Statutory Sites & Local Sites: An Overview


There are a large number of statutory and non-statutory conservation sites in Birmingham and the Black Country that are designated for their nature conservation and/or geological importance.



Statutory Sites (SACs, SSSIs & LNRs)


Sutton Park
Sutton Park SSSI

These include sites that are important on a European Scale (Special Areas of Conservation or SACs) as well as sites that are important on a national scale (Sites of Special Scientific Interest or SSSIs). These are statutory sites, as the important features of these sites are protected by law from development and other damage.


In addition to the above statutory sites, Birmingham and the Black Country contains several Local Nature Reserves (LNRs). These are places with wildlife or geological features that are of special interest locally. Often LNRs also have good public access thus providing people with the opportunity to enjoy and experience the local wildlife [1]


Cuckoo's Nook
Cuckoo's Nook and The Dingle LNR

Like SACs and SSSIs, LNRs are statutory sites and as such, are given protection against damaging operations and also certain protection against development on and around them.




Local Sites (SINCs & SLINCS)


The Leasowes
The Leasowes SINC

Birmingham and the Black Country also contains a large number of sites which are important for their nature conservation value, which are not covered by the above statutory designations  - these do not have a statutory status, but are recognised in the planning system.  Sites such as these are known as Local Sites.


Nationally there are a number of different terms in use to describe Local Sites. In Birmingham and the Black Country the titles ‘Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation’ (SINCs) and ‘Sites of Local Importance for Nature Conservation’ (SLINCs) are used. These include sites of geological importance.


SINCs and SLINCs are identified through a process of site survey, and then, using the information gathered, evaluation against the Local Sites criteria.  

Due to the dynamic characteristics of the landscape, sites may lose or gain ecological interest. This means that there may be sites of importance that we may not yet know about.




Information about the Local Wildlife Site Assessment criteria in Birmingham and the Black Country is available to download here





Other Sites (Potential Sites of Importance)


Londonderry Playing Fields, Smethwick
Londonderry Playing Fields, Smethwick PSI


There are sites that potentially contain areas of important semi-natural habitat but currently fall outside of the Local Site system.


These sites potentially contribute to the overall cohesion and resilience of the wider ecological network by providing a buffer to, or direct link / ‘stepping-stone’ between other existing important areas. 


Many of these sites were identified through a combination of aerial photo interpretation, historic maps and species data.  For some sites, recent survey information exists, and they may meet the Local Site criteria, but are yet to be evaluated against the Local Site Criteria and/or are yet to complete the formal adoption process.