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Submitting a Planning Application in a Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area mitigation zone

My land is within an SPA Mitigation Zone, what does that mean?

The Thames Basin Heath SPA is home to three rare species of ground nesting birds - the Dartford Warbler, Skylark and Woodlark.

In order to protect these, the Government designated the 'Thames Basin Heath' as a SPA under the EC Birds Directive. A series of mitigation zones have been established around the SPA to protect it against the impact of new development (e.g. the potential for more visitors to the heathland). 

The first zone is drawn at 5km from the SPA and the other at 7km. Parts of the Wokingham Borough lie within these zones. A map of these areas can be found on the right hand-side of this page. For a more detailed search on your property, you can use the Council's interactive mapping system.

How does being in a mitigation zone impact on my development?

If you are within a mitigation zone, you might need to make a financial contribution towards providing and maintaining suitable alternative natural greenspace (SANG) on gaining planning permission. This particularly applies to development which constitutes an increase in the (net) number of dwellings in the Borough or is within the 5km mitigation zone.

It is unlikely that you will have to contribute towards SANG if your development involves internal or external alterations that do not lead to a net increase in people living in the Borough.

If I need to make a financial contribution, how much will this be?

Please see the Council's Supplementary Planning Doument which contains information on developer contributions.

Appropriate Assessment

Any application that proposes residential development of one or more dwellings will need an Appropriate Assessment (PDF document.) This also includes applications for reserved matters and the renewal of full and outline planning permissions.

How the Council will assess planning applications within a mitigation zone?

We will follow 'Circular 06/2005: Biodiversity and Geological Conservation - Statutory Obligations and their impact within the Planning System' for determining planning applications.

Further information on the Thames Basin Heaths SPA is available on Natural England's Website.