For free advice call 02380 261065

News from Ecosa

Bringing you all the latest in ecological matters and news from the ECOSA team, we will keep you updated on relevant events and inform of any legislation changes that may affect your project. You can also keep up with us on the go at LinkedIn

Extensive development zone deemed to affect New Forest SPA

15 October 2014

Research has shown that 75% of visitors to the New Forest National Park are travelling from within about 14km of the park boundary. Additional housing within this newly defined buffer zone must be assumed to put additional recreational pressure on the New Forest.

Test Valley Borough Council has set out its intentions with regard to their legal obligations to protect the New Forest Special Protection Area (SPA) under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (as amended). They will ensure appropriate mitigation is in place for any net gain in dwellings within the buffer zone by requiring mitigation to offset the predicted additional visits to the New Forest. Four options will be considered as appropriate permanent mitigation for such development proposals:

  • evidence that the proposal is unlikely to have a significant effect alone or in combination,
  • bespoke mitigation package with a Habitat Regulations Assessment,
  • provision of alternative natural green space for recreational use to divert visitors from the New Forest SPA, at least 8 hectares per 1000 population or
  • a contribution of £1,300 per dwelling towards off-site mitigation measures.

A financial contribution to monitoring the first three scenarios will also be required. Financial contributions and the in-perpetuity availability of any alternative green space will be secured through Section 106 agreements, or potentially the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).

Any significant residential developments outside the newly defined buffer zone can also expect a similar analysis and mitigation requirement.

The New Forest SPA has been designated for bird species including nightjar, Dartford warbler, woodlark, hen harrier, honey buzzard, wood warbler and hobby all of which are sensitive to disturbance from visitors.

The Test Valley Borough Council approach - encapsulated and mapped in the Interim Framework for New Forest SPA Mitigation - has been developed in consultation with Natural England and neighbouring authorities. It is expected that other authorities neighbouring the New Forest will bring forward similar schemes.

If you are looking to develop a site with potential to impact any designated site, we have experience in assessing ecological impacts and developing appropriate ecological mitigation including supporting Habitat Regulations Assessments by Test Valley Borough Council and other authorities. Please contact us on 02380 261065 for advice.

Note: The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations legislation has been updated. The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 came into force on 30th November 2017.

Bookmark and Share

« Back