1. Biodiversity

A wide variety of valuable wildlife habitats exists in the borough. This diverse range of habitats aids the survival of numerous species of flora and fauna, as well as enhancing the character and appearance of the rural environment.

Large parts of the Royal Borough are recognised for their biodiversity value. These include a number of internationally important sites designated through the European Union (Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas) and by international convention (Wetlands of International Importance or Ramsar sites). SACs provide increased protection to a variety of wild animals, plants and habitats and area a vital part of global efforts to conserve the world's biodiversity. SPAs are areas that have been identified as being of international importance for the breeding, feeding, wintering or the migration of rare and vulnerable species of birds, while Ramsar sites are those that are of international importance as wetlands.

International Biodiversity Designation Local Area
Chiltern Beechwoods SAC Bisham Woods
South West London Water Bodies SPA and Ramsar Wraysbury and Hythe End Gravel Pits and Wraysbury No1 Gravel Pit
Thames Basin Heaths SPA Chobham Common
Thursley, Ash Pirbright and Chobham SAC Chobham Common
Windsor Forest and Great Park SAC Windsor Forest and Windsor Great Park

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) are designated by Natural England as the very best wildlife and geological sites in the country. A total of 11 such sites have been designated in the borough. Some of these SSSIs also have further designations as SACs, SPAs or Ramsar sites.

Local Wildlife sites are non-statutory sites of significant value for the conservation of wildlife. They protect threatened habitats, which in turn protects the species making use of them. Sites are identified by the Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre (TVERC), which collects, collates and makes available information on wildlife and geological sites in Berkshire and Oxfordshire. Local Wildlife Sites are designated by the borough council after considering TVERC's recommendations.

In partnership with the other Berkshire local authorities, the council has produced a number of Biodiversity Action Plans. These cover a range of habitats including:

  • Heathland
  • Lowland Unimproved Grasslands
  • Rivers and Associated Floodplains
  • Standing Open Waters and Associated Habitats

Information on key environmental schemes and designations can be accessed via the government maintained MAGIC website.

If you have any wildlife records you would like recorded or would like further information on surveys, please contact the TVERC. All enquiries regarding data searches should be directed to the following address:

TVERC
c/o Oxfordshire County Council
Signal Court
Old Station Way
Eynsham
Oxon
OX29 4TL

Tel: 01865 815451
By Email: [email protected]

Or for specific data requests please contact: [email protected].