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Protected sites

Habitats or features with a special value for biodiversity or geodiversity are protected under international, national and local legislation.

International and national designations

Sites protected by international or national legislation found in County Durham include:

  • Ramsar sites
  • International Biosphere Reserves
  • Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)
  • Special Protection Areas (SPA)
  • Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
  • National Nature Reserves (NNR)
  • Local Nature Reserves (LNR)  

Information about these designations can be found on Natural England. You can view interactive maps of their boundaries on the Multi Agency Geographic Information for the Countryside (MAGIC) website.  

Local sites

A further tier of sites protected through the planning system are known as Local Sites. These include:

  • Local Wildlife Sites (formerly known as County Wildlife Sites or Sites of Nature Conservation Importance)
  • Local Geological Sites (formerly known as County Geological and Geomorphological Sites)

Contact us if you have any enquiries about individual Local Sites in County Durham.

Sites protected for wildlife do not necessarily have public access. National Nature Reserves and Local Nature Reserves do have public access.

Contact us
03000 267 135
Our address is:
  • Heritage, Landscape and Design
  • Planning Services
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UQ