Policy P5: Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area

Permission will not be granted for development proposals unless it can be demonstrated that doing so would not give rise to adverse effects on the ecological integrity of the Thames Basin Heaths
Special Protection Area (SPA), whether alone or in combination with other development. Where one or more adverse effects on the SPA are likely, measures to avoid and mitigate these effects must be delivered and secured in perpetuity. These measures must be agreed with Natural England.

The following principles apply:
  • There is an “exclusion zone” set at 400m linear distance from the SPA boundary. Permission will not be granted for development that results in a net increase in residential units within this zone. Proposals for other types of development within this zone must undertake Appropriate Assessment to demonstrate that they will not harm the integrity of the SPA.
  • There is a “zone of influence” between 400m and 5km linear distance from the SPA boundary. Where net new residential development is proposed within the zone of influence, mitigation measures must be delivered prior to occupation of new dwellings and in perpetuity. Measures must be based on a combination of Strategic Access Management and Monitoring (SAMM) and the provision, improvement and/or maintenance of Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG).
  • Residential development of at least 50 net new dwellings that falls between five and seven kilometres from the SPA may be required to provide mitigation measures. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and agreed with Natural England.


The following principles apply to the provision of SANG.

  • A minimum of 8 hectares of SANG land (after discounting to account for current access and capacity) should be provided per 1,000 new occupants.
  • Developments must fall within the catchment of the SANG that provides mitigation, except developments of fewer than 10 net new residential units.
  • The Council will collect developer contributions towards mitigation measures, including SANG (unless bespoke SANG mitigation is provided) and SAMM.
  • Developments may secure or provide bespoke SANG. Proposals for new SANGs will not be acceptable unless approved by Natural England. Large developments may be required to provide bespoke SANG mitigation.

Where further evidence demonstrates that the integrity of the SPA can be protected using different linear thresholds or with alternative mitigation measures (including standards of SANG provision different to those set out in this policy) these must be agreed with Natural England.

Response: Object 

This policy is weak. The mitigation (cash compensation) offered for development in the special protection area is so small and negligible as to be meaningless. SANG (Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace) is not beneficial; the sites identified or targeted are already green space. To create SANG is just using agricultural or wooded land as recreation land in order to justify building on other green spaces. There is no actual increase in environmental protection; it is a policy designed to permit building on otherwise protected areas. SANG – in part used to prevent dogs and cats attacking nesting birds - must ensure that it is not using land which is adjacent to the special protection areas.

Sunday the 28th - Published by Normandy Action Group, 166 Glaziers Lane, Guildford GU3 2EB - with thanks to Keith Witham, Surrey County Councillor - Hostgator Coupon Template