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In line with social distancing advice and to protect residents and staff the Council has taken the decision to close the Council offices to the public until further notice.

Whilst the offices are closed to visitors, you are still able to access services and information from this website 24/7.

Information and advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) and how to access Council Services during this period can be found on our Coronavirus information page

You are invited to view and contribute to the The Mayor's Covid Record of Reflection

Essex move to Covid Tier 2 High: Message from Leader of the Council

Recreational Disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy


Under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (commonly referred to as the Habitat Regulations) a Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA) is required for land use plans and for planning applications, which are likely to have significant effects on a Habitat Site. 

Habitat Sites are protected at the highest level and are of international importance.  They are designated through the EU Birds Directive and EU Habitats Directive, and these Directives are transposed into UK law.  The Benfleet and Southend and Marshes Special Protection Area (SPA) and Ramsar site, which is a wetland of international importance falls within the Castle Point boundary.

Population growth in Essex is likely to significantly affect Habitat Sites through increased recreational disturbance in-combination with other Local Plans.  Consequently, in partnership with Natural England, the governments advisor on the natural environment, and other local authorities in Essex, Castle Point Borough Council has prepared a Recreational disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy (RAMS) for the Essex Coast. 

The RAMS identifies necessary measures to avoid and mitigate likely significant effects from recreational disturbance in-combination with other plans and projects.  The RAMS sets out a tariff, which applies to all net new residential development within the Zone of Influence (ZoI), for the year 2020/21 the tariff is set at £125.25 per net new dwelling.  The whole of Castle Point Borough is within the ZoI, therefore, all residential proposals within the borough will be required to make a contribution towards the RAMS to avoid and mitigate adverse effects from increased recreational disturbance to ensure that Habitat Sites are not adversely affected and the proposal complies with the Habitat Regulations.

Proposals for 100 dwellings or more will also require a shadow appropriate assessment to be submitted with the application, which assesses likely significant effects alone.  This should clearly show how necessary avoidance measures are incorporated into the proposal.  Payment of the RAMS tariff will address in-combination effects. 

The alternative to paying the tariff is for applicants to submit a shadow appropriate assessment report, which includes details of bespoke avoidance and mitigation measures.  This shadow appropriate assessment report must be prepared by a reasonably qualified person in support of the application and Natural England will need to be consulted.

The RAMS Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) was consulted on 10 January 2020 – 21 February 2020. A revised version of the RAMS SPD and details from the consultation can be found below. The RAMS SPD was formally adopted by Cabinet on 16 September 2020 and will be ratified by Council in November 2020.

Further details of Council meetings can be found in the Agendas and Minutes library. 

Relevant documents:

Essex Coast RAMS Strategy - July 2019.pdf [pdf] 7MB

Essex Coast RAMS Supplementary Planning Document May 2020.pdf [pdf] 1MB

Essex Coast RAMS SPD SEA & HRA Screening Report - January 2020.pdf [pdf] 517KB

Essex Coast RAMS You Said We Did Feedback Report April 2020.pdf [pdf] 2MB