- What is bodiversity?
- Why is bodiversity important?
- How biodiversity is protected and managed
- Designated areas - national
- Getting involved
- Life ECOnet project
Information local to Cheshire West and Chester
- Principal habitats and features
- Local nature conservation policies
- Sites of biological importance (SBIs)
- Sites of nature conservation value (SNCVs)
- Cheshire biodiversity action plan (CrBAP)
- Local geodiversity
- Local nature reserves
- Biodiversity enquiries
Principal habitats and features
Cheshire West is a borough of contrasting landscapes - wooded river valleys and sandstone hills, meres and mosses, estuaries and heaths, industrial wastelands and old parklands - all set within a matrix of intensively productive farmland and urban development. The diversity of landscape types, in turn, supports a fragile and vulnerable wealth of different types of wildlife habitats, some of which are of national and international importance, for example: lowland heath, peatland, grassland, ancient woodland, rivers and estuaries, glacial meres, ponds, hedgerows, historic and notable trees and artificial habitats.
Local nature conservation policies
The Council helps to ensure the conservation of biodiversity through the Development Control process. The Biodiversity section of the Council's Natural Environment team are consulted on any planning applications received that may have an adverse effect on nature conservation.
In Cheshire West, policies for the protection, conservation and enhancement of biodiversity are set out in the Development Plans of the former District Councils and in the former County Structure Plan.
- View the Local Plans page for links to the Local Plan documents.
Sites of Biological Importance (SBIs)
Sites of Biological Importance (SBIs) is the name given to the most important non-statutory sites for nature conservation in Cheshire. SBIs are recognised by Cheshire West and Chester Council and Cheshire Wildlife Trust, with the advice of Natural England, as being of importance for nature conservation in a county (Grade A), district (Grade B) or more than local (Grade C) context for the habitats, plant or animal communities or species they support.
SBIs complement the series of statutorily designated SSSIs, but do not receive any statutory protection other than through the policies contained in the former County Council Structure, Minerals, Waste and the former District Local Plans.
More information about the SBI system is available in a Handbook. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
The Council currently maintains the register of SBIs, which, as of December 2009, includes 287 sites in the Cheshire West area.
Sites of Nature Conservation Value (SNCVs)
In addition to SBIs, Sites of Nature Conservation Value (SNCVs) have been designated by the former Chester City and Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Councils. SNCV receive a level of protection through policies in the former district development plans.
The SNCVs in the former Chester City area originated from a Nature Conservation Audit undertaken in 1994 and were all systematically reviewed as part of the Chester District Biodiversity Audit (2006-9). As a result of the Audit, SNCVs which had become SBIs between 1994 â€“ 2005 were declassified.
SNCVs in Ellesmere Port were identified from a 1996 borough wide Natural Asset survey and were then adopted in 1999. Since then several of the sites have been incorporated into the SBI register.
Cheshire Biodiversity Action Plan (CrBAP)
The Cheshire Local Biodiversity Action Plan (also known as Countdown) contains all the species and habitats that are identified as being in need of assistance in the Cheshire region. There is an Action Plan for each species or habitat, with current status, trends, targets and actions included. More information about how you can help these species or habitats can be obtained by clicking on the link below.
There are also Local Biodiversity Action Plan action groups which you can join to help. They do things such as monitoring, data gathering and helping out with events, as well as co-ordinating with other LBAP groups across the region. You can find out more about these groups by following the link to the Cheshire LBAP site.
The Cheshire LBAP, along with all the other LBAP's in the UK feed into the UK BAP.
The form and landscape of Cheshire West, a low, flat plain with a series of small prominent sandstone ridges, is reflective of its geology. The Cheshire Plain extends from the broad Mersey Valley, in the north, to the Shropshire Hills in the south. To the west the plain is bounded by the hills of the Welsh borders, and to the north-east by the foothills of the Pennines. Apart from a small outcrop of Carboniferous rocks in the north-east corner of the County, the solid geology of Cheshire West comprises Triassic mudstones and sandstones that were deposited on a wide desert plain. These rocks are throughout Cheshire overlain by Quaternary glacial deposits, largely consisting of till (or boulder clay), with local deposits of silt, peat, sand and gravels.
Rising up from the Plain are a number of small sandstone ridges and scarps formed from the Lower Triassic Sherwood Sandstone, such as the northern end of an outcrop which runs through central Cheshire between Malpas and Tarporley (this is the Peckforton Hills).
RIGs in Cheshire are identified by a Cheshire RIGs Group. RIGs complement the series of statutorily designated SSSls, but do not receive any statutory protection other than through the policies contained in the Former District Development Plans, Former County Structure Plan and Minerals and Waste Plans. There are currently 24 RIGS within the borough of Cheshire West.
A Cheshire Region LGAP (Local Geodiversity Action Plan) Group has been produced with the aim of contributing to the maintenance and improvement of the well being of the Cheshire region by producing a Cheshire LGAP to safeguard the geology, geomorphology, soils and landscapes of the area.