Sites of Special Scientific Interest
SSSIs – Sites of Special Scientific Interest –
are the most important sites for Wales’ natural heritage. They are
highly protected to safeguard the range, quality and variety of
habitats, species and geological features in all parts of Wales.
They are the cornerstones of conservation work, protecting the core
of our natural heritage.
There are more than 1,000 SSSIs in Wales, covering about 12% of
the country’s surface area. They are notified by CCW.
Why are SSSIs important?
Many SSSIs support wildlife and habitats which are
internationally important. Some are also designated under other
schemes too, recognising them as the very best examples of natural
heritage sites in Wales, the UK and Europe.
Natural sites include coastline, freshwater, upland and lowland
sites and range from small fens or sand dunes to woodlands and vast
reaches of mountain. They contain important types of land, plants
and wildlife. Geological sites range from quarries to rocky
outcrops and massive sea-cliffs.
How SSSIs are protected
Each SSSI is protected by law from damage through development or
unsuitable management or activities. They are also protected
through working partnerships and agreements with owners and others
who use the sites.
SSSIs and their owners
CCW must tell landowners exactly where every SSSI is and explain
why it is protected. CCW co-operates with the owners and offers
advice, information and, sometimes, financial support.