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Review of Local Wildlife Sites, Sussex

Applied Ecology Ltd was appointed by Hastings Borough Council to complete an independent review of their Local Wildlife Sites (LWS).  The main objective of the project was to assess the existing network of LWSs against the Government’s National Performance Indicator (NI) 197 Improved Local Biodiversity, and make recommendations for the re-selection or de-selection of sites to inform the emerging Local Development Framework.

Hastings Country Park Local Wildlife Site

Hastings Country Park Local Wildlife Site

 

A total of 33 Local Wildlife Sites (see map below) were assessed by a combination of desk-top review, GIS analysis and field survey by an Applied Ecology Ltd ecologist.

Local Wildlife Sites in Hastings

Local Wildlife Sites in Hastings

 

The data collected for each site was evaluated against 11 assessment criteria in line with Defra’s guidelines for LWS selection.  These followed those developed by Derek Ratcliffe (the so called ‘Ratcliffe Criteria’) and included, for example, site size, diversity, naturalness etc.  Specific thresholds and limits for measurable criteria were then set, and less tangible value measures applied using professional judgment.  An overall measure of each sites’s ecological value was then evaluated based on the number of qualifying criteria each site possessed, and recommendations made for LWS re-selection or de-selection based on an agreed cut-off.