The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.
M25 junction 10/A3 Wisley interchange improvement
Received 06 September 2019
From The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
“The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (the RSPB) has a long-standing involvement in the protection of lowland heathland and its key bird species (Dartford warbler, nightjar, and woodlark) in the south of England. This has included involvement in development cases around the area that was designated as the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (the SPA) in 2005. Since the designation of the SPA the RSPB has had extensive involvement in the establishment of the Thames Basin Heaths Delivery Framework and Strategic Access Management and Monitoring Scheme, which were designed and implemented to ensure the effective protection of the SPA from the impacts of housing development. The RSPB’s primary concern with the M25 junction 10/A3 Wisley interchange scheme (the scheme) is with its potential impacts on the SPA. As proposed, the scheme involves a direct land take from the SPA of 5.9 ha permanently and 8.6 ha temporarily. During the pre-application phase, the RSPB has been involved in detailed constructive discussions with Highways England and its consultants to ensure that the impact upon the SPA arising from the scheme is minimised. As a consequence of these discussions modifications to the scheme mean that the land take has been reduced. The RSPB continues to discuss the package of compensation measures proposed by Highways England to ensure that it will fully address the adverse effects of this scheme. To be effective it is essential that there can be confidence in both the ecological effectiveness and the legal and financial security of delivery of the compensation measures as well as their long-term maintenance to ensure that they continue to function in perpetuity. The RSPB is carefully considering the draft Development Consent Order, the Habitats Regulations Assessment, the Outline Construction Environmental Management Plan (the Outline CEMP) and other scheme documents to ensure that these provide the certainty that we seek. The RSPB notes that various of the scheme documents (e.g. the Outline CEMP) are described as ‘living’ documents that will develop during the course of the Examination. Consequently, we wish to have the opportunity to scrutinise these documents as they develop to ensure that at the end of the Examination that the final compensation package gives us the necessary confidence that it will be ecologically, legally and financially effective. This will ensure the overall coherence of the Natura 2000 network is protected and reflect the requirements of The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended) (the Habitats Regulations). In addition to the compensation measures, the RSPB has also been in discussion with Highways England over its proposed package of enhancement measures, set out in various scheme documents. The RSPB will also with to scrutinise these measures during the Examination to ensure that we have confidence in the ecological, legal and financial effectiveness of the final package of enhancement measures. In addition to the package of enhancement and compensation measures submitted to the Examination the RSPB may wish to comment upon the arguments being advanced by Highways England to justify this damaging development under Regulation 64 of the Habitats Regulations.”