Explanation of terms used in managing and protecting SSSIs.
This is a categorisation of the action that is required to bring the SSSI unit into favourable condition. There are three options: Natural England funding; Natural England negotiation/enforcement; and other party action. Any combination of these actions can be selected for one unit.
If a SSSI unit is currently assessed as being in unfavourable no change , unfavourable declining, part destroyed or destroyed condition, it is described as being in adverse condition and is not meeting the PSA target.
The citation details the 'features of interest' for which a SSSI has been notified. Each citation shows details of the SSSI location, size and the date of notification. It also describes the general reasons for notification and the habitats, plants and animals that are found at the site.
The condition of the SSSI land in England is assessed by Natural England, using categories agreed across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland through the Joint Nature Conservation Committee. There are six reportable condition categories: favourable; unfavourable recovering; unfavourable no change; unfavourable declining; part destroyed and destroyed.
Condition assessment comments
The condition assessment comments provide more detailed information about the condition assessment. Comments will not be present for every condition assessment.
The date the information was extracted from the Natural England Site Information System (ENSIS).
Destroyed means that lasting damage has occurred to all the special conservation interest of the SSSI unit such that it has been irretrievably lost. This land will never recover.
Favourable condition means that the SSSI land is being adequately conserved and is meeting its 'conservation objectives', however, there is scope for the enhancement of these sites.
Latest assessment date
The date when the latest condition assessment was carried out.
The broadest classification of the feature on the unit selected from a list of habitats based on the BAP Broad Habitat classification.
Meeting the PSA target
If a SSSI unit is currently assessed as being in favourable or unfavourable recovering condition, it is described as 'meeting the PSA target'.
Natural England funding
Natural England funding may be required for the unit to reach favourable condition, eg an agri-environment scheme is required.
Natural England negotiation/enforcement
Negotiation and/or enforcement by Natural England is required for the unit to reach favourable condition.
The date the SSSI was notified to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by Natural England. If the SSSI notification has been amended, this will be the date of the last revision.
Operations requiring Natural England's consent (formerly known as operations likely to damage the special interest)
Before any of these operations are undertaken the owner or occupier must consult Natural England and may require our consent.
It is usually possible to carry out many of these operations in certain ways or at specific times of year, or on certain parts of the SSSI, without damaging the features of interest. The Natural England Conservation Officer for the SSSI can provide advice and, where appropriate, issue a consent.
In certain circumstances it will not be possible to consent to these operations, because they would damage the features of interest. Where possible the Conservation Officer will suggest alternatives which would enable a consent to be issued. To proceed without Natural England's consent may constitute an offence. If consent is refused, or if conditions are attached to it which are unacceptable to the owner or occupier, they may appeal to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Other party action
Action by a public or statutory body other than Natural England is required for the SSSI unit to reach favourable condition.
Part destroyed means that lasting damage has occurred to part of the special conservation interest of a SSSI unit such that it has been irretrievably lost and will never recover. Conservation work may be needed on the residual interest of the land.
The Government's Public Service Agreement (PSA) target to have 95% of the SSSI area in favourable or recovering condition by 2010.
Reason for adverse condition
The reason why the unit it is in adverse condition (ie unfavourable no change, unfavourable declining, part destroyed or destroyed). The reason is selected from a defined list.
Source (reason for adverse condition)
Whether the cause of the adverse condition is within the SSSI (on site) or outside the SSSI (off site).
SSSI units are divisions of SSSIs used to record management and condition details. Units are the smallest areas for which Natural England gives a condition assessment. The size of units varies greatly depending on the types of management and the conservation interest. There are around 22,000 SSSI units.
SSSI unit area
The area of each SSSI unit in hectares calculated from digitised unit boundaries.
Staff member responsible
The Area Team staff member who is the main contact for the SSSI.
This means that the special interest of the SSSI unit is not being conserved and will not reach favourable condition unless there are changes to site management or external pressures. The site condition is becoming progressively worse.
Unfavourable no change
This means the special interest of the SSSI unit is not being conserved and will not reach favourable condition unless there are changes to the site management or external pressures. The longer the SSSI unit remains in this poor condition, the more difficult it will be, in general, to achieve recovery.
Unfavourable recovering condition is often known simply as 'recovering'. SSSI units are not yet fully conserved but all the necessary management measures are in place. Provided that the recovery work is sustained, the SSSI will reach favourable condition in time.
In many cases, restoration takes time. Woodland that has been neglected for 50 years will take several years to bring back into a working coppice cycle. A drained peat bog might need 15-20 years to restore a reasonable coverage of sphagnum.
Views about Management (VAM)
The 'Views About Management' gives a straightforward account of the basic management that is needed to conserve and enhance the wildlife or geological features of the SSSI. By giving a clear and simple statement of management principles for conservation, these views will help to clarify and build upon the existing understanding between SSSI owners and occupiers and Natural England about the management of their SSSIs.
The views place no additional obligation on the owner or occupier of a SSSI nor do they replace any more detailed management advice which Natural England may have already given, such as advice in a Site Management Statement or a Management Agreement.
Under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, Natural England must notify the owners and occupiers of all SSSIs of its views about the management of the SSSIs. Some of the VAMs will be branded 'English Nature'. English Nature is the name of one of the founding bodies of Natural England that was responsible for notifying SSSIs.
See also: 'Some technical terms explained' on pages 16-17 of our booklet SSSIs: England’s special wildlife and geological sites.