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Nature Conservation

Information on ecology, biodiversity enhancement and nature conservation

West Berkshire has 51 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) that are of national importance for the species of animal or plant life that they support or for their geology. In addition, there are three Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) which are of international importance and cover six of the district's SSSIs.

West Berkshire also has seven Local Geological Sites and around 500 Local Wildlife Sites which are of county importance, but are essential to conserving biodiversity in the district. The Local Wildlife Sites amount to some 11 per cent of the district, over 7,600 hectares, many of which are ancient semi-natural woodland (classified as an area that has been woodland since at least 1600AD).

Our ecologist provides specialist advice to our internal departments regarding nature conservation issues. This includes advice on:

  • planning applications
  • planning policy
  • management of council owned land
  • maintenance and enhancement of biodiversity
  • the need for ecological surveys
  • maintenance of a nature conservation database

The Berkshire Local Nature Partnership (LNP) has produced the Berkshire Biodiversity Strategy which identifies 17 Biodiversity Opportunity Areas (BOA) within West Berkshire. BOAs are areas where conservation action, such as habitat creation, restoration or expansion, is likely to have the greatest benefit for biodiversity. The first major BOA project is the West Berkshire Living Landscapes (WBLL) project which we are working on in partnership with the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT).

An advice note has been prepared in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency, aimed at applicants and consultants who may wish to undertake development which could affect River Sites of Scientific Interest:

Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre

We support the Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre (TVERC). For further information on surveys or wildlife records, please contact TVERC directly.

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