Parts of Tandridge District are located within a buffer zone of the Ashdown Forest (which is currently 7km) including parts of Felbridge and Dormans Park and surrounding areas.
The Ashdown Forest is designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the EC Birds Directive and Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under the EC Habitats Directive, as well as being a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
As a result the area is afforded a high level of protection under European and national legislation and Regulation 61 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 requires that before development is permitted an assessment is made to establish whether the development is likely, to have a significant effect on such sites.
A Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) has been produced by Wealden District Council, Mid Sussex District Council, Lewes District Council, Tandridge District Council and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.
New households within the buffer zone are likely to generate additional visits to the Ashdown Forest and without appropriate mitigation measures, harm its nature conservation interest.
We are working with Wealden District Council, as the planning authority where the Ashdown Forest is located and the other affected authorities on a Strategic Access Management and Monitoring (SAMM) strategy and an Inter-Authority Legal Agreement has been signed by the Conservators of the Ashdown Forest and Wealden, Lewes, Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks and Tandridge District Councils.
This provides SAMM tariff guidance documents for these local councils which outlines the level of financial contribution required from new residential development to contribute to the SAMM mitigation strategy.
We are likely to require a contribution to be made towards the provision of Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space (SANG) or other recreational areas which will encourage people to visit other spaces rather than the Ashdown Forest.
Before these mitigation measures are established, including the identification of a SANG, we will refuse any proposals within the buffer zone on nature conservation grounds.