDR, cannot be subject to conditions and limitations.
In regards to a new PDR for outdoor furniture, the Phase 2 Update determined there to be minor negative effects, associated with poorly-sited furniture, for both cultural and historical assets as well as for disabled people. Potential positive effects for increased sense of place, and subsequently centre viability, were also identified.
The proposed PDR changes for port development were not identified in the original work programme, and are assessed for the first time in the Phase 2 Update. The Phase 2 Update considers the likely environmental effects as a result of an alignment to the measures introduced in England by the UK Government. Additional developments, thought by the UK Government to now be enabled through the PDR amendment, could not be fully established however. As such, no new or additional impacts have been identified on society or the environment. It is however acknowledged that, if this opportunity is not taken to align Scottish and English PDR for ports development, any potential benefits arising for example through increased certainty and clarity for developers may not be realised.
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