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River Mease Special Area of Conservation

The River Mease is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) due to the importance of the species and habitats it supports.

The organisations in the River Mease Partnership are involved in a number of ongoing initiatives and activities to improve the River Mease SAC, from improving its water quality through the management of the river and its catchment, to providing a better environment for wildlife. Further information is available about the River Mease at

Survey work by the Environment Agency revealed the quality of the water in the river was poor, mainly due to high phosphorous levels. 

As a precaution against increasing phosphorous levels, since 2009, new development in the area has been restricted, leading to delays in planning applications and a knock-on effect on the local economy.  The restrictions have also resulted in the temporary use of cess tanks, rather than connections to the main sewerage network, for waste water.

We have a scheme to ensure developers pay a direct contribution to keeping water quality high in the River Mease. The principle is a simple one – the polluter pays. So any development which will have an impact on the amount of waste water going into the sewerage system – and therefore which will have a knock on effect on discharges into the River Mease from water treatment works – will have to make a significant contribution to the costs. The scheme directly funds the actions that will help to improve the water quality and so will improve the environment for wildlife and people alike.

Under the new scheme, developers will have to contribute based on a range of factors, which typically would cost between £22,000 and £25,000 for a development of 100 houses, depending on the exact size and sustainability of the houses. 

The developer contribution scheme is over and above actions which have also been taken to impose stricter limits on phosphorous levels at a number of local water treatment works.  Together these limits and the developer contribution scheme will have a combined impact on reducing phosphorous levels in the river and its habitats.

The River Mease SAC Developer Contribution Strategy is here: River Mease SAC Developer Contribution Strategy (PDF Document, 0.5 Mb)

Appendix 1 of the River Mease SAC Developer Contribution Strategy is here: River Mease SAC Developer Contribution Strategy - Appendix 1 (PDF Document, 0.14 Mb)

A map of the area subject to the River Mease SAC Developer Contribution Strategy is here: River Mease Catchment Area (PDF Document, 6.24 Mb).


In order to speed up the process of drafting a legal agreement, we are also now asking for applications to be accompanied by a form providing us with information regarding the applicant’s solicitor’s details, title details etc (Legal Agreement Information for Unilateral Undertaking for River Mease DCS Contribution (Word Document, 0.1 Mb)).

The District Council and its partners are currently consulting on an updated River Mease SAC Developer Contributions Scheme (DCS2).

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