At the very end of 2010, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman announced a major achievement for conservation in England with the news that 96% of England’s SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest) are now in favourable or recovering condition. SSSIs are the most important collection of wildlife and geological sites in the England and cover 8% of the country’s surface area, so they play a unique role in preserving biodiversity and geodiversity. The 10 year project to reverse the long term decline of England’s SSSIs has involved an unprecedented conservation effort led by Defra, and involving government agencies, thousands of farmers and landowners, and organisations from across the private and voluntary sectors. In recent years one million hectares of land have been surveyed and monitored by Natural England and conservation plans put in place across thousands of sites. Defra’s news announcement marked a fitting end to the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity.
Natural England will be helping celebrate the success of the SSSI project with the publication of the report – Protecting England’s Natural Treasures – which will be launched at a special reception attended by Caroline Spelman at the London Wetlands Centre on 27th January 2011. ________________________________________ http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/conservation/designatedareas/sssi/conservationlandmark.aspx