Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (TBH SPA) (policy documents and guidance)

The Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (TBH SPA) was designated as an Special Protection Area (SPA) on 9 March 2005. The SPA comprises an area of lowland heath and woodland and is a habitat protected under UK and European law supporting a characteristic landscape and distinctive flora and fauna under threat and in decline.

The SPA extends over 11 local planning authorities in Surrey, Berkshire and Hampshire and comprises a network of 13 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) of predominantly lowland heathland and woodland. The TBH SPA is designated because of the presence of breeding populations of three bird species:

  • Dartford Warblers;
  • Woodlarks; and
  • Nightjars.

These birds nest on or near the ground and as a result they are very susceptible to predation of adults, chicks and eggs (particularly by cats, rats and crows) and to disturbance from informal recreational use, especially walking cycling and dog walking. It is considered the growth in the population directly brought about by additional housing development has an impact on these types of activities.

From 1 April 2007, a contribution has been required from developers who wish to build additional properties within the zone of influence of TBH SPA (the zone of influence is a 5km straight line distance from the SPA). Specifically, since 1 May 2010, a contribution of £2,630 per net additional dwelling has been required. This money goes towards mitigation of recreational impacts from new residents on the SPA.

  • £2,000 of the collected money goes towards the establishment, improvement, maintenance and upkeep of SANGS (Suitable Alternative Natural Green Spaces) within the Borough.
  • The remaining £630 per additional dwelling goes towards access management of the SPA and towards monitoring this and the effectiveness of SANGS.

More information about the Borough's SANGS can be found at the following webpage:  Natural Environment (policy documents and guidance)

To confirm whether or not the development in question falls within the TBH SPA and is liable for this charge, please use Maps.

Applications for planning permission for residential development within the SPA zone of influence should be submitted in the normal way. Here is Supplementary Planning Guidance on this topic: Icon for pdf Thames Basin Heath Special Protection Area (TBH SPA) Planning Guidance 2009 [750.2KB].

This document acts as a material consideration in determining the planning application. It:

  • sets out what contribution to SANGS will be required; and
  • provides a template unilateral obligation which should be completed and signed by the developer and then submitted with any planning application for additional residential units in this area.

The Thames Basin Heaths Joint Strategic Partnership Board (JSPB) has been established to agree the long-term protection of the SPA. The Joint Strategic Partnership delivery framework can be found here:  Icon for pdf Thames Basin Heath Special Protection Area Delivery Framework (February 2009) [601.58KB]

This delivery framework sets out the Thames Basin Heaths Joint Strategic Partnership Board's  recommendations on measures to enable the delivery of dwellings in the vicinity of the SPA - without having a significant effect on the SPA as a whole. It focuses on avoiding the impact of recreation and urbanisation on the SPA habitat and features of interest.

The Council's S106 Proforma for the TBH SPA and SAMM can be found under Planning Obligations (policy documents and guidance).

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