To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many sites in England are designated as local wildlife sites and contain neutral grassland; how many sites in England containing neutral grassland have been de-selected as local wildlife sites in each of the last 10 years; and how many new sites in England containing neutral grassland have been designated as local wildlife sites in each of the last 10 years.
21 July 2014
Local wildlife sites are usually selected within a local authority area. This process is often managed by the local Wildlife Trust along with representatives of the local authority and other local wildlife conservation groups. Local sites are afforded protection through the National Planning Policy Framework.
Defra receives annual reports from local authorities on the number and management of local wildlife sites. The latest data published in the 2013 update of our England Biodiversity indicators show that there were 43,500 local wildlife sites in the 2011/12 reporting period. We do not hold national information on the numbers of new or de-selected local wildlife sites, nor the specific habitat within those sites.
An England-wide sampling framework is under development to enable monitoring activity to contribute to an assessment of trends in habitat extent and condition.