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Recreational Disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy

Essex Coast Recreational disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy (RAMS) Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) is out for public consultation from 10th January 2020 until 5pm on 21st February 2020. See below for more details and how to comment. 

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.  In Castle Point we have the Benfleet and Southend and Marshes Special Protection Area (SPA) and Ramsar site, which is a wetland of international importance. 

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 LPAs in Essex, Castle Point Borough Council is preparing 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 of £122.30, which applies to all residential development within the Zone of Influence (ZoI).  The whole of Castle Point Borough is within the ZoI.  All residential proposals within the borough will be required to make a contribution towards the measures in 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.

Public consultation 10th January 2020 - 5pm 21st February 2020

The Essex Coast RAMS authorities (Basildon Borough Council; Braintree District Council; Brentwood Borough Council; Castle Point Borough Council; Chelmsford City Council; Colchester Borough Council; Maldon District Council; Rochford District Council; Southend Borough Council; Tendring District Council; Thurrock Council and Uttlesford District Council) have published the Essex Coast Recreational disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy (RAMS) Draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for a six-week period of consultation from 10th January – 5pm on 21st February 2020. The document is now subject to public consultation.

A Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) has been prepared to provide applicants and developers with guidance on how the Essex Coast RAMS affects them and their development. In particular, the SPD would provide information on what mitigation is needed and how this will be funded through the planning system.  Bird Aware Essex Coast will be one of the main methods for delivering mitigation measures.

Place Services are part of Essex County Council and are acting as consultants for the Essex coast RAMS, they will host the consultation and all responses should be directed to them. We strongly encourage comments to be made online via a specially designed response form, as this enables the quick and efficient handling of comments. This can be found via:

Alternatively, responses may be emailed to or posted to Place Services, Essex County Council, County Hall, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1QH.

If you do not have access to a computer, you can request a paper copy. A charge will be made to cover printing and postage costs.  If you have difficulties making representations by e-mail or post due to a disability, please call us on 03330 322 130.

Comments received will be published online at in accordance with the Data Protection Act and General Data Protection Regulations. Please note that copies of all comments including your name and organisation (where relevant) will be made available for the public to view, and therefore cannot be treated as confidential. If you need further information or assistance, please email or telephone 03330 322 130.

The below documents will be available to view at the Castle Point Borough Council Offices, Canvey, Great Tarpots, Hadleigh and South Benfleet libraries. 

Consultation Document: Essex Coast Recreational disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy (RAMS) draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)

Essex Coast RAMS SPD Consultation Document - January 2020.pdf [pdf] 859KB

Relevant documents:

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

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

Essex Coast RAMS SPD Consultation Statement.pdf [pdf] 126KB

Essex Coast RAMS SPD Statement of Representations.pdf [pdf] 151KB