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Non-statutory site designations

Local Wildlife Sites

Local Wildlife Sites (formerly known as Sites of Nature Conservation Importance - SNCIs) are non-statutory sites that contain features of substantive nature conservation value. They are identified and selected locally using agreed criteria and detailed ecological surveys.

Sussex has over 600 Local Wildlife Sites covering approximately 5% of the county. Most Local Wildlife Sites in Sussex were originally surveyed and designated in the in the early 1990s as part of a partnership between local planning authorities and conservation bodies. In the intervening years there have been different arrangements in place across East Sussex, West Sussex and the unitary authority of Brighton & Hove for managing the Local Wildlife Site systems; with differing levels of resources available.

In 2015, West Sussex County Council transferred lead responsibility for the West Sussex Local Wildlife Site system to Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre. At that time the system was unfunded.

In 2018, with the support of a range of partners, a new Sussex Local Wildlife Sites Initiative was launched with the aim of establishing and maintaining a functioning Local Wildlife Sites system for Sussex. You can find more information about the Initiative on their website:

Information about existing Local Wildlife Sites in Sussex can be accessed through our data request service:

Notable Road Verges or Designated Wildlife Verges

East Sussex County Council (ESCC) commissioned SxBRC to conduct surveys of the East Sussex Designated Wildlife Verges over the summer of 2016.

‘Designated Wildlife Verge’ is a non-statutory designation which identifies highway verges in East Sussex that have wildlife habitat significance. The sites are identified on the ground by marker posts, installed by ESCC, which ensure the Wildlife Verges are recognised by those responsible for managing them.

The surveys were delivered by an ecological contractor, working on behalf of SxBRC. They assessed various aspects of each verge, including whether species of interest were still present; signs of positive or negative management; and whether site identifiers were still present.

SxBRC collated all of this survey information and used it to update the East Sussex Wildlife Verge schedule - a simple database which provides ESCC and its contractors with information on each site and suggested management.

West Sussex County Council also maintains a ‘Notable Road Verge’ dataset.

Information about designated verges in Sussex can be accessed through our data request service:

Local Geological Sites

Local Geological Sites (formerly known as Regionally Important Geological and Geomorphological Sites - RIGGS) are non-statutory sites that are considered worthy of protection for their earth science or landscape importance.

SxBRC has worked with the Sussex Geodiversity Partnership to make information on Local Geological Sites available through their website:

Marine SNCIs

Marine Sites of Nature Conservation Importance (mSNCIs) are non-statutory sites identified on account of the special interest of their marine habitats, the fauna and flora, or for unusual geological and geomorphological features.

The first tranche of mSCNIs were originally designated in 1996 as part of a partnership between local planning authorities and conservation bodies.

SxBRC has worked with the Sussex Inshore & Coastal Fisheries Authority (IFCA) to make information on mSNCIs available through an interactive map of the Sussex marine environment.