Thames Basin Heaths Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)
The Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (SPA) is a series of nationally protected heathland habitats stretching across parts of Berkshire, Hampshire and Surrey and are home to a number of protected species including ground nesting bird species. Since 2005 it has been established that increased recreational pressure on the SPA was having a harmful effect on the integrity of the SPA, primarily arising from new residential developments.
In order to protect the heathland habitat and the protected bird species, Runnymede along with other local authorities in Berkshire, Hampshire and Surrey as well as Natural England have agreed a set of avoidance and mitigation measures which allows residential development to continue to come forward. The avoidance and mitigation is in the form of Suitable Accessible Natural Greenspace (SANG) as alternative areas for recreation and the Strategic Access Management & Monitoring (SAMM) project.
The Runnymede Thames Basin Heaths SPD sets out the Council's approach to the measures required to avoid/mitigate impacts to the SPA including how SANG can be delivered, financial contributions required towards the SAMM project and strategic SANG in the borough as well as establishing SANG catchment areas and replaces the Thames Basin Heaths SPG adopted in 2009. One of the main changes from the 2009 SPG is to move Runnymede in line with the other Thames Basin Heaths authorities by calculating SANG and SAMM contributions by occupancy rather than by number of dwellings.
The Thames Basin Heaths SPA SPD was adopted by the Council on the 14th April 2015 and came into force on the 15th April 2015. A copy of the adopted SPD, Adoption Statement, Regulation 12 Consultation Statement, Inspection Procedure as well as the screening determinations for Strategic Environmental Assessment/Habitats Regulations Assessment and Equalities Impact can be viewed below.
The Council has made available a SANG/SAMM contributions calculator which applicants can use to convert dwellings into occupants and calculate their SANG and SAMM contributions. The calculator is available on the Council's Planning obligations webpage along with a template pro-forma Unilateral Undertaking.
For further information please see the Thames Basin Heaths, SANG and Planning obligations webpages.