Local Sites are a comprehensive network of sites of nature conservation importance, designated as either Local Wildlife Sites (LWS) or Local Geological Sites (LGS) according to their key features of interest. They provide refuges for wildlife and represent local character and distinctiveness, complementing other designation site networks.
Local Wildlife Sites are important to future ecological networks, because they not only provide wildlife refuges in their own right but can act as stepping stones and corridors to link and protect nationally and internationally designated sites.'Making Space for Nature' report to DEFRA Sep 2010
Local Wildlife Sites
Areas that hold important, distinctive and/or threatened species or habitats across the county.
Local Geological Sites
Important geological and geomorphological sites which have been identified as being of great importance locally.
Local Sites are important areas of our countryside that have only survived as a result of the way they have been managed. Designating an area as a Local Site is a way to recognise their important value. Local Sites are non-statutory designated areas, and as such the owner of the land remains in control of how the land is managed. All existing Rights of Way remain unchanged by the designation and no additional Rights of Way or access are created.
Designations may have been made as long as over 30 years ago and as land ownership changes hands people may be unaware that they are custodian of a Local Site. Northumberland Wildlife Trust is currently in the process of contacting landowners/land managers and gaining permission to revisit sites and survey them.
Local Sites Partnership
The administrative areas of Northumberland, Newcastle and North Tyneside have chosen to work together as one Local Sites Partnership. This partnership is repsonsible for determining which sites are selected for designation.
Criteria have been developed by this partnership for the selection of Local Wildlife Sites (please note these are constantly reviewed and revised).
There are currently 224 Local Sites designated in Northumberland, 26 in Newcastle and 22 in North Tyneside.
During the summer of 2016, Northumberland Wildlife Trust was commissioned to undertake a review of the inventory of LWS for Newcastle and North Tyneside (£25K). The majority of sites retained their designation and the team has successfully identified two new LWS – the ponds to the north of Big Waters and Scotswood Community Gardens.