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Please note that from 1st September 2016 these contributions will be covered by  Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). Any application determined on or after that date will not require a UU to secure this contribution.

The Exe Estuary and the East Devon Pebble bed Heaths Special Protection Areas (SPA's) provide an important recreational resource for the local community. However, they are sensitive environments which area important to nature conservation and are subject to European wildlife site designations. We have a responsibility under European Habitat Regulations to assess and seek to minimise the impacts of new development on these habitats. A recent study has shown that recreational use of the estuary and pebble bed heaths is already having a significant effect on the levels of disturbance of wildlife. New housing and tourist accommodation will lead to increased recreational demands on the environment.

Recreational Impacts

In partnership with Natural England, the council and its neighbouring authorities of Exeter City Council and Teignbridge District Council have determined that housing and tourist accommodation developments in their areas will in-combination have a detrimental impact on the Exe Estuary and Pebble bed Heaths through impacts from recreational use. The impacts are highest from developments within 10 kilometres of these SPA's. It is therefore essential that mitigation is secured to make such developments permissible.  View our map to see if your site is within 10 kilometres of the SPA boundaries.

Please find below Unilateral Undertaking templates for completion in circumstances where habitat contributions only are required (residential developments of 5 or less units in the rural area 10 units or less in the urban areas):

 UU template for Exe Estuary and Pebblebed Heath contributions

 UU template for Pebblebed Heaths only

 UU template for Exe Estuary only

Mitigation for recreational impacts can take the form of access management within the European sites, or provision of substantial alternative recreation locations to draw users away from the European sites. To make it easier for developers to 'deliver' such mitigation, in many cases we will accept a financial contribution per new house or holiday unit. The three local planning authorities  will work in partnership to use these financial contributions to deliver the required mitigation measures. Alternatively, a developer may choose to provide their own mitigation measures rather than pay the contribution.

Similar approaches have been used successfully adopted for other European wildlife sites (For example, The Thames Basin Heaths, The Dorset Heaths and Breckland).

Non-recreational Impacts

An Appropriate Assessment (AA) may also be needed for other impacts from accommodation or from non-accommodation developments, for example, discharge of surface water to the SPA or disturbance during construction. In such instances additional information may be needed from the applicant before the AA can be completed and hence before a decision can be issued.