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Sites of Special Scientific Interest: Tree Felling

Volume 465: debated on Wednesday 24 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will take steps to prevent the felling of trees on sites of special scientific interest. (160049)

Sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) are notified to conserve and enhance the full range of England’s biodiversity. Some SSSIs are notified for interest features which are liable to damage by trees. On such sites, the felling of trees may be necessary and Natural England works with local landowners and communities so that any felling is carried out in accordance with a management plan.

The aim is to secure the favourable or recovering condition of SSSIs, in accordance with our PSA target to have 95 per cent. SSSIs in England in favourable or recovering condition by 2010. Where woodland is a notified feature of a SSSI, or it supports other notified interest features, it will be conserved or restored as appropriate. Overall the area of woodland being conserved (over 84,000 hectares) is far in excess of the area being felled to restore other features (1,440 hectares).