To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Davies of Oldham on 28 October (WA 158–59), whether Natural England has the power to amend the boundaries of sites of special scientific interest (SSSI); if so, how many such boundary changes have it or its predecessors made in the past 10 years; whether any such boundary changes resulted in an upgrade of the status of the SSSI involved; and, if so, how many such upgrades have occurred. [HL114]
Schedule 9 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 introduced new powers to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 for Natural England and its predecessors to amend the boundaries of sites of special scientific interest (SSSI). These powers have been exercised as follows:
Two SSSIs extended under Section 28B;
Seventeen SSSIs enlarged under Section 28C (some cases subsumed other sites, meaning that a total of 31 SSSIs have been amended by notifications under Section 28C); and
Four SSSIs partially denotified under Section 28D.
All SSSIs are considered to be of national importance for their biodiversity and/or earth heritage features of special interest. It is not possible for this status to be “upgraded” as a result of a boundary amendment or through any other means.