Planning policy and the Local Plan

Epping Forest Mitigation Zones

The Council has a legal duty to ensure that planning application decisions comply with the Habitats and Conservation of Species Regulations 2017 (as amended) to protect the integrity of Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation. In 2018 Natural England raised concerns that recreational pressure on the Forest was resulting in identified adverse effects and that management and mitigation measures were required.

From April 2019, the Council had an interim approach in place while it worked with the relevant Local Authorities, City of London Corporation & Conservators of Epping Forest and Natural England to develop a final Strategic Access Management and Monitoring Mitigation Strategy and new payment tariff.

This new approach has now been finalised and following Cabinet approval in June 2022, the final Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation Partnership Agreement has been signed and sealed by all boroughs.

As a result, and in line with policies H1, SC5, INF2, and INF7 in Newham’s Local Plan 2018, from 12th February 2024, the following developments within the 0-6.2km recreational Zone of Influence (see map here):

  • New dwellings of 1+ units (excluding replacement dwellings and extensions but including homes granted through the prior approvals process) 
  • Residential care homes and residential institutions (excluding nursing homes)
  • Residential caravan sites (excluding holiday caravan and campsites)
  • Gypsy, traveller and travelling show-person plots
  • Student accommodation
  • Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) – Class C4 and Sui Generis)
  • All other non-self contained communal accommodation (including co-living)

Are subject to:

  • A project-level HRA screening and appropriate assessment; and
  • A tariff payment subject to annual inflation per unit or bedroom dependant on the type of accommodation. The required tarrif can be viewed within the Epping Forest SAMMS form (PDF) that must be submitted with the application.

Applicants may use one of three payment routes:

  1. If the scheme will require a legal agreement in respect of other planning obligations under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended), the Epping Forest SAMMs payment can be included within the schedule of charges in the legal agreement. Payment will be required at commencement. If the scheme will not require a legal agreement to secure other planning obligations, payment can be made under Section 111 of the Local Government Act 1972.
  2. Applicants wishing to make payment through this route must:
    a. Complete this Agreement (PDF)
    b. Make payment of the correct amount via the Epping Forest SAMMS payment portal
    c. Both the agreement and payment receipt must be submitted alongside the planning application, in order for the application to be considered valid.
  3. If the scheme will not require a legal agreement to secure other planning obligations, but an applicant would rather complete a unilateral undertaking, in accordance with Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) to make the SAMMS contribution, than a section 111 Payment, this is possible but will be charged at £2,000 plus mitigation. Payment will be required at commencement. You will be agreeable to the necessary extension of the statutory timeframe to complete such agreement. (Note this is the least preferred and more expensive option overall)

You will be required to complete the Epping Forest SAMMS form (PDF) stipulating which option you are relying on for payment of the SAMMS contribution. If you choose option 2, then you must follow the steps above when you submit your application and complete the agreement within the required form. Failure to adhere to these requirements will make your application invalid.