Prince Charles uses National Parks speech to campaign for improved protection of SSSIs

Ostensibly he was celebrating the conservation achievements of the National Parks of England and Wales, but Prince Charles used a recent public speaking engagement to remind the Government of its long-standing promise to upgrade protection of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).

New Labour first promised to make SSSIs less vulnerable to damage in 1994. The Prince’s call for SSSI protection comes at a time when many expect the Government to once again ignore its promise. Many believe that next month’s Queen’s Speech, the annual speech setting out the Government’s legislative plans for the year, will contain no mention of SSSI legislation.

Many UK environmental groups have called for increased protection to be given to both SSSIs and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Meanwhile, at the European level, the UK has been forced to increase the number of sites it has recommended for European protection. Its original list of proposed Special Areas of Conservation was deemed to have failed to protect several specific wildlife habitats (see related story).

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