Countryside site designations
Important sites are often recognised by being given statutory protection.
There are a number of different site designations given for different reasons. These include:
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
An AONB is designated for its landscape and scenic beauty. This means that an AONB is not necessarily an area of high nature conservation value, but in practice it often includes many areas which are.
Green Flag Award
The Green Flag Award is the national standard for parks and green spaces in England and Wales.
Local Nature Reserves
Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) are for both people and wildlife. They are places with wildlife or geological features that are of interest locally, which give people special opportunities to study and learn about them or simply enjoy and have contact with nature.
- National Nature Reserve
- Regionally Important Geological Site
- Scheduled Ancient Monument
Site of Nature Conservation Interest
Sites of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI) have regional or local conservation value.
Site of Special Scientific Interest
Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) represent the UK's best sites for wildlife and geology.
- Special Areas of Conservation
A European Commission directive in 1992 established a series of high quality Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) across Europe that would make a significant contribution to conserving habitats and species.
- Special Protection Areas
Special Protection Areas (SPAs) are designated under the European Commission Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds (1979).
World Heritage Sites
World Heritage Sites are places of 'outstanding universal value' selected by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation).