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Evaluation of the effectiveness of the protection and management of Local Sites for geodiversity and biodiversity - WC1026

A Local Site (Local Wildlife Site and Local Geological Site) is a defined area, identified and selected for its substantive nature conservation value, taking into consideration the most important and the most distinctive species, habitats, geological and geomorphological features within a national, regional and local context. The system does not try to identify all sites of importance only those of substantial quantifiable value, that meet the selection criteria. These non-statutory sites are identified and designated locally and form part of the hierarchy of international, national and locally designated sites in place to protect and conserve biodiversity and geodiversity in the UK.

Local Sites help buffer and connect natural areas, providing ecological networks and increasing resilience of biodiversity to pressures of land use and climate change. They contribute to quality of life and the health and wellbeing of communities and provide important open space in urban areas. Some Local Sites also provide opportunities for recreation and education.

This research was commissioned by Defra to further understand the progress being made in the delivery of conservation and protection of Local Sites for biodiversity and geodiversity, with a view to identifying both barriers and issues and good practice. It seeks to identify the processes and procedures in place within Local Sites Partnerships to support site monitoring and management and to reflect the broad range of experience in delivering site conservation across England. The research responds to a need to increase the knowledge base for Local Sites identified for their geodiversity value and also seeks evidence of the nature and impact of planning policy and site management on Local Sites. It takes a broad view of the role of Local Sites, in particular taking a forward look at their role in the wider landscape context and will help inform on their contribution to the strategy and action targets set out in Biodiversity 2020: A strategy for England’s wildlife and ecosystem services. Information was sourced from both Local Sites Partnerships and from Local Authority planning departments.
The overall aim of the project was to undertake a short desk study to look at the current protection and management of Local Sites in England. The research was primarily concerned with addressing questions about site management and monitoring and the protection afforded to Local Sites through the planning system and use the findings to deliver the detailed objectives for the project, namely:
1. To give an indication of the scale of the contribution of Local Sites to the conservation of local biodiversity and geodiversity.
2. To assess the effectiveness of the protection in conserving sites and associated biodiversity and geodiversity, including in the wider landscape context described in Making Space for Nature.
3. To assess the use, and value of the 2006 Defra Local Sites guidance.
4. To identify best practice.
5. To identify any barriers and problems.

The research is not a test of performance of individual Local Sites Partnerships or Local Authorities, but an investigation to gain insight into the practices, day to day issues and ongoing development of individual LS Partnerships to inform policy makers and other stakeholders, and to identify and share good practice.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : WC1026 - Final report   (1807k)
• FRP - Final Report : WC1026 - Final report - part B   (786k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2012

To: 2012

Cost: £44,825
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Team Projects Ltd