Environmental (Local Plan)

A number of studies relating to the environment, climate change and carbon reduction have been prepared.  These are part of the evidence for the preparation of Local Plan, to inform the decision making process on planning applications, and to inform the preparation of other Council plans and strategies.

Climate Change

Climate change is happening and is due to human activity, this includes global warming and greater risk of flooding, droughts and heat waves. The UKCIP02 climate change scenarios were derived from a series of climate modelling experiments commissioned and funded by Defra, undertaken by the Hadley Centre and analysed by the Tyndall Centre.   They are not probabilistic like the later UKCP09  scenarios, but were based on four different emissions scenarios over three time periods. The ‘Initial Assessment of UKCIP02 Climate Change scenario data for the Sefton area, Merseyside’ was compiled in January 2009.

On 25 November 2009, Cabinet approved a coordinated response to Climate Change
Report to Cabinet 25 November 2009: 209 - The Development of Low Carbon Economy in response to Climate Change 

A further report to Cabinet on 25 August 2010 focussed on Developing the Low Carbon Economy

More recent Sefton initiatives or strategies which are related to climate change adaption or mitigation include the Sustainable Energy Action Plan (Covenant of Mayors)
Carbon Management Plan
and flood risk and coastal defence plans or strategies. 

Other Environmental Studies (above) also relate to climate change, for example the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment and Green Space Strategy for Sefton.  



Sites of Local Biological Interest (Local Wildlife Sites)

Local Wildlife Sites are sites of significant nature conservation value. Unlike nationally or internationally designated sites such as those on the Sefton Coast, they are not protected by law.  Instead, Local Wildlife Sites are protected through the planning system; through local plans and the National Planning Policy Framework.

The Sefton Unitary Development Plan (2006) identified all Local Wildlife Sites, together with nationally designated nature sites and internationally designated nature sites, and designated them as Sites of Local Biological Interest (SLBIs). The Unitary Development Plan sets out policy for the protection and enhancement of these sites. There are 57 Sites of Local Biological Interest in Sefton.

The emerging Local Plan aims to continue to protect Sefton’s Local Wildlife Sites.

The government produced guidance on the identification of Local Wildlife Sites in 2006.  Each of Sefton’s Local Wildlife Sites has what is known as ‘a citation'. This sets out the reasons for its designation. Copies of citations can be obtained from Merseyside Biobank.

The designations and citations are based on a wide range of information collected between from 1981 to 2003. The information in the 2012 Ecological Survey update forms part of this data. The existing citations remain valid.This survey covers only seven of Sefton’s 57 Sites of Local Biological Interest, and one other site.  

The Sefton Unitary Development Plan (2006) also designates 12 Local Geological Sites (as Sites of Local Geological Interest), and sets out policy to protect and enhance them. The emerging Local Plan aims to continue to protect Sefton’s Local Geological Sites. These sites are selected at a local level, according to nationally agreed criteria.

The Green Space Strategy for Sefton is a corporate document which sets out the vision, aims, objectives and an Action Plan for public green space in Sefton. The aims relate to quality, community and health, climate change, wildlife and partnership. The strategy sets out targets relating to the quantity, quality and accessibility of green space in Sefton; as amended by the targets set out in the Open Space and Recreation Study (2015). Figure 9.1 of the Open Space and Recreation Study (2015) replaces the table on page 15 of this Strategy  2008, for development management purposes.

The Green Space Strategy together with other more detailed strategies (PDF icon, 87Kb), helps to determine Sefton’s priorities for green space. 

Green Space Strategy (printed version) (pdf 2.58MB)
Green Space Strategy background papers (pdf 215KB)
Equalities Impact Assessment of the Green Space Strategy (pdf 32KB)

The Local Plan must be subject to a Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) to assess its potential effects on internationally important nature sites; in line with the Habitats Regulations 2010 (as amended).  These internationally important nature sites are Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protection Areas, and Ramsar sites, and sites and habitats outside the designated boundaries that support species listed as being important in the designations of the internationally important sites (i.e. supporting habitat).  

A Habitats Regulations Assessment of the Submission Draft of the Local Plan was published in January 2015.

A subsequent Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) was carried out in May 2016 for Proposed Modifications to the Local Plan.

Because the 2015 Habitats Regulations Assessment concluded there would be no adverse effects on the integrity of internationally important nature sites, the 2016 HRA of the Proposed Modifications to the Local Plan only needed to assess the Proposed Modifications and did not need to re-examine the whole Local Plan.

The 2016 Habitats Regulations Assessment report for the Proposed Modifications to the Local Plan can be seen below:

May 2016 HRA Of Mods To Local Plan (pdf 1.32MB)

The 2015 Habitat Regulations Assessment report for the Submission Draft Local Plan can be seen below:

Jan 2015 HRA Of Submission Local Plan (pdf 1.93MB)
Figure 1 European Designated Sites (pdf 2.43MB)
Figure 2 Local Plan Allocations And European Designated Sites (pdf 3.13MB)
Sefton HRA Local Plan Non-Technical Summary (pdf 65KB)

In June 2014 Ryder Landscape Consultants was commissioned by the Council to undertake a Landscape Assessment of a number of potential development sites as part of its Local Plan. The Council required an assessment of the impacts of potential new development in the Green Belt on the landscape character, historic landscape character and visual amenity (i.e. views).

This assessment [below] provides valuable information which will help to inform the choice of potential sites for release from the Green Belt in the emerging Local Plan.

