What sites are protected in the Tees Valley?
Protected sites can be broken down into 2 categories:
- Site designations that protect the UK’s natural heritage through statute, within the Tees Valley we have over 30 sites and they are:
- Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) such as the North York Moors
- Special Protection Area (SPA) such as Teesmouth and Cleveland Coast
- Ramsar site (Wetland of international importance) Teesmouth and Cleveland Coast
- Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) such as Hartlepool submerged forest
2. Local non statutory designated sites of which we have approaching 280 are:
- Local Wildlife Sites (LWS) such as Wynyard Woodland Park in Stockton
- Local Geological Sites (LGS) such as Guisborough Forest in Redcar and Cleveland
- Heritage Coast
- Important Bird Area (IBA)
- Local Nature Reserves such as Linthorpe Cemetery in Middlesbrough and Drinkfield Marsh in Darlington
- NGO properties (usually nature reserves) e.g Saltholme (RSPB), Portrack Marsh (Tees Valley Wildlife Trust)
For a full list of UK designation types with a short explanation visit: Joint Nature Conservation Committee
For an excellent review on our wildlife sites and ecological network which informed the governments Natural Environment White Paper 2012 visit: Making Space for Nature: A review of England’s Wildlife Sites and Ecological Network 2010
More about Local Wildlife Sites
Local Sites can be Local Wildlife Sites or Local Geological Sites. They are the non-statutory conservation sites and were previously called Sites of Nature Conservation importance (SNCI) in this area. Local Sites do not have legal protection but have policy protection through the Local Plan of each Local Authority.
- There are around 35,000 non-statutory Local Wildlife Sites in England.
- Local Sites networks provide a comprehensive rather than representative suite of sites.
- Local Sites provide wildlife refuges for most of the UK’s fauna and flora and through their connecting and buffering qualities, they complement other site networks.
- Local Sites represent local character and distinctiveness.
- Local Sites contribute to the quality of life and the well-being of the community, with many sites providing opportunities for research and education.
How are Local Wildlife Sites identified, selected and managed?
The Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) produced national Defra (2006) Local Sites, guidance on their identification, selection and management. The guidance has been produced to ensure that there is a consistent and systematic approach across England to the selection of Local Sites so that they can be protected and appropriately managed.
Local Sites in the Tees Valley
The Natural Assets Working Group part of the Tees Valley Nature Partnership has taken this role forward from the former Tees Valley Biodiversity Partnership. It has several roles to play in the management of the Local Sites system:
- Advising local authorities on the selection and designation of sites. Tees Valley Local Sites Process 2018 and TV Guidance on de-selecting sites
- Documenting the management of sites.
- Facilitating management of sites to maintain their ecological/geological interest features.
The selection criteria for Local Wildlife Sites in the Tees Valley was developed by the Tees Valley Biodiversity Partnership. This guidance is based on local scientifically based knowledge within the partnership. The criteria cover 8 habitat types and 15 species / groups. These criteria will provide information to monitor site condition and set management objectives for sites. It is a working document and subject to further development and review by the Natural Assets Working Group of the Tees Valley Nature Partnership.
Local Wildlife Site locations across the Tees Valley:
- Stockton maps
- Redcar & Cleveland Local Wildlife & Geological Sites 2017
- Middlesbrough nature/green areas & LWS
- LWS_Spreadsheet_Darlington 2018
The Tees Valley RIGS group advise the Natural Assets Working Group on the selection and management of Local Geological Sites.
Local Site data
Latest annual condition surveys for each Local Authority area:
- Redcar & Cleveland 37% (36 of 103) of local sites were deemed to be in positive management. R&C evidence LS in positive management ’17
- Stockton-on-Tees 60% (33 of 55) of local sites were deemed to be in positive management. Stockton evidence LS in positive management ’17
- Hartlepool 45% (24 of 53) of local sites were deemed to be in positive management Hartlepool evidence LS in positive management ’17
- Middlesbrough 65% (11 of 17) of local sites were deemed to be in positive management. M’boro evidence LS in positive management ’17
Data on the location, boundaries and interest features of local sites is held by each local authority. A list of sites and location maps by local authority area can be found on this site at: Natural Networks & Opportunity Maps
ERIC NE also hold copies of this data.
Getting involved with your Local Sites (and local green places) in the Tees Valley
Why not join thousands of local people who are already getting involved with 18 of the sites in the Tees Valley with the Tees Valley Wild Green Places initiative whose mission it is to: “Increase appreciation and understanding of the natural heritage of public open spaces in the Tees Valley and increase the skills of local people to record and care for this heritage.”