Explains what local sites are, what local nature reserves are, what verge nature reserves are and other designated sites.
Local Sites are non-statutory designations which seek to ensure the conservation, maintenance and enhancement of species, habitats, and geological features of significant nature conservation value. Sites designated as local sites are afforded material consideration in the planning system. The vast majority of Local Sites are in private ownership.
The designation places no formal restriction on the management of land, but we are keen to work with landowners to get these sites in positive conservation management. If you are a landowner of a Local Site and you want to find out what this means for you, please click on the link below for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions for landowners who have a Local Site on their land (pdf 45kb opens in new window)
Local Wildlife Sites (LWS), or Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) as they used to be known, are areas of valuable semi-natural or natural habitats such as ancient woodlands, species rich grasslands and heathland. They can also include linear features such as hedgerows and verges. Many LWS provide a refuge for rare or threatened plants or animals.
Local Geological Sites (LGS), or Regionally Important Geological Sites (RIGS) as they are also known, are areas of geological importance. This might be for their educational value, their role in the development of geological science, or for their rocks, fossils or features. In the East Riding, a voluntary group of geologists known as the "East Yorkshire RIGS Group" leads the work to identify these sites.
Local Nature Reserves (LNR) are for people and wildlife. They offer people special opportunities to study or learn about nature or to simply enjoy it. To qualify for LNR status, a site must be of importance for wildlife, geology, education or public enjoyment.
There are twelve formal LNR in the East Riding, some of which are managed by us and others that are managed by local groups or charitable trusts. The East Riding's twelve formal LNR are as follows (managed by us unless stated otherwise):
For a list of formal and other nature reserves owned and managed by us, and detailed descriptions of LNR, please visit the LNR page within the Countryside and Walks Section.
Our partners and local groups also own and manage other informal nature reserves.
Verge Nature Reserves (VNR) are relic areas of habitats that were once common in the wider countryside, but have become rare, fragmented and isolated due to changes in landscape use over time.
They are particular roadside verges containing important grassland, ditch and hedgerow habitats, and providing refuges for wildflowers, animals and wildlife such as butterflies and barn owls.
They have a role as wildlife or green corridors that are particularly important in terms of adaptation to climate change, allowing wildlife to move and adapt as conditions change. Some of the best VNR are also designated as Local Wildlife Sites (LWS) in recognition of their importance for biodiversity. In addition to their value for biodiversity, VNR are of historic, landscape and cultural importance.
Roadside verges are subject to a variety of stresses imposed by passing road traffic including salt spray, oil and air pollutants, and effects of vehicle movements on the verge themselves.
Additional threats to roadside verges include fly-tipping, planting and spread of non-native, invasive species, inappropriate management and/or neglect, overgrazing by tethered horses and the encroachment of scrub (e.g. hawthorn and bramble).
Many other statutory and non-statutory designations have been applied to sites in order to conserve wildlife. They are as follows:
To see where national and international sites are located, please use the link below to access the Nature on the Map website:
Nature on the Map (external website)
There is an increasing move towards attempting to connect these sites into an ecological network where wildlife can move and adapt. This will be especially important as our climate changes.
All of the above should be considered when planning any development or other land use change.
We adopted the "Local Sites in the East Riding of Yorkshire" document in November 2012.
It is in three parts:
Part A (below) sets out how the Local Sites system will operate:
Management of the local sites system part a (pdf 454kb opens in new window)
Part B (below) sets out the technical guidelines for the selection of Local Wildlife Sites:
Management of the local sites system part b LWS Site Selection Guidelines (pdf 989kb opens in new window)
Part C (below) contains a set of appendices:
Management of the local sites system part c Appendices(pdf 229kb opens in new window)
The document was prepared in consultation with the Local Wildlife Sites Panel and local experts.