Natural England have acted to prosecute a farmer for damage to a SSSI
The farmer had created a track, undertaken significant earthworks and felled and removed trees and vegetation. The actions damaged the woodland, mire and physiographic features of the SSSI. The farmer pleaded guilty to three charges under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. York Magistrates Court handed down a fine and ordered the farmer contribute towards Natural England's costs.
This prosecution serves as a reminder to ensure landowners are aware of the obligations and restrictions that may attach to SSSIs. Each SSSI has a list of operations that need regulator's prior consent. SSSI land designations are common in rural land with over 4,000 SSSIs in England and 1,000 in Wales, covering around 8% and 12% of the land area respectively.