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Protecting Ashdown Forest

The Ashdown Forest Special Protection Area and Special Area of Conservation is a European-designated nature conservation site.

In order to help protect the nature conservation interests of Ashdown Forest there are particular requirements for planning and how planning applications are assessed.

Planning applications for all residential development within 7km of Ashdown Forest are required to mitigate the potential impacts of the development to ensure the effects of any increase in visitors to Ashdown Forest are addressed.

Large scale or more unusual developments close to the 7km zone may also need to be assessed to see if they need to mitigate the effects of the proposed development.

This may involve payments towards both:

  • Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) - Contributions are used for the ongoing management and maintenance of strategic SANG sites. These are located in various districts around Ashdown Forest. On larger development sites, a bespoke SANG could potentially be provided on the development site.
  • Strategic Access Management and Monitoring Strategy (SAMMS) - A financial contribution towards SAMMS will be used for ongoing visitor management projects and monitoring on the Ashdown Forest in accordance with the SAMM Strategy.

Further details on the Ashdown Forest and how it may affect development as well as a map showing the area affected by the 7km zone can be found in the Submission Local Plan Policy EN11 Ashdown Forest.

Further details on the approach the Council has taken towards Ashdown Forest and the approach to planning applications is set out in the Practice Note 2022.

Further details of which types of development attract SAMMS and SANGS Payments is set out in the Tariff schedule for Ashdown Forest.


Where a contribution is to be made towards SANG the Council will use this to contribute towards SANG provision within the SAMMs Partnership and it will then collect the sum as required by the district that has agreed to provide the SANG. Currently this is estimated to be around £5000 per dwelling but this amount will be subject to confirmation when a planning application is made.


Where a contribution is to be made towards SAMMS the Council will apply the tariff that is in force at the time of the application.  The tariff is set and agreed by the SAMMS partnership but may be revised from time to time to take account of changes in costs of the SAMM Strategy, the level of development proposed and the results of any  monitoring.  Currently the SAMM tariff is £1,170 per unit but this will need to be confirmed at the time of any application.

Legal document

The mitigation required will be secured in a legal document often known as a Section 106 planning obligation which will be drafted by our Legal Services team.

This is a legal document and you may want to take independent legal advice. The Council’s Legal Services team cannot provide you with legal advice.

Monitoring and legal costs will be levied.

Background information

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Planning policy