Main Report (pdf 1.78MB)
Site Assessments [part 1] (pdf 6.61MB)
Site Assessments [part 2] (pdf 6.55MB)
Site Assessments [part 3] (pdf 7.2MB)
Site Assessments [part 4] (pdf 6.52MB)
Site Assessments [part 5] (pdf 7.03MB)
Site Assessments [part 6] (pdf 7.9MB)

The Liverpool City Region (LCR) Ecological Network is an evidence base which comprises ecological and biodiversity information on the City Region’s natural assets. Its purposes are to identify opportunities for better protection and management of those natural assets, and to describes opportunities to create new natural assets.

The document provides a detailed assessment of all pertinent sources of flood risk on sites allocated through the Submission Draft Local Plan. The assessment provides a comprehensive review of all types of flood risk for all allocated sites in the local authority area whilst also providing advice on any further work required, in addition to assessing the suitability of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) for the allocated sites. 

Site Flood Risk Screening report: chapters 1-3 and chapter 4 up to MN2 (pdf 4.42MB)
Site Flood Risk Screening report: chapter 4 site MN2.27 onwards (pdf 4.45MB)


The 2013 Sefton Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) has been prepared in line with government guidance advice.  It assesses the risk of all types of flooding in Sefton.

The information helps the Council to make decisions about planning applications and to write Local Plan policies to manage flood risk. It also helps developers who prepare site-specific flood risk assessments.

Surface water flood risk is the main type of flood risk in Sefton, affecting many areas throughout Sefton. River and tidal flood risk is also important, notably around the River Alt and in northern Southport. Some areas are at risk of sewer or groundwater flooding, and there is a localised risk of canal or reservoir flooding.

The Environment Agency update their flood risk maps on a regular basis. These can be viewed at http://maps.environment-agency.gov.uk

SFRA – main document (pdf 2.06MB)
Figure 1: Sefton overview (pdf 1.38MB)
Figure 2: Topographical Data (pdf 1.13MB)
Figure 3: Environment Agency Fluvial Flood Zones (pdf 1.52MB)
Figure 4: Environment Agency Tidal Flood Zones (pdf 1.44MB)
Figure 5: Available Hydraulic Modelling (pdf 1.39MB)
Figure 6: Fluvial Flood Risk Extents with Defences (pdf 1.52MB)
Figure 7: Tidal Flood Risk Extents with Defences (pdf 1.5MB)
Figure 8: Flood Zone 3b (pdf 1.51MB)
Figure 9: Fluvial Flood Depths with Defences (1 in 100 annual probability plus an allowance for climate change) (pdf 1.19MB)
Figure 10: Fluvial Flood Velocity with Defences (1 in 100 annual probability plus an allowance for climate change) (pdf 1.19MB)
Figure 11a: Man-Made Flood Defences (pdf 1.55MB)
Figure 11b: Natural Flood Defences (pdf 1.4MB)
Figure 12: Surface Water Management Plan Outputs (pdf 1.84MB)
Figure 13: Local Flood Risk Zones (1 in 100 probability) (pdf 1.46MB)
Figure 14: Critical Drainage Areas (pdf 1.48MB)
Figure 15: Areas Susceptible to Surface Water Flooding (AStSWF) (pdf 1.5MB)
Figure 16: Historical Surface Water and Sewer Flooding (pdf 1.38MB)
Figure 17: Groundwater Flood Risk (pdf 1.47MB)
Figure 18: Historical Fluvial Flooding (pdf 586KB)
Figure 19: Reservoir Inundation Map (pdf 638KB)
Figure 20: Potential Canal Flood Risk (pdf 875KB)
Figure 21: Indicative Sustainable Drainage System Suitability (pdf 1.22MB)
Figure 22: Flood Warning Areas (pdf 1.47MB)
SFRA Executive Summary (pdf 59KB)
Environment Agency Standing Advice 1 June 2014 (pdf 126KB)

The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 requires a Sustainability Appraisal (SA) to be carried out on all Local Plans, to make sure that they achieve sustainable development. SA identifies and assesses the social, environmental and economic impacts of a plan, and points to changes which would increase sustainability.

The European Directive 2001/42/EC (the ‘SEA Directive’) requires a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of certain plans and strategies, including the Local Plan. While SA and SEA are distinct processes, many of their requirements overlap. Government guidance advises an integrated approach to SA and SEA, where possible.

Accordingly, Sefton has carried out an SA (including SEA) at the key stages of Local Plan preparation, and in relation to other plans and guidance.

Consultants URS were commissioned in 2014 to undertake the Sustainability Appraisal of the Sefton Local Plan Publication.

Draft Sustainability Appraisal (SA) of the Sefton Local Plan (pdf 4.67MB)
Non Technical Summary of the Local Plan Sustainability Appraisal (pdf 1MB)

Previous Stages

Local Plan Preferred Options Sustainability Appraisal July 2013 (pdf 831KB)
Local Plan Preferred Options Sustainability Appraisal Non–technical summary (pdf 725KB)
Local Plan Preferred Options Sustainability Appraisal - Appendix A (pdf 46KB)
Local Plan Preferred Options Sustainability Appraisal - Appendix B (pdf 91KB)
Local Plan Preferred Options Sustainability Appraisal - Appendix C (pdf 1.04MB)
Local Plan Preferred Options Sustainability Appraisal - Appendix D (pdf 66KB)
Local Plan Preferred Options Sustainability Appraisal - Appendix E (pdf 2.29MB)
Local Plan Preferred Options Sustainability Appraisal - Appendix F (pdf 120KB)
Local Plan Preferred Options Sustainability Appraisal - Appendix G (pdf 394KB)
Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report [2012 update] (pdf 1.94MB)
Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report [2009] (pdf 1.4MB)
Core Strategy Options Paper Sustainability Appraisal 2011 (pdf 97KB)


Last Updated on 20 September 2016