Challenges to Local Wildlife Sites

These special and often secret spaces have a huge part to play in the natural green fabric of our towns and countryside.

What protection is given to Local Wildlife Sites?

There is a general misconception that all the best nature conservation sites are protected, as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).But SSSIs offer just a sample of our most important habitats and species and, in some counties, Local Wildlife Sites are where most of our special wildlife can be found. 

Local Wildlife Sites are recognised across the UK in national planning policies but sadly have no statutory protection, despite being of equal or greater value for wildlife.

What is the status of Local Wildlife Sites? 

More than 11% of 6,590 Local Wildlife Sites have been lost or damaged.


Our latest survey found that more than 11% of 6,590 Local Wildlife Sites monitored in the period 2009 – 2013 were lost or damaged. More than 40 partnerships reported that they urgently need more resources to ensure the effective identification, management and protection of Local Wildlife Sites in their area, as well as to combat the causes of neglect, inappropriate management and development pressures that threaten these sites.

For more information you can download our report The status of England’s Local Wildlife Sites 2014 or a shorter summary report Secret Spaces: The status of Local Wildlife Sites 2014.

What can you do? 

You can help save our Local Wildlife Sites:

  • Do you own or manage a piece of land listed as a Local Wildlife Site? Contact your local Wildlife Trust. They can offer advice or point you in the right direction for help with surveys and Management options.
  • Ask your local Wildlife Trust where to find Local Wildlife Sites open to the public near you. Get to know and enjoy them.