Sites of Special Scientific Interest 

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in England, Scotland and Wales

Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs) in Northern Ireland

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) are those sites which in the opinion of Natural England, the Countryside Council for Wales or Scottish Natural Heritage, are of special national interest by reason of their flora, fauna, and/or geological or physiographic (geomorphological) features. Such sites are notified to all land owners and occupiers and local authorities, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 (as amended)in England, Wales and Scotland. 

Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs)are similarly notified by the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland under The Environment (Northern Ireland) Order (2002). 

Notification of SSSIs / ASSIs carries with it statutory protection for those sites and their features of interest. The notification includes a list of Operations Likely to Damage (OLDs) the features of special interest and which cannot be carried out without the written approval of the relevant national nature conservation body (as set out above). Notification also includes a statement on views about the management (VAMs) of the site and the type of management required to conserve the special features in good condition. 

All public bodies in the UK have a statutory duty to further the conservation and enhancement of SSSIs or ASSIs and their special interest features. This duty applies to public bodies when they plan and undertake their own projects and also when authorising the plans and projects of others (e.g. through grant of planning consent).

Find SSSIs in England

Find SSSIs Scotland

Find SSSIs Wales

Find ASSIs in Northern Ireland