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Habitat Mitigation (GIRAMS)

Overview of Norfolk Green Infrastructure and Recreational Impact Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy (GIRAMS)

The coasts, heaths and estuaries of Norfolk are internationally recognised wildlife assets. They include areas designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Areas (SPA) and Ramsar Sites (hereafter referred to as ‘Habitats Sites’). These habitats and the species they hold are protected under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended, including through the EU exit legislation).

The plan level Habitat Regulation Assessments identified risks to Habitats Sites from increased recreation pressure arising from the new housing and tourism growth. Assessing, avoiding and managing that recreation pressure is therefore an important part of planning for growth. GIRAMS applies a single tariff covering the District and all partner LPA's to qualifying development to fund mitigation measures via a strategic solution.

Habitats sites affected across Kings Lynn and West Norfolk

  • Breckland Special Protection Area (SPA) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
  • North Norfolk Coast SPA, SAC and Ramsar
  • The Wash and North Norfolk Coast SAC
  • The Wash SPA and Ramsar
  • Roydon Common and Dersingham Bog SAC
  • Roydon Common Ramsar
  • Dersingham Bog Ramsar
  • Norfolk Valley Fens SAC

Norfolk Green Infrastructure and Recreational Impact Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy (GIRAMS)

The Norfolk Green Infrastructure and Recreational Impact Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy (GIRAMS) is a strategic partnership between Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council, Breckland Council, Broadlands and South Norfolk District Council, Great Yarmouth Borough Council, North Norfolk District Council and Norwich County Councils. The aim of GIRAMS is to ensure no adverse effects are caused to Habitats Sites (also called European sites) across Norfolk, either alone or in-combination from qualifying developments.

The Norfolk GIRAMS sets out a strategic, cross-boundary approach to mitigating the in-combination effects of development on these designated areas and allows strategic mitigation to be delivered across Norfolk. The avoidance and mitigation measures will be funded via developer contributions as part of planning permissions given for new residential and other development. This cost is identified as £221.17 per dwelling and per 6 bedspace for tourist accommodation units or per 2.5 bedspace for student accommodation units and applies to the following applications:

  • All new dwellings of 1+ units in current site allocations and windfall (excludes replacement dwellings and extensions)
  • Houses in Multiple Occupancy e.g. hotels, guest houses and lodges
  • Student accommodation
  • Residential care homes and residential institutions (excludes nursing homes)
  • Residential caravan sites/mobile homes/park homes
  • Gypsies, travellers and travelling show people plots
  • Residential moorings, holiday caravans, touring pitches and campsites

We have prepared a shadow HRA template and guidance note for your use. Please use the map below to identify the Zones of Influence in relation to your proposal to include in the HRA.

The template Shadow HRA is intended to enable applicants to ensure they provide all required information. The website Magic Map Application (defra.gov.uk) is a useful tool that can be used to measure distance of protected site to the proposed development.

Two guides on how to use layers and make measurements on MAGIC are provided below for further help with this:

Please note that the shadow template is only suitable for developments where no other impacts on protected wildlife sites have been identified (in such instances, a bespoke HRA will be required)

Where GIRAMS applies

The Zone of Influence (ZOI) is the area where increased development will result in likely significant effects. As set out in the strategy, evidence shows that there are varying ZOI around the relevant Habitat Sites in the Norfolk area, each ZOI is tailored specifically to the evidence base for each of the Habitat Sites.

Increased recreation without mitigation would result in the significant interest features of the sites being degraded, or lost, and these internationally important areas losing their birds and habitat, and therefore their designations. Identifying the correct ZOI helps to inform the proportion of spend and direct appropriate strategic mitigation.

Any qualifying development that is within the ZOI will be required to mitigate the effects of the development and show how this will be achieved prior to approval of planning permission. In addition, for sites comprising of more than 50 dwellings and in more sensitive locations, a bespoke approach including payment of GIRAMS and demonstration of on-site/off-site mitigation measures may be required. This Norfolk GIRAMS Habitat Regulation Assessment (HRA) Record provides guidance, agreed with Natural England. It will be used when intending to consent relevant development and in undertaking its Appropriate Assessment.

If your proposal is permitted development, or has been approved under the prior approval process then you will need to make a Regulation 77 application. This includes temporary holiday sites such as caravan and camp sites.

RAMS payment options

Where a financial contribution towards RAMS is required, it will be collected on submission of the application and can be paid either: over the phone via card by calling 01553 616234, online via the Council’s website under “pay for it” or by BACS. Upfront payments are refundable in the event planning permission is refused, an appeal is dismissed, or the development is not implemented.

To pay your GIRAMS contribution, you will need:

  • to select Planning and then GIRAMS/Habitat Fee in the payments drop down list
  • the planning application reference the payment is for
  • the name of the site the payment is for
  • a valid debit or credit card

Make a GIRAMS payment

Alternatively you can call us on 01553 616234 to pay by card and complete & submit the Section 111 Form or a Unilateral Undertaking to make the payment.