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Sites of Special Scientific Interest

Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 22 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost to his Department has been of management of sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) in (a) the last 10 years and (b) 2009 to date; and what area of land SSSIs covered in each period. (269722)

[holding answer 20 April 2009]: We have funding information for Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) covering the last nine financial years (2000-01 to 2008-09 inclusive). This information is routinely collated and confirmed at the end of each financial year. The costs cover the funding of SSSI management by DEFRA, including its resourcing of Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission. The costs also include Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Agri-Environment schemes, but not the EU co-funded element.

From 2000-01 to 2008-09 inclusive, the total cumulative cost of managing SSSIs was £339,895,000. During this period the SSSI area increased from 1,053,796 ha in 2000 to 1,077,086 ha in 2009. The total costs for the 2008-09 year are awaiting confirmation and collation, but we estimate these will be £56,750,000. We do not currently have this aggregated information broken down by quarter to specifically address the January to March 2009 period.