Environmental issues are an important consideration when determining planning applications.
Environmental considerations include strategies, development guidelines and land use plans related to greenspaces, derelict and contaminated land, nature conservation and biodiversity, flooding, air and water quality, green design and climate change.
Salford has a great deal of open land ranging from high grade agriculture, to key recreation areas, country parks, playing pitch complexes, allotments and small areas of informal open space.
It is important to understand how much green space we have, where it is located, how it is connected and whether it meets accepted standards. A detailed audit and assessment has been undertaken against local standards to form Salford Greenspace Strategy SPD, which was adopted in July 2006.
Consultants completed a review of the Playing Pitch Assessment and Strategy in December 2007 to identify and recommend strategic opportunities for improvement, investment and protection of Salford's play pitch facilities. Additional assessment and guidance is planned on Indoor Recreation Facilities and the Green Access Corridors that connect the largest green spaces.
The city has many nature conservation assets that it is important to protect and enhance: UK Priority Habitats and Species; Local Priority Habitats and Species; and 33 Sites of Biological Importance (which are all protected by planning policies) and a number of legally protected species. In Salford, the Mosslands have a particular importance. Additional detail and guidance is provided in the Nature Conservation and Biodiversity SPD. Greater Manchester Ecology Unit (GMEU) holds the most up to date ecological information and provides an advisory service to and on behalf of the ten local authorities in Greater Manchester.
Approximately 1800 properties across Salford are at high risk of flooding with approximately 5900 properties at medium risk of flooding. The planning process seeks to ensure that areas prone to flood risk are properly identified and that new development does not increase the risk of flooding elsewhere.
The city council has made great strides in recent years to tackle the legacy of derelict land. Tackling the problem is important in order to improve the image of Salford, to support wider regeneration, to improve citizen confidence and investment and to create safer, healthier local neighbourhoods.
A derelict land survey is completed periodically to monitor the quantity of derelict, neglected and reclaimed land. Salford is benefiting from major investment opportunities such as the North West Development Agency funded Newlands programme (New Economic Woodlands) to support large scale improvements associated with the urban fringe, community forestry and waterside regeneration.
It is vital to ensure that new development does not create pollution and plays its part in cleaning up problems from the past. The planning process is integral to this and planning officers work closely with colleagues in the Greater Manchester Geological Unit to improve air quality, reduce land and water contamination and minimise disturbance by noise.
Where development is proposed, the developer is responsible for ensuring that the land is safe and suitable for use, for the purpose for which it is intended. This includes assessing the potential for the land to be contaminated due to previous industrial activities, or natural geological conditions. Failing to deal adequately with contamination could cause harm to human health, property and the wider environment. Further information can be found on the contaminated land planning guidance page.