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What's that Designation - a Glossary

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

UK designation. The statutory nature conservation agencies have a duty under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, as amended, to notify any area of land which in their opinion is 'of special interest by reason of any of its flora, fauna, or geological or physiographical features'. Find out more at JNCC

Special Protection Area (SPA)

European designation. SPAs are strictly protected sites classified under the EC Birds Directive (1979.) They are classified for rare and vulnerable birds (listed on Annex I of the Directive), and for regularly occurring migratory species.

Ramsar Site

International designation. Ramsar sites are wetlands of international importance designated under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (established in Ramsar, Iran, 1971).  Find out more at JNCC 

Special Area of Conservation (SAC)

European designation.SACs are strictly protected sites designated under the EC Habitats Directive. Article 3 of the Habitats Directive requires the establishment of a European network of important high-quality conservation sites that will make a significant contribution to conserving the 189 habitat types and 788 species identified in Annexes I and II of the Directive (as amended). The listed habitat types and species are those considered to be most in need of conservation at a European level (excluding birds). Of the Annex I habitat types, 78 are believed to occur in the UK. Of the Annex II species, 43 are native to, and normally resident in, the UK. Find out more at JNCC

County Wildlife Site (CWS)

Local, non-statuory designation. CWSs recognise the high value of a site for wildlife. The 900 + CWSs in Suffolk play a key role in the county's conservation of biodiversity, totalling 19,200 ha and covering 5% of the county. Many sites are of county, and often regional or national, importance. CWSs may be privately or publicly owned and vary in size and shape including small meadows, green lanes, dykes, hedges, ancient woodlands, heathland, green, commons and marsh. Find out more.

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