Nature conservation and the protection of SSSIs

In an important decision containing unusually strong language, the House of Lords has criticised the current legal regime for the protection of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), and revealed a significant loophole in the controls.

Southern Water Authority v Nature Conservancy Council (House of Lords, 22 July 1992) concerned an SSSI on the Isle of Wight which included a strip of land known as Hill Heath Ditch.

Farmers who owned land on either side of the ditch were notified of its conservation value by the Nature Conservancy Council (NCC) in 1982, as was the Southern Water Authority which owned land elsewhere on the site. In accordance with section 28 of the Wil

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