Nature conservation and landscape

Last updated on: 12-Nov-2021

3. Thames Estuary and Marshes

The Thames Estuary and Marshes Ramsar site and Special Protection Area (SPA) are internationally important for nature conservation as the area is a wetland and supports important numbers of wintering waterbirds and migrating birds. The boundaries of the parts of the Ramsar Site and Special Protection Area within Gravesham are shown on this map.

There has been a decline in the number of birds using these sites in recent years. Studies show that this could be due to people using the estuary and marshes for recreation purposes. The North Kent Bird Disturbance Report concludes that all new housing development within 6km of the North Kent Ramsar Sites or Special Protection Areas (including the Thames Estuary and Marshes) and larger housing development beyond 6km from the sites could have an adverse impact on them. This is because new housing development is likely to lead to further increases in recreational use of the sites which means that further declines in the bird population cannot be ruled out.

Mitigation measures are set out in the Thames, Medway and Swale Estuaries Strategic Access Management and Monitoring Strategy, with mitigation measures being implemented by Bird Wise North Kent. Having considered the recreational pressures on the Ramsar site and SPA in Gravesham, the Council has agreed to setting a tariff on new development that adds additional recreational pressures upon the Ramsar site and SPA. As such, developers are requested to pay the full tariff of £253.83 for every new dwelling or non-C3 residential use (as set out in the table below) provided within 6 km of the Ramsar site and SPA and for larger housing developments beyond 6 km from them. All monies raised are passed onto Bird Wise to pay for mitigation measures to be implemented.

Thames Estuary and Marshes

TCPA (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended)

A - Dwellings C3 £253.83 per dwelling
B - Holiday Accommodation & Hotels C1 £253.83 per holiday home and
£253.83 per 5 hotel bedrooms
C - Camp/Caravan Sites Sui Generis £253.83 per pitch/unit with a pro-rata reduction for periods of enforced closure
D - Student Accommodation C2/C3/C4/Sui Generis If Sui Generis £253.83 per 5 student bedrooms, otherwise see rows A, E and F as applicable
E - Residential Institutions C2 £253.83 per unit and otherwise on a case-by-case basis
F - Houses in Multiple Occupation C4/Sui Generis £253.83 per net increase in bedrooms
G - Gypsy & Traveller Accommodation Sui Generis £253.83 per pitch
H - Other Mobile & Temporary Dwellings Sui Generis £253.83 per dwelling with a pro-rata reduction for periods of enforced closure

Please note that the full tariff increases on an annual basis in line with inflation.

You can check whether your site lies within the 6km buffer zone by viewing our map.

For further details, please see Cabinet Agenda on 24 Sep 2015 and Cabinet Agenda on 29 June 2020.

Further details regarding Bird Wise North Kent can be found on their website at: Bird Wise North Kent.

Make a SAMMS payment

You can pay your SAMMS mitigation contribution using our online form. It takes about 10 minutes to complete.

We'll ask you for:

  • the planning application reference number
  • the property or site address of the planning application
  • a description of the development

At the end of the form you'll be able to pay by credit or debit card so please have your card details to hand.


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