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Sites of Special Scientific Interest: Standards

Volume 468: debated on Wednesday 28 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the percentage of sites of special scientific interest which were in favourable condition in each year for which records are available; what steps are being taken to ensure the Government reaches its Public Service Agreement target to bring 95 per cent. of nationally important wildlife sites into favourable condition by 2010; and if he will make a statement. (165542)

[holding answer 26 November 2007] The public service agreement target to bring 95 per cent. of sites of special scientific interest (SSSI) land into favourable or recovering condition was set in 2000. The first round of the condition assessment programme was completed in 2003 and showed that 56.9 per cent. of SSSI area was in target condition. The figures for 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 (as at 31 March) were 62.9 per cent., 67.4 per cent., 72.3 per cent. and 75.4 per cent. respectively. At 20 November 2007, 77.14 per cent. of SSSI area was in target condition.

We are working closely with our delivery partners, including Natural England and the Environment Agency, towards delivery of the SSSI PSA target and are closely monitoring progress and addressing any issues that might occur. We are confident that the 2010 target of 95 per cent. remains achievable.