The ‘Wealdon Case’ initially relates to their Local Plan Allocation and can be summarised as follows.
Wealdon District Council (WDC) has identified over recent years that recreational and road traffic related emissions are detrimentally affecting the Ashdown Forest Special Area of Conservation (SAC). This was reflected in WDC’s adopted Core Strategy Local Plan in 2013 which committed to assess all development that may increase nitrogen deposition in the SAC and that where this impact was determined to be significant, and in the absence of any identified mitigation measures, planning permission must be withheld. There was also a commitment to carry our further monitoring and research into the effects of nitrogen deposition in the Ashdown Forest SAC.
Prior to releasing the consultation document for the emerging Wealdon Local Plan, in March 2017, WDC issued a letter stating that the studies identified that the impacts of nitrogen deposition from road vehicle emissions are significant in the immediate vicinity of roads through the SAC. The studies showed high deposition levels and consequential ecological damage recorded. At the time of writing this technical statement, WDC was in the position of agreeing mitigation / compensatory measures for developments that could adversely affect the SAC before publishing the Local Plan document. The interim position is that any development should not cause any further vehicle emissions along roads in the SAC. This clearly could have a big impact on any proposed developments in the area. A further update on this position is expected this month.