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Habitat Mitigation: Recreational impacts
The Norfolk wide Green Infrastructure and Recreational Impact Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy (GIRAMS) is a strategy agreed between the Norfolk planning authorities and Natural England.
The Strategy enables growth in the District by implementing the required mitigation to address adverse effects on the integrity of Habitats Sites arising from recreational disturbance caused by an increased level of recreational use on internationally designated Habitat Sites, particularly European sites, through growth from all qualifying development.
The GIRAM Strategy is a strategic approach to ensure no adverse effects are caused to European sites across Norfolk, either alone or in-combination from qualifying developments. Taking a coordinated approach to mitigation has benefits and efficiencies and ensures that developers and the Local Planning Authorities (LPA) meet with the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended).
Location of the protected sites
In and around North Norfolk, such sites can be in the administrative boundaries or partially within easily accessible distances (20km) and include:
- North Norfolk Coast Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protection Area (SPA)
- The Wash and North Norfolk Coast SAC and European Marine Site
- Overstrand Cliffs SAC
- Winterton Horsey Dunes SAC
- The Norfolk Valley Fens SAC
- The River Wensum SAC (one of the best examples of a chalk river in the country)
- The Broads and Broadland SAC and SPA
- Roydon Common and Dersingham Bog SAC
- Greater Wash SPA
- Breckland SAC
- The Broads SA
- Paston Great Barn SAC
- Haisborough, Hammond and Winterton SAC
- Inner Dowsing, Race Bank and North Ridge SAC
We will fund the mitigation measures using payments from developers. The strategy applies a single tariff covering the District and all partner LPA's to qualifying development. Individual sites' zone of influence (ZOI) also exists and is used in relation to the geographical position of qualifying development to help inform the proportion of spend and direct appropriate strategic mitigation. The ZOI is plotted on the council's constraints layers. Natural England has committed to updating its Impact Risk Zones on the MAGIC map website with the required information.
Increased recreation without mitigation is likely to affect the integrity of these Habitat Sites across Norfolk. It would result in the significant features of the sites being degraded or lost, and these internationally important areas losing significant important areas for birds, plants and wildlife generally and, therefore, their designations.
All new net residential and tourism development are required to mitigate the effects of the development and show how this will be achieved before approval of planning permission.
In addition, the strategy for sites comprising of more than 50 dwellings and in more sensitive locations, a bespoke approach including payment of the tariff and demonstration of on-site/off-site mitigation measures may be required in line with the GIRAMS. The Norfolk GIRAMS Habitat Regulation Assessment (HRA) Record provides guidance, agreed with Natural England and will be used as the basis for undertaking the Appropriate Assessment.
The tariff applies to all net new residential and tourism-related growth, including:
- market and affordable housing
- student accommodation
Also, residential and tourist-related caravans, including:
- mobile homes
- park homes
- tents and modern variations
- gypsies or travellers pitches and plots
- Specialist elderly accommodation that provides complete residential dwelling but excluded specialist bed units such as nursing homes.
How to pay
If a contribution towards GIRAMS is required, it can be paid upfront by a Section 111 form or where a Section 106 Agreement is required for planning permission, the payment can be included with other obligations. Planning permission will be subject to payment before commencement and notification of commencement clauses.
The tariff is collectively set as of 1 April 2023 at £210.84 per net new residential and tourism accommodation dwelling and is index linked. Tourist accommodation is on a ratio of a six bed-space to one dwelling of the tariff and student accommodation on a ratio of 2.5:1. Further advice and calculation can be obtained through pre-application advice.
Pay by BACS using reference RAMS and your planning application reference number.
Account name: North Norfolk District Council
Sort code: 20-62-61
Account number: 70294845
Payment reference: RAMS plus your planning application reference number
Make the cheque payable to North Norfolk District Council writing RAMS and your planning reference number on the reverse of the cheque.
North Norfolk District Council Offices
The authority will return the contribution to the payee on written application to the authority if either of the following occurs:
- Planning permission is refused, and six months have elapsed from the decision date without a planning appeal.
- The development has not started, and the planning permission is no longer capable of being implemented.
- Any planning appeal submitted in respect of the development has been dismissed.
You can get further information through pre-application advice.
The document library contains the full GIRAMS and evidence base within the Evidence base - Environment section.