The University has carried out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of its campus development proposals in accordance with UK and European legislation.
There are no nationally designated conservation sites on or near the campus, but there are several “local designations” and a network of wildlife corridors, which would be disrupted or affected to some degree by the proposed development. Ecological mitigation measures will form part of the landscape strategy – such as hedgerow retention and enhancement, a wildlife-sensitive management approach and the adoption of sustainable drainage features.
Development south of Gibbet Hill Road will further erode the openness of the countryside, although this will not directly impact on the Arden Parklands landscape. In fact, the landscape strategy incorporates many of the management guidelines recommended for this character type.
The visual impact of further development will be minimal from the majority of surrounding rural areas. The campus will be screened by Whitefields Coppice and other local woodlands, and views from residential areas will be limited. From key vantage points, the new development would be viewed against a backdrop of existing University buildings. No new development would exceed the current ridgeline of the main campus. The density of development proposed would be consistent with the existing campus and would provide opportunities to raise the visual quality of the wider estate.
Air quality impacts may be generated by construction dust emissions (although these can be managed), additional traffic (although pollutant levels are predicted to be within national and EU limits), and the proposed biomass CHP plant (which would generate some emissions but again within air quality objective levels).
There will be no significant noise impacts arising from construction activities or road traffic, and permanent plant should not compromise the noise environment of surrounding residential areas.
Construction activities are not expected to impact on water resources, either through loss of water bodies or culverting of watercourses. The provision of sustainable drainage features may actually enhance the range of aquatic habitats. Future operation of the campus is unlikely to introduce polluting activities to threaten the water environment. A Flood Risk Assessment has been carried out.
Ground conditions, which relate largely to previous agricultural activity only, suggest that there are unlikely to be any risks of contamination but suitable measures would be taken to minimise risks during future construction activities.
As a result of the forecast electricity demand arising from the Masterplan proposals, a biomass CHP plant is included in the Masterplan which would also supply the district heating network at the University. This would reduce energy demand and increase efficiency. Water supply and foul drainage demands could also be met with appropriate new service provision.
The campus contains a number of sites of archaeological interest, mostly preserved by historic development, but there will need to be a watching brief particularly on the Westwood campus and Central Campus West where sub-surface disturbance is planned.
A socio-economic impact assessment shows that the University’s growth will be positive and significant at the local and regional levels with additional net employment of 2,000 jobs in Coventry and Warwick local authority areas and up to 3,400 in the West Midlands. The University will increase its educational, enterprise and innovation, business tourism, inward investment and community development initiatives to maximise the potential benefits of expansion.