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Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009

Sites of special scientific interest

971.Paragraph 2 amends section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in order to define the circumstances in which Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) may extend below mean low water mark.

972.Statutory nature conservation bodies (Natural England and the Countryside Council for Wales) will be able to notify any land as an SSSI where it lies above mean low water mark or where it is covered by estuarial waters. An SSSI may also include other adjoining land that lies below mean low water mark where any of the conditions in section 28(1C) is satisfied.

973.Paragraphs 5 and 6 make corresponding amendments to sections 28B and 28C of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to enable land lying below mean low water mark to be included in an SSSI where certain conditions are satisfied. Section 28B enables additional land to be added to an SSSI and section 28C enables an SSSI to be enlarged.

974.Paragraph 7 inserts a new section 28CA into the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to enable Ministers to provide guidance to Natural England or the Countryside Council for Wales regarding subtidal SSSIs.

975.Paragraph 8 inserts a new section 28CB into the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, to give Ministers the power to direct the conservation bodies on whether or not land lying below mean low water mark should be included within the NNR if declared. Ministers may also leave the decision to the discretion of the conservation body.

976.Paragraph 9 amends section 28D of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which allows Natural England to denotify areas of land as a SSSI. The amendment made by sub-paragraph (2) will allow a statutory nature conservation body to denotify land where it is of the opinion that the land should no longer be notified because it has instead been designated as (or as part of) an MCZ.

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