Habitats Sites Mitigation

Suffolk Coast Recreational Disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy (RAMS)

The Councils are working alongside Ipswich Borough Council and East Suffolk Council on strategic mitigation.

This mitigation is designed to support development and avoid impacts on internationally important designated wildlife sites.

The unique countryside and coastal areas of Suffolk provide both opportunities and challenges for housing development.

Our collective goal is to promote sustainable development, whilst maintaining and enhancing our wildlife. This is with particular regard to our nationally and internationally recognised sites.

All councils involved have contributed towards the creation of a recreational disturbance, avoidance and mitigation strategy (RAMS) for the area. This strategy identifies cost measures necessary to mitigate recreational impacts. It confirms how they will be funded and delivered over the lifetime of local plans.

The strategy has been drafted by specialist consultants as a technical report. This supports local plans and gives developers the option to contribute to an agreed and costed scheme of mitigation.

This applies to residential developments within the zone of influence, over the plan period.

If you have formally requested pre-application planning advice, the need for a RAMS contribution will be included in the response.

The RAMS contribution per dwelling is index linked to the BCIS (Building Cost Information Service) index with a base date of May 2019 (the date of adoption of the Strategy). This is to ensure the financial sustainability of the project by linking the contribution rate to the most appropriate measure of inflation.

As of the 19th April 2024, the RAMS contribution is set at £142.27 per dwelling within Zone A, which is applicable for development within this zone in the Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council areas. Each year thereafter the contribution rate will be adjusted on the 6th April, to align with the start of the financial year, and the new rate will be published on this web page. The contribution rate to be paid becomes fixed on the date the payment is made.

If you are expecting a decision for your application

If, during the application process you have been advised that a contribution is needed, please complete our RAMS payment form.

This will enable you to submit payment under Section 111 of the Local Government Act 1972, Recreational Avoidance Mitigation Contribution.

You must submit this payment before a decision is issued.

RAMS Payment Form

If permission is refused, but you have already submitted the RAMS payment, you are entitled to a refund. This claim can only be made six months following the date of decision. This is when the time limit for lodging an appeal has expired.

To claim your refund, please email the Infrastructure Team and quote your application reference.

If you have an older permission with a RAMS condition

There are older planning permissions that contain a condition relating to the RAMS contribution. Though we will not apply this condition in the future, all existing conditions must be discharged before development starts.

The customer must apply to discharge this condition by submitting a Discharge of Conditions (DOC) application to the local planning authority (LPA). When the condition has been met, the LPA will discharge it by way of formal written approval.

The application asks that the customer enter into a legal agreement (known as a 'unilateral undertaking'). This will legally bind them to submit the RAMS payment. The application will involve a payment to the Legal Team (minimum £50).

The condition can also be discharged by submission of payment via the RAMS Payment Form (instead of a unilateral undertaking). You must not complete the payment form until you have received confirmation that your DOC application has been validated.

Please contact the Planning Validation Team if you have any questions.


  1. - If you submit a DOC application for the RAMS condition only, there will be no application fee. If you submit a DOC application for multiple conditions (including the RAMS condition) the usual application fee must be paid
  2. - If there is an existing Unilateral Undertaking the RAMS payment must be paid when development starts. This is done at the same time the Infrastructure team are served a commencement notice. Please visit our Infrastructure section for further guidance

The designated sites for Babergh and Mid Suffolk within the RAMS are:

  • Deben Estuary SPA and Ramsar site
  • Stour and Orwell SPA and Ramsar site

View the Suffolk Coast RAMS

View the Suffolk Coast RAMS FAQs

View the Suffolk RAMS area

View a Suffolk Coast RAMS Unilateral Undertaking Example

Parishes within the 13km Zone of Influence

Babergh District Mid Suffolk District 
Aldham Akenham
Arwarton Ashbocking
Belstead Ashfield Cum Thorpe
Bentley Barham
Brantham Barking
Capel St Mary Baylham
Chattisham Bramford
Chelmondiston Claydon
Copdock and Washbrook Coddenham
East Bergholt Darmsden
Elmsett Flowton
Freston Framsden
Great Wenham / Wenham Magna Gosbeck
Hadleigh Great Blakenham
Harkstead Helmingham
Higham Hemingstone
Hintlesham Henley
Holbrook Laxfield
Holton St Mary Little Blakenham
Kersey Needham Market
Layham Nettlestead
Leavenheath Offton
Little Wenham / Wenham Parva Somersham
Pinewood Whitton
Polstead Willisham
Stoke By Nayland  
Stratford St Mary