Development in European nature conservation areas

If your development consists of one or more new dwellings in a European nature conservation area, you are required to make a contribution towards the recreational impact of your development on European nature conservation sites.

The New Forest European and Solent Coast European sites include European nature conservation designations such as Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs).

These sites are all protected by legislation and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 ('Habitats Regulations'). These seek to ensure that development proposals do not harm the protected sites.


Requirements for habitat mitigation

We adopted a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for a mitigation strategy in 2014. This sets out a number of options to provide suitable recreational habitat mitigation.

You can download our mitigation strategy below.

Icon for pdf Mitigation strategy for European sites [4.81MB]

If your scheme is for less than 50 houses, one option is to pay a financial contribution to us, in order to fund the projects set out in the strategy.

We will use your contribution to:

  • provide alternative natural green spaces and recreational routes
  • provide measures to manage the number of recreational visits to the New Forest European and Solent Coast European sites
  • provide measures to modify visitor behaviour within those sites to reduce harmful impact
  • monitor the impact of new development and establish a better evidence base.

The financial contribution must be secured either  by a legal agreement  or a  Unilateral Undertaking confirming that the above financial contribution will be paid. This can either be by way of  a S106 agreement (which will be dealt with by our legal department),  or you may submit a Unilateral Undertaking (UU). In the case of a UU payment in full of the total contribution by way of cleared funds must be made on completion of the UU and before permission is granted.   In the case of a S106 agreement, please advise us that you wish to proceed on this basis, along with your solicitor's details so that our legal team can be instructed.

If your scheme is for 50 or more dwellings you will have to provide mitigation land on-site. Here is a link to a calculator to give an indication of the likely size of this space: 


Consultation on Draft Mitigation for Recreational Impacts on New Forest European Sites 'Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)

We recently invited comments on the draft 'Mitigation for Recreational Impacts on New Forest European Sites' Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). The six-week consultation period closed on 21 February 2021.  You can find out more information here.


Air quality monitoring

Our local plan has identified potential for significant adverse effects of parts of the New Forest SPA and SAC from nitrogen deposition and ammonia, particularly near main road corridors through the New Forest in areas lacking screening woodlands.

We are required to monitoring the effects of traffic emissions on these sensitive locations and therefore a contribution of £85 per additional dwelling in required.  This will be used to monitor the effects of traffic emissions on sensitive locations, to trigger management or mitigation measures if harmful effects are confirmed in the future.


Calculating your financial contribution

Our adopted strategy uses a sliding scale to calculate your financial contribution. This is for new residential development built within the district and within 5.6km of the Solent coastline.

The scale is based on the location of the development and the number of bedrooms per individual dwelling.  If a room fulfils the size requirements of a bedroom we will calculate the mitigation based on size of rooms rather than labels on floorplans.

Please refer to the tables below to calculate your financial contribution for each area and note that:

  • the number of bedrooms relates to the bedrooms within each individual new house proposed
  • the infrastructure element is that element that may be credited toward your CIL payment if this is higher
  • the non-infrastructure element is the amount that is fixed.
  • the air quality monitoring contribution is fixed.

Development schemes within 5.6km of Solent and Southampton Water SPA 

Number of bedroomsInfrastructure contributionTotal non-infrastructure contribution 
Five or more£4,800£1,309


The total non-infrastructure contribution is inclusive of the following contributions towards the Bird Aware Solent scheme

Number of bedroomsBird Aware Contribution
Five or more£940


Development schemes not within 5.6km of Solent and Southampton Water SPA 

Number of bedroomsInfrastructure contributionTotal non-infrastructure contribution
Five or more£4,800£550


Example of contribution requirements 

This example assumes a development of four dwellings, and that these are:

  • two two-bedroom dwellings
  • two three-bedroom dwellings
  • all within 5.6km of Solent and Southampton Water SPA.

The calculations would be as follows.

Two-bedroom dwellings: 2 x (£2,500 + £891 = £3,391) = £6,782

Three-bedroom dwellings: 2 x (£3,700 + £1,050 = £4,750) = £9,500

Air Quality Monitoring: 4 x £85 = £340

Sub-total: £16,622

If a unilateral undertaking is submitted:

Plus £50 checking fee - if a Unilateral Undertaking is used, otherwise additional legal fees will be incurred

Total: £16,672

CIL for development = £30,000

Credit towards CIL = £12,400 (£2,500 x 2 + £3,700 x 2)

CIL remaining to pay in accordance with payment schedule = £17,600

Completing a unilateral undertaking

If the only planning obligations to be secured are habitat mitigation and air quality monitoring then it is possible for you to complete a Unilateral Undertaking. Click below for further information.

The UU must be submitted to us together with:

  • a red line plan
  • your financial contribution
  • a checking fee of £50. 

Please note that this Unilateral is only suitable for applications being determined through the planning process and not suitable for applications being determined at appeal.

Please do not amend the text of the main agreement and please send in a draft unsigned version for checking first.

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