A96 Corridor Green Network

This is the first area of the Green Network to be mapped and runs from Inverness to Nairn. This has been done to coincide with the work on the Highland wide Local Development Plan. You can find out when other areas of the Green Network will be mapped by clicking here.

There are four priorities for the A96 corridor (click each link to find out more):

Priority 1 – Realise the potential of the Inverness – Nairn Coastal Trail, as well as a Landward Trail, north-south connections between the trails and a tourist trail.

Priority 2 - Maintain and improve green network connections between habitats in areas for proposed development.

Priority 3 - Identify positive land uses for important undeveloped wedges providing a setting and framework for settlements, and maintaining separation of existing settlements.

Priority 4 - Ensure a positive contribution  to the further development of the green network and high quality local greenspace.

Priority 1 - Realise the potential of the Inverness – Nairn Coastal Trail, as well as a Landward Trail, north-south connections between the trails and a tourist trail.

A long term aspiration of The Highland Council has been to connect Inverness and Nairn with a Coastal Trail. The development of the A96 Corridor is the perfect opportunity to develop this important strategic Link. Once developed it would form a key part of the A96 Corridor Green Network and provide a model for providing coastal trails in other areas of Highland. The success of a Coastal Trail would be closely linked to provision of other trails in the area including a “Landward Trail”, links between the landward and coastal trails and a “Tourist Trail”.

This project has the aim to connect our green places for leisure and recreation while giving people the opportunity to come into connect with the natural, built and cultural heritage of the area. It is about paths and trails that let us explore where we live, work or visit; that connect our communities, work and play spaces and where we can move about on foot or bike travelling, exploring and enjoying ourselves.

You can read how we aim to make this happen by clicking here for an extract from the Green Networks: Interim Supplementary Guidance.

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Priority 2 - Maintain and improve green network connections between habitats in areas for proposed development.

In areas where new developments are proposed they should be masterplanned taking due consideration of the habitats in the areas, the green network should be one of the first considerations when looking to develop a site. The green network can help a development fit within its landscape.

There are a number of key habitats and habitat networks in the area – soon you will be able to view an interactive map of these.

When masterplanning sites, habitats such as this can be easier to integrate into the development as they are easy to identify and while their extent does move over time this movement in extent is slow.

A number of protected species are widespread throughout the area, including great crested newt, badger, otter and bat species.  All protected species should be considered when masterplanning a site.  The NBN Gateway http://data.nbn.org.uk/  is a useful source of species records.  Further information about protected species including survey methodologies is available on the SNH website. The Council has produced additional guidance on the planning issues related to badgers in the Badger Policy Guidance Note which is available online on the Development Briefs and Framework Plans page.

One particular priority is for fatalities of protected species on roads e.g. badgers, red squirrels, otters to be mitigated by the incorporation of specially-designed tunnels, ducts or bridges into roads projects to allow for the presence and movement of such species.

We are in the process of producing information sheets with SNH on how these mitigation measures can be brought forward.

To ensure this priority is delivered, developer requirements will be written into the appropriate plan or planning decisions to ensure these habitats and species are protected when masterplanning the site. It is important to bear in mind that even if there are no protected species on site, the site may be part of a network for that species.

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Priority 3 - Identify positive land uses for important undeveloped wedges providing a setting and framework for settlements, and maintaining separation of existing settlements.

There are areas across the corridor which should be safeguarded from development. These areas can form part of important natural, built and cultural heritage features or can play an important role in the landscape of the area. In the area local development plans we will identify these areas as being key to the setting of a settlement. Subject to landowner agreement, we may also allocate areas of open countryside on the edge of settlements as amenity areas for informal recreation, giving people greater opportunity to come into contact with the natural environment. You can view our timescales for producing the area Local Development Plans in our Development Plan Scheme.

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Priority 4 - Ensure a positive contribution to the further development of the green network and high quality local greenspace.

The green network in the area can make a significant difference to property prices, improve health and wellbeing and make areas more attractive to live in. To ensure that these benefits are maximised it is important to consider the development of the green network as early as possible in the masterplanning process. To facilitate this early and effective pre-application advice can identify the key elements of the green network which are relevant to a proposed development.

We recommend that all developers consult with the Council as early as possible to consider how a development in this area can meet the aims of the green network and actively contribute towards its consolidation. One of the most effective ways of doing this is through the Council’s Pre-Application Advice Service, further information can be found at by clicking here.

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