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Essex Coast Recreational disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy

This strategy sets out a long-term strategic approach to lessen the impact of local housing development on protected birds along the Essex coast.

The Essex coastline is home to many breeding and non-breeding birds and their habitats. These habitat sites are of international importance and are protected by law, by the UK Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 and through the European Commission (EC) Birds Directive and EC Habitats Directive. The coast is also a major destination for recreational use such as walking, sailing, bird-watching, jet skiing, dog walking and fishing, including bait-digging. Evidence suggests that the majority of this activity is undertaken by people who live in Essex.

About the Essex Coast RAMS SPD 

The Essex Coast RAMS SPD (PDF) [954KB] (SPD) focuses on the mitigation that is necessary to protect the birds of the Essex coast and their habitats from the increased visitor pressure associated with new residential development in-combination with other plans and projects, and how we will fund this mitigation.

The document accompanies the strategic approach to mitigation which is set out in the Essex Coast Recreational disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy (RAMS). The RAMS provides a mechanism for Local Planning Authorities to comply with their responsibilities to protect habitats and species in accordance with the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.

The SPD provides detailed information on:

  • the types of development covered
  • what the applicant needs to do
  • how much developers will need to contribute for strategic mitigation
  • the habitat sites and their zones of influence
  • how we will fund the mitigation measures

For further information about the project, you can also visit Bird Aware Essex Coast.

The Zone of Influence of the bird habitat sites

In Uttlesford, parts of the parishes of Felsted, Stebbing, Barnston and High Easter are in the Zone of Influence (ZoI) of the Blackwater Estuary SPA and Ramsar and Essex Estuaries SAC. The ZoI can be found outlined in red on the snapshot map and can also be seen on the Uttlesford constraints map (opens new window).

Using the Constraints map

On the 'layer list' of the Uttlesford Constraints map tick the box to highlight 'Essex Coast RAMS Tariff - Zone of Influence'. A red line will appear on the map. This shows the boundary of the ZoI in the district. You can also enter an address of postcode to locate a particular site.

Essex Coast RAMS tariff

Additional housing in the area is likely to increase the level of disturbance because of the additional visitor pressure on coastal sites. A payment for each net additional dwelling created in Uttlesford and neighbouring Council areas will fund the measures set out in the Essex Coast RAMS. This is the fairest way to ensure that the impacts of housing growth and related visitor pressure along the coastline are taken into account.

The current charge (as of 1 April 2024) is £163.86 per new dwelling. This is updated each year in line with the Retail Price Index, with any increase coming into force on 1 April each year.

The payment must be secured with all applications that would result in a net increase in housing in the district. It applies to all full applications, outline applications, hybrid applications, prior approvals and permitted development. Reserved matters applications will be considered on an individual basis. Applications for outline planning permission should state a maximum number of dwelling units. It should be noted that no exemptions can apply.

Some housing schemes, particularly those located close to a designated habitats sites boundary and large scale development, may need to provide extra mitigation measures. The local planning authority, with advice from Natural England, will consider the mitigation requirements for such development proposals on a case-by-case basis.

Applications where RAMS applies will be refused if a RAMS mitigation payment has not been paid or secured as part of a legal agreement.

How the Essex Coast RAMS Tariff can be paid

We will collect the money via planning obligations that we secure using:

Payment of the tariff is required on commencement of the work.

Alternatively, you can make the payment as part of a Section 106 legal agreement (under Section 106 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) stating you will pay the tariff as part of the planning application process. You will need to pay the tariff when you start the work.

You can also provide mitigation yourself but you will need to show the council and Natural England that your proposed measures will fully safeguard the habitat from the impact of your development.

Making your payment

For planning applications up to 9 dwellings, applicants can pay by card or over the phone. Applications for 10 or more dwellings will require a Unilateral Undertaking or Section 106 Agreement.

Pay by card over the telephone

Payments can be made by debit or credit card over the phone.

If you would like to pay by card, please email with the following details:

  • make the subject title 'Essex Coast RAMS payment'
  • provide a daytime telephone number
  • include the planning application reference number (this will take the form of UTT/date/4 digit number/code) for example, UTT/21/1234/FUL

A member of our Customer Services team will then telephone you to make the payment.

Pay electronically by BACS

Please make the payment to Barclays Bank and use RAMS followed by your planning application number as reference. The account details are:

  • Uttlesford District Council General Account
  • Sort code: 20-74-21
  • Account number: 30999520

For reference, please use 'RAMS' followed by your unique planning application number.

For example, for planning application UTT/21/1234/FUL, please enter 'RAMS UTT/21/1234/FUL'

If you are unable to enter a forward slash, then, please enter 'RAMS UTT211234FUL'

Supporting information

The Essex Coast RAMS SPD was adopted by Uttlesford District Council's Cabinet on 9 September 2020 following a consultation which ran between Friday 10 January 2020 and Friday 21 February 2020.  The 'You said we did' feedback report [20.12MB] shows who we consulted and how. It also summarises the main issues raised and lists the amendments we made.

We assessed whether the SPD required a Strategic Environmental Assessment or Habitats Regulations Assessment, and set out the findings in a report. 

On 10 September 2020 we issued an adoption notice for the Essex Cost RAMS (PDF) [359KB] . This sets out the formal information about the SPD adoption.