Introduction to the guidance manual
4. Designations covered by common standards monitoring

 

 

 

 

 

While common standards monitoring was designed for SSSIs, ASSIs, cSACs, SPAs and Ramsar sites, in principle the approach could be applied to any defined area holding specific features of conservation interest (e.g. statutory voluntary nature reserves), although consideration of the level of targets set may be necessary.


4.1 UK sites as at 31 March 2003
Designation
Number of Sites
(ha)
Special Protection Areas
240
1,436,609
candidate Special Areas of Conservation
576
2,405,778
Ramsar
144
758,782
Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
6,586
2,335,405
Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI)
196
92,033
SSSI + ASSI
6,782
2,427,438
 
Protected sites vary enormously, both in extent and number of interest features. They range from enclosed fields of less than a hectare notified for a single rare species, to extensive tracts of unenclosed upland covering tens of thousands of hectares and containing over 20 different interest features.

4.2 Multiple Designations
Many areas of wildlife interest in the UK have multiple site designations. The relationship between them in terms of site boundaries and interest features is often complex. For example, all but a handful of candidate SACs and SPAs in the UK are underpinned by SSSI or ASSI designation, but the cSAC may be made up of a number of component SSSI/ASSIs. In addition, the SSSI/ASSIs may have been notified for a different suite of habitats and species. Almost all Ramsar sites are also Natura 2000 sites, but the interest features are not necessarily identical.
 
From a monitoring perspective, an important principle is that data must be collected in such a way as to allow a separate assessment of each individual interest feature.