Places designated for their wildlife value are at the core of nature’s recovery; refuges from where wildlife can expand out into surrounding areas, given the chance.
Sites of Special Scientific Interest
Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) are the country’s best wildlife and geological sites. Hampstead Heath Woods SSSI, part of the Kenwood Estate managed by English Heritage, is the only SSSI in Camden. SSSI is a statutory designation, and these sites receive a strong level of protection through legislation.
Site of Importance for Nature Conservation
A Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) is an area that is considered important for its biodiversity value at a London, borough or local level. Designations are declared by the local authority in conjunction with the London Wildlife Sites Board. It is a non-statutory designation, meaning such sites have no protection in law. However, in Camden they are afforded some protection from development through the planning process through policies in the Local Plan .
There are a number of ‘grades’ of SINC designation, reflecting the scale of importance of the area, from Metropolitan for sites important for London, including Hampstead Heath and the Regent’s Canal, to those important at a Local level, with a couple of grades for sites important at a Borough level in between.
Camden has 38 areas designated as Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation, covering almost 414 hectares. Some of these are managed by the Council, the rest owned by various organisations, most notably the City of London Corporation, the Royal Parks and Network Rail. These SINCs form the core of Camden’s wildlife network.
Local Nature Reserves
Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) are sites that are important for wildlife and provide local communities with opportunities to access and engage with nature. They are designated by local authorities, in consultation with Natural England, and as a statutory designation they are afforded some protection through legislation and planning policy. There are four Local Nature Reserves in Camden: Adelaide, Belsize Wood, Westbere Copse, and Camley Street Natural Park.