East of England set to delay region plan

The East of England Plan could be further delayed due to ongoing work to assess its impact on protected habitats, Planning can reveal.

The Government Office for the East of England (GO East) confirmed that an announcement on work being done in line with the EU habitats directive will be made within a couple of weeks.

The plan's summer publication was originally postponed to allow more time to assess the impact on habitats (Planning, 29 June, p3).

GO East commissioned RPS to carry out a further review of the regional spatial strategy (RSS) to ensure compliance with the directive. At the time, GO East said it might need to reconsult after considering RPS's findings.

A GO East spokeswoman explained that there would be an announcement on the outcome of the habitats work and the final plan may be further delayed.

Meanwhile, campaigners against plans for major development at Harlow proposed in the RSS argued that a study on water and sewage capacity is still outstanding.

The Stop Harlow North group claimed that a water cycle study looking at investment needed to support an further 30,000 homes in the area has not yet begun.

The Environment Agency has completed a scoping report and agreed that the study is needed. But funding arrangements for the study are yet to be finalised.

East of England Regional Assembly head of planning Adrian Cannard said a bid for growth area funding had been made. The study could cost £150,000, he added.

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