12 councils mull countywide habitats planning strategy

A dozen councils are considering adopting a countywide strategy to protect designated habitats which would supplement planning policy and force developers to conform to it to secure consents, in response to pressure from Natural England.

The authorities - Castle Point, Chelmsford, Colchester, Basildon, Braintree, Brentwood, Maldon, Rochford, Southend-on-Sea, Tendring, Thurrock and Uttlesford - supported by Essex County Council and Natural England, are working together to protect the Essex coastline from the Blackwater in North Essex to the Thames Estuary. 

The majority of the coast is designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Areas (SPA) and Ramsar sites of national and international importance for bird life. The councils have a duty as competent authorities to ensure that these are protected in accordance with the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017. 

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