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Condition assessment for sites of special scientific interest

All SSSI features are assessed against six conditions. All sites are divided into units. Each unit is assessed separately, this can often result in a mix of Favourable, Unfavourable and Destroyed units across one SSSI. Each unit is assessed at least every six years.

Definition of SSSI Condition Assessment Terms

Condition

Definition

Favourable

SSSI is being adequately conserved and is meeting its ‘conservation objectives’, however there is scope for enhancement of these sites.

Unfavourable recovering

SSSI is not yet fully meeting the conservation objectives but all the necessary management measures are in place. Provided that the recovery work is sustained, the SSSI will reach favourable condition in time.

Unfavourable no change

SSSI is not meeting the conservation objectives and will not reach favourable condition unless there are changes to the site management or external pressures. The longer the SSSI remains in this poor condition, the more difficult it will be, in general, to achieve recovery.

Unfavourable declining

SSSI is not meeting the conservation objectives and will not reach favourable condition unless there are changes to the site management or external pressures. The site condition is becoming progressively worse.

Part destroyed

Part destroyed means that lasting damage has occurred to part of the special conservation interest of a SSSI such that it has been irretrievably lost and will never recover. Conservation work may still be needed on the residual interest of the land.

Destroyed

Lasting damage has occurred to all the special conservation interest of the SSSI such that it has been irretrievably lost. The land will never recover.