Sites of Special Scientific Interest

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 7th May 2014.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will list, by individual site of special scientific interest (SSSI), all the cases of permanent loss of land within SSSIs to development since the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 came in to force in England; and for each SSSI what the (a) area of permanent loss was, (b) cause of that loss was and (c) year that loss was permitted.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

This information is not readily available in the form requested. However, the latest summary of SSSI condition, published in April 2014, shows that 139 hectares of SSSI in England were recorded as fully or partially lost due to planning-related activity between 2007 and 2013. This is 0.01% of the current total area of English SSSIs, reflecting the very strong presumption against developing SSSIs in both primary legislation, the National Planning Policy Framework and previous guidance.

The table sets out the area of each SSSI that has been destroyed or partially destroyed and when the loss was recorded.

Sum of unit area (hectares)
  Monitoring date
SSSI name 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Total
Barrow Gravel Pits - - 1.69 - - - - 1.69
Canford Heath - - - 3.6 - - - 3.6
Cavenham-Icklingham Heaths - - 10.87 - - - - 10.87
Cowthick Quarry 1.39 - - - - - - 1.39
Doxey and Tillington Marshes - - 1.45 - - - - 1.45
Duddon Estuary - - - 3.62 - - - 3.62
Fenn's, Whixall, Bettisfield, Wem and Cadney Mosses - - - 2.05 - - - 2.05
Gwithian to Mexico Towans - - - 0.3 - - - 0.3
Headon Warren and West High Down - 3.16 - - - - - 3.16
Holt and West Moors Heaths - - 1.26 - - - - 1.26
King's Quay Shore - - - 0.19 - - - 0.19
Little Paxton Pits - - - 7.15 - - - 7.15
Medway Estuary and Marshes - - 22.56 - - - - 22.56
Moorgreen Meadows - - - - - - 2.95 2.95
Nostell Brickyard Quarry - - - 11.42 - - - 11.42
Parley Common - - - 0.69 - - - 0.69
Pevensey Levels - - 17.84 - - - - 17.84
Portsdown - - - 1.79 - - - 1.79
Povington and Grange Heaths - - - 2.43 - - - 2.43
Red Moss - - - - - 4.29 - 4.29
Seal Sands - - - 12.61 - - - 12.61
Slop Bog and Uddens Heath - - - - - 5.06 - 5.06
Southfield Farm Marsh - - - - - - 1.09 1.09
St Catherine's Hill - - - - 1.95 - - 1.95
Verwood Heaths - - - 0.07 - - - 0.07
Westhay Moor - - - - - - 17.82 17.82
Total 1.39 3.16 55.67 45.92 1.95 9.35 21.86 139.3

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