Sites of national importance
The conservation of geological and geomorphological features is part of the statutory duty of the bodies caring for National Parks, National Nature Reserves, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and it is embedded in government planning policy through Planning Policy Statement 9 (PPS9).
The government agency, Natural England, is responsible for managing SSSIs. Sites designated as geological SSSIs were selected following the Geological Conservation Review (GCR), a major survey carried out mainly between 1977 and 1990 to identify the key geological sites of Great Britain.
Sites of regional or local importance
|There are many geological sites of regional or local value, worthy of being recorded and conserved for scientific, educational, historical or aesthetic reasons. These sites are known as Regionally Important Geological / Geomorphological Sites (RIGS) or Local Geological Sites (LGS). They complement the range of SSSIs but do not enjoy the same statutory protection.
The sites are selected and surveyed by county-based geoconservation groups, such as the members of The Geology Trusts and a partner organisation, GeoConservation UK. Site details are forwarded to the relevant government Local Authority, and protection of the site is encouraged through the planning process.
The site may be listed in local development plans and its importance taken into account in making planning decisions.