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Designations and constraints

International, national and local sites of biodiversity interest 

Lancaster district has a significant number of sites that need to be preserved and enhanced to protect their ecological value. These include sites with international designations (RAMSAR, Special Protection Areas, Special Areas of Conservation), national designations (Sites of Special Scientific Interest) and local (biological heritage sites, local nature reserves).  In most cases, you are not restricted from developing on or near to a designated site, but you will be required to demonstrate, with evidence such as up-to-date surveys and assessments, that your proposal would not result in a net loss of biodiversity interest.  Therefore, where appropriate, planning applications will need to be accompanied by necessary surveys that identify the application site's habitats and the plant and wildlife species that rely upon them.

European directives for the protection of habitats and birds have been transposed into UK law by the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010. These regulations are commonly referred to as the Habitat Regulations.  The regulations require that when determining planning applications the effects of new development on protected European sites are considered and any significant harm to such sites is prevented. There are three types of site protected by the regulations: Special Areas of Conservation (sites designation for flora, fauna and habitats of international interest); Special Protection Areas (sites designated to conserve the habitats of protected wild birds); and Ramsar Sites (sites designated as wetlands of global importance).  The district has a number of sites covered by these designations.

Last updated: 04 July 2023

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