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National Designations

Special Sites of Scientific Interest

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI's) are notified under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 due to particular national conservation interests in the wildlife they support or geological features present.In 1992 the Government increased their protection within the land use planning system.

Protection was further strengthened by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW), which updated the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 provisions.

Operations that might damage the features of interest are regulated and managed. The Government's Public Service Agreement (PSA) target is to manage 95% of the SSSI's into favourable" or "recovering" condition by 2010.

All operating authorities have a duty to take reasonable steps to further the conservation and enhancement of features for which the site is designated.

This is in addition to their obligation under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 to notify English Nature before carrying out an operation likely to damage any feature for which a SSSI has been designated.

National Nature Reserves

National Nature Reserves (NNRs) are designated to protect the most important areas of wildlife habitat and geological formations in Britain, and as places for scientific research.

A site will be designated where it harbours some of the best examples of a particular habitat or species on a national level.Coastal examples include coastal salt-marshes, dunes, cliff habitats and rare nesting and wintering bird species. NNRs are therefore managed on behalf of the nation, being either owned or controlled by English Nature or held by approved bodies such as Wildlife Trusts. Management plans are produced for each reserve.

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