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Sites of Special Scientific Interest

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 214414, tabled on 17 November 2014

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) are owned by (a) each government department, (b) each local authority in England, (c) Natural England, (d) the Environment Agency, (e) the Forestry Commission (England), (f) the Crown Estate and (g) the Homes and Communities Agency; what condition each such SSSI's is in; for what proportion of those SSSI's she plans to achieve favourable condition by 2020; and what policy she applies to the disposal of land designated as a SSSI.

Answered on

24 November 2014

A table containing a list of SSSIs in which there is a tenure interest, the area within each SSSI held and the condition of that area,is attached. Separating ownership from other forms of tenure would be a major exercise that could only be carried out at a disproportionate cost.

We are unable to separate out the relevant data for individual local authorities and do not hold any records for SSSI land held by the Homes and Communities Agency.

As set out in Biodiversity 2020: A strategy for England’s wildlife and ecosystem services, our target is to have at least 50% of the total area of SSSI’s in favourable condition by 2020.

Except in an emergency, it is an offence for anyone to intentionally or recklessly damage the special features of an SSSI unless they have obtained planning permission. The National Planning Policy Framework makes clear that development should not normally be permitted if, either individually or in combination with other developments, it is likely to have an adverse effect on an SSSI.