How to make a Regulation 77 application under the habitats regulations

What you should do if your proposed development falls under permitted development or already has prior approval

To benefit from permitted development rights, including those where prior approval is required, a development must comply with the provisions within the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015. 

It must also comply with Regulations 75 to 78 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.

What am I required to do under Regulations 75 to 78

View a copy of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.

Where a developer is, in effect, relying on a permitted right set out within Schedule 2 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 and that development:

  1. is likely to have a significant effect on a European site or a European offshore marine site (either alone or in combination with other plans or projects)


  1. is not directly connected with or necessary to the management of the site

The developer will need to receive the approval of the local planning authority under Regulation 77.

A developer can seek to contact the appropriate nature conservation body directly under Regulation 76. In most cases, the relevant nature conservation body is Natural England.

How to apply

If a developer wishes to submit an application to the local planning authority under Regulation 77, they must provide the following:

  • details of the development
  • where appropriate, a copy of any relevant notification by the relevant nature conservation body under regulation 76
  • contact details

If you already have prior approval, please include the relevant prior approval application reference and confirm that it is the prior approval scheme that is to be constructed. 

There is no formal application form to complete. Please send the above information to


The fee for a Regulation 77 application is set nationally by the government and costs £30.

How to pay

Once we receive your application, we will contact you to pay the fee. The Regulation 77 application will only be considered valid once the fee has been paid. Please ensure you provide contact details so we can arrange payment.

What happens next

Once the Regulation 77 application is deemed valid, the local planning authority will send a copy of the application to the appropriate nature conservation body, in most cases this will be Natural England.

How long does it take to process my application?

The timeframe for a Regulation 77 application is up to eight weeks, similar to a discharge of condition application. In most cases, we expect the application to be determined as soon as we have a response from the appropriate nature conservation body. 

Where mitigation is required to be secured, we will contact you to discuss and may seek your agreement for further time to determine the application.

Known issues within Norfolk which may affect your application

If your proposal involves the creation of net new dwellings or providing tourism accommodation, such as overnight accommodation, then there is a high probability that it will be identified under Regulation 77. It means that it's likely to have a significant effect on a European site alone or in combination with other plans or projects. 

There are two specific issues which may require mitigation to be secured to benefit from permitted development rights.

Recreational impacts

Joint work by the Norfolk planning authorities and Natural England have identified that residential and tourist-related development, including caravan and camping sites, contribute to increased recreational use on internationally designated Habitat Sites, particularly European sites, Habitat Mitigation: Recreational impacts (

Nutrient Neutrality

Natural England sent a letter on March 16, 2022, regarding nutrient pollution in the protected habitats of the River Wensum Special Area of Conservation, Broads Special Area of Conservation, and Ramsar site. Nutrient Neutrality (

What does mitigation look like?

Recreation impacts

The Norfolk-wide Green Infrastructure and Recreational Impact Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy (GIRAMS) agreed between the Norfolk planning authorities and Natural England is a way to manage adverse impacts on European sites. In most cases, through payment of a mitigation tariff. The tariffs collected are used towards programmes to help manage those adverse impacts. The GIRAMS mitigation tariff to be paid is dependent on the type and size of development. The mitigation tariff is designed to provide mitigation in perpetuity, approximately 80 years. 

Under the Regulation 77 application, the GIRAMS mitigation payment can be secured either via an upfront payment under Section 111 of the Local Government Act 1972 or via the completion of a S106 legal obligation to secure the appropriate mitigation payment.

Temporary holiday sites

For temporary holiday sites only, including caravan and camping sites, a GIRAMS subscription model is available. 

Nutrient Neutrality

Addressing the impact of nutrient enrichment associated with qualifying development often requires evidence from the developer that:

  • the development is found to be nutrient neutral


  • if it is not nutrient neutral, mitigation can be secured either via credits or on or off-site mitigation solutions

In the absence of appropriate evidence, the local planning authority, as competent authority under the habitats regulations, would not be able to reasonably conclude it is satisfied that there is no reasonable doubt as to the absence of adverse effects on the integrity of European sites. In other words, the local planning authority could not approve the Regulation 77 application.

What will happen if my Regulation 77 application is not approved?

If your Regulation 77 application is refused then you cannot begin your development using permitted development rights.  

Can I develop first and then apply for Regulation 77 approval later?

If the necessary approval under Regulation 77 is not secured before the development starts, the proposed development will not benefit from deemed planning permission.

If the development is deemed to be unlawful, enforcement action could be taken. 

An application for retrospective planning permission may not receive approval unless appropriate mitigation is secured under any related habitat regulations assessment.