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Breckland Farmland SSSI

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 29th April 2004.

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Photo of Richard Spring Richard Spring Conservative, West Suffolk

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how the (a) boundaries of the Breckland Farmland Site of Special Scientific Interest and (b) proposed boundaries of the Breckland Special Protection Area have been decided.

Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Local Environment, Marine and Animal Welfare)

The information is as follows.

(a) The boundary of the Breckland Farmland Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) was drawn up by English Nature on the basis of the nest records collected under the Stone Curlew Recovery Project, financed jointly by the RSPB and English Nature, for the years 1995 to 1999 inclusive. Areas regularly containing two or more nest sites over this period were included, conservatively using a foraging range of up to 2 km from each nest site. Other features were also taken into account, in particular the need to have boundaries corresponding to physical features such as roads, drains, ditches, field edges or the boundaries of land holdings.

(b) All or parts of 28 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) have been recommended as Breckland potential Special Protection Area (pSPA) because together they support breeding bird populations of three species of European importance.

Breckland SPA qualifies under the EC Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds (79/409/EEC) as it is used regularly by 1 per cent. or more of the Great Britain population of three species of birds listed in Annex 1 of the Directive. They are stone curlew, nightjar and woodlark.

The pSPA boundary was delineated on the basis of records covering stone curlew nests, male woodlarks in forest blocks and in non-forest locations and breeding nightjars. The data spans the period 1992–98, with account taken of 1999 data where available.

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