Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspaces (SANGs)

Ether Hill viewpoint

Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspaces (SANGs) are a group of existing open spaces that are undergoing enhancements designed to attract more visitors by providing an enjoyable natural environment for recreation as an alternative to the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (SPA).

Thames Basin Heaths SPA

The Thames Basin Heaths SPA is a network of internationally important heathland sites located in Surrey, Berkshire, and Hampshire.  These sites, such as Chobham Common National Nature Reserve, support rare ground nesting birds such as the Dartford warbler, woodlark and nightjar that are highly sensitive to visitors.

To prevent harm to the SPA, new housing developments must now contribute towards enhancements of SANGs.  Separate contributions also fund the Thames Basin Heaths Partnership which aims to educate visitors about SPAs and encourages visitors to use SANGs.  This helps to protect SPAs from being visited by too many people.

This is part of the council's avoidance and mitigation strategy called the Thames Basin Heaths SPA SPD.  For more details you can visit our Planning Obligations page.

Which sites are identified as SANGs?

The following sites owned by Runnymede Borough Council are now being enhanced as a SANG:

Together these SANGs (Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspaces) cover some 166 hectares, bursting with native plants and natural wildlife habitats.  Some have car parks, benches and bins; others have been left more natural.

There are over 70 SANGs covering the whole of the region.  You can view a comprehensive list of sites here.