Developers must pay to protect Broads wildlife, authority says

100-year-old photographic plates have been discovered which have thrown new light on the work of pio

100-year-old photographic plates have been discovered which have thrown new light on the work of pioneering wildlife photographer Emma Turner. Pictured: Montagu's harrier chicks in the Norfolk Broads. Picture: Turner Archive / BTO - Credit: Turner Archive / BTO

The Broads Authority has called for more cash from housing developers to help deal with the impact the region's growing population is having on wildlife in Norfolk.

The organisation and other local planning authorities have warned that there could be negative consequences for the area's fragile ecosystem as a result of booming visitor numbers linked to the volume of homes being built.

A £185.93 charge per home, or bed for tourist and student accommodation, would be used to mitigate the impact on protected wildlife sites.

The proposal comes from green infrastructure and recreational impact avoidance and mitigation strategy (RAMS), which is going to all Norfolk planning authorities. The money, once collected, would be pooled with an oversight board deciding where it would go.

The RAMS charge would apply to all new developments of one or more homes, houses of multiple occupancy, student accommodation, as well as Gypsies and travellers sites.

The RAMS charge in Suffolk is £321.22.

Included in the RAMS is a series of measures like a county-wide dog project to engage with dog owners for areas available for dog walking, monitoring sensitive vegetation and species and working on public rights of way to divert from sensitive routes.

Most Read

At a Broads Authority meeting on Friday, Natalie Beal, a Broads planning officer, said the authority would start collecting the cash as soon as members approved the measures.

She said: "We will collect and we will ring-fence but when the governance is set up it will go to a holding body, which is probably going to be the county council.

"We are holding it rather than spending it because it is a strategic county-wide approach and an overseeing board will say how the money will be spent."

Tim Jickells described it as an "imperfect blunt instrument" but one that could generate money for protecting wildlife.

Harry Blathwayt, a North Norfolk councillor said his authority was already collecting the money and was getting no kickback from developers.

"I think all national developers are paying this everywhere else. I think Norfolk is slow to the party," he said.

The authority unanimously endorsed the plan.