Designated protected areas in the UK


Site of special scientific interest

Designated by Natural England under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981)

Not usually open to the public and not always owned by government.

To protect the scientifically interesting species of plants and animals found within the area and the geological features and land forms.

Example: Dee Estuary, Cheshire.

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National nature reserve

Designated by natural england under the national parks and access to the countryside Act (1949).

usually SSSI's also.

To secure protection and appropriate managment of improtant wildlife habitat and topography.

To provide a resource for scientific research.

To provide a resource for non-threatening recreation.

Example: Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire.

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Local nature reserve

Designated by Natural England under the national parks and access to the countryside Act (1949).

To protect the area and surrounding area from damaging activities.

Management: Owned or controlled under local authorities.

Example: Bixley Heath, Ipswich


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Marine nature reserve


Designated by Natural England under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.   To conserve and provide opportunities for the study of marine wildlife and interesting geological and physiographical features.

Examples:  Lundy Island

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Special protection Areas

Designated by Natural England under the EU birds directive.

To help protect and manage areas that are important for rare and vulenerable birds because they use them for breeding, feeding, migration and wintering.

Example: The solent

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Special areas of conservation

Designated by Natural England under the EU habitats directive.

To provide rare and vulenerable animals, plants and habitats with increased protection and management.

Example: Dartmoor

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Natura 2000

SPA's and SAC's together make Natura 2000 series of protected sites in the EU. Each country is responsible for identifying and protecting its own sites.

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Special recovery programmes

Run by Natural England to conserve particular endangered species. The activites depend upon the species involved but can include habitat managment, habitat creation, captive breeding and release as well as population monitoring.

Examples: Lady slipper orchid and Dormouse

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    • concern for climate change and energy
    • sustainable consumption and production
    • Protecting the countryside and natural resourses
    • sustainable rural communities
    • a sustainable farming and food sector inc. animal health and welfare.
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Ramsar sites

The ‘Ramsar Convention on Wetlands 1971’ is an intergovernmental agreement open to any country that protects wetlands (as a habitat for birds) of international importance.   Designated in the UK by Defra All UK ramsar sites are SSSI's and many are SPA's and SAC's   it also aims to ensure the sustainable use of wetlands. Example: Minsmere, Suffolk

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Biodiversity action plan

Biodiversity Action Plan:

Coordinated by DEFRA involves 2000 organisations Established in the UK after the Government signed the

  ‘Convention on Biological Diversity’ in 1992(RIO Summit)

Comprises of three main plans

1. Species Action Plan – conservation of 382 spp

2. Habitat Action Plan – conservation of 28 habitats

3. Local Action Plan – individual countries


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Environmental Stewardship scheme


To conserve wildlife (biodiversity)

To maintain and enhance landscape quality and character

To protect the historic environment

To promote public access and understanding

To protect natural resources

what it is:

Promotes sustainable farming.

Provides financial support to farmers to reward and encourage environmentally beneficial development.

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