About Bird Wise

Who We Are

Bird Wise is the brand name of the North Kent Strategic Access Management and Monitoring Scheme (SAMMS) Board, a partnership of local authorities, developers and environmental organisations.

The North Kent SAMMS Board is made up of the following organisations:

Bird Wise Zone Map


The project was set up to address the impact that additional development in north Kent will have on bird populations on the Thames, Medway and Swale Estuaries. These sites are Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Ramsar sites that are protected by both European and international designations.

Bird Wise is a set of strategic measures designed to mitigate disturbance to birds caused by recreational visitors to the coast. 

The north Kent coast between Gravesend and Whitstable is internationally important for wildlife.  The Thames, Medway and Swale estuaries and marshes are protected under international designation as Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Ramsar Sites.  Every year, around 250,000 waders and waterfowl travel thousands of miles to spend winter on the north Kent coast, feeding and resting on the marshes in preparation for the long return journey to their breeding grounds in the spring.  Research shows that recreational visitors can cause disturbance to these birds, reducing their chances of successful breeding.  The North Kent Strategic Access Management and Monitoring Strategy (SAMMS) was prepared in 2014, setting out a package of strategic measures for resolving the additional disturbance issues to wintering birds, arising from new housing development.

The background research and reports that underpin the strategy can be found here:

Our Strategy explains in detail how we will implement recommendations made in the background reports. This was adopted by the North Kent SAMMS Board on 31 January 2018 and will be reviewed every 5 years. The documents are available here:

We are funded via developer contributions from house builders.

For each new dwelling built within 6 kilometers of the SPA, a payment is made that will fund measures to mitigate the increase in recreational activity on the coast.