The Exe Estuary and the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths provide an important recreational resource for the local community however they are sensitive environments important to nature conservation such that they are subject to European wildlife site designations. The Council has 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 pebblebed 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.
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 Pebblebed Heaths through impacts from recreational use. The impacts are highest from developments within 10km of these designated areas. It is therefore essential that mitigation is secured to make such developments permissible. View our map to see if your site is within 10km of the SPA boundaries. (2346KB Portable Document Format - 15 July 2014 - PDF Help)
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 East Devon Council will accept a financial contribution per new house or holiday unit. The three LPAs 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).
If you wish to mitigate by a financial contribution, read our 'Further Information about Unilateral Undertakings' page. This includes guidance notes and standard Unilateral Undertaking templates that you can use.
An Appropriate Assessment may also be needed for other impacts from accommodation or from non-accommodation developments, e.g. 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.
Page last updated on 21 August 2014