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Sites of special scientific interest

A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is an area protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 because it contains wildlife or geological or land features that are of special importance.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) protect these important assets for the benefit of current and future generations. There are over 1,000 SSSIs in Wales covering almost 12 per cent of the country.

Natural Resources Wales, select sites based on scientific criteria (published by the UK Joint Nature Conservation Committee) Natural Resources Wales must notify Welsh Ministers (and other interests) of their opinion that an area is of special interest. They must also, after a period of 9 months, confirm or withdraw the notification.

Some SSSIs are further recognised for their international importance. These may  also be classified as:

Details of all SSSIs in Wales, including location, reason for notification, condition and management team contact details, can be found on the Natural Resources Wales Website (external link).

Land near or within a SSSI must be managed in a way that helps conserve its special wildlife and geological features. Guidance on what you need to do if you are a land owner or occupier in or near an SSSI is available from Natural Resources Wales (external link).