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Draft Biodiversity Strategy

We consulted on a draft Bury Biodiversity Strategy between 9th January 2024 and 20th February 2024.

The Biodiversity Strategy considers the current state of biodiversity in Bury, the key issues, and what we can do to conserve and enhance biodiversity.

The consultation has now closed.

To view the draft strategy and consultation page click here

The Borough’s Biodiversity assets

Bury has:

  • 2 Sites of Special Scientific Interest
  • 49 Sites of Biological Importance
  • 13 ancient woodlands
  • 7 local nature reserves
  • A number of protected species.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs)

SSSIs are of national importance for their wildlife, geology or landform and are designated by Natural England. Bury has two SSSIs. One is a small part of the West Pennine Moors SSSI and the other is at Ash Clough on the Bury/Bolton boundary.

West Pennine Moors is designated for the quality of its mosaic of upland and upland fringe habitats. Ash Clough is a river cliff important for the geology exposed.

The sites are protected by acts of parliament such as the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act and the 2000 Countryside and Rights of Way Act.

Sites of Biological Importance (SBIs)

Bury currently has 49 Sites of Biological Importance, which are Bury's best sites for flora and fauna. They are surveyed and designated on behalf of Bury and the other districts of Greater Manchester by the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit. They are a category of site described nationally as 'sites of local biodiversity interest' and are protected by Unitary Development Plan Policies EN6/1 and EN6/2.

Ancient woodlands

Ancient woodland is defined as an area that has been continuously wooded since 1600. It is viewed as an irreplaceable habitat. The Borough has two main groups of ancient woodland, on Irwell tributary valleys at Nuttall & Broadhey, Ramsbottom and around Ringley, Whitefield/Prestwich.

Local Nature Reserves (LNRs)

Nature reserves are designated by Local Authorities under the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act as places for people to enjoy and learn about nature. In December 1997 Bury Council adopted a target, recommended by English Nature, of having one hectare of local nature reserve per 1000 people.

Bury currently has 7 declared local nature reserves, which are protected by Unitary Development Plan EN6/2. There is more information on them here.

Protected species

A number of protected species protected by European and National legislation are present in the borough. They include great crested newts, bats and badgers. Under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act it is a crime to deliberately harm or damage the habitat of such species.

Anyone seeking to work on land occupied by a protected species should seek the advice of a qualified ecologist.

In Greater Manchester there is a District Level Licensing (DLL) scheme for Great Crested Newts, which is a simpler alternative to seeking a traditional licence to carry out work affecting a protected species. For more information about wildlife sites and protected species, visit the Greater Manchester Record Centre website.

Wildlife corridors and links

Wildlife corridors are the routes by which species migrate or extend their territory. Without them habitats would be smaller, fragmented and of less value. It is therefore important that the corridors, some of which are very narrow, are not severed.

The borough's wildlife corridors are protected by Unitary Development Plan policy EN6/4 and are the subject of a Supplementary Planning Guidance Note.

Other features of ecological value

The borough's Unitary Development Plan recognises that there may be areas or features of wildlife interest which do not fall into the above categories. These are protected by Plan policy EN6/3.

Biodiversity net gain

From 12th February 2024, all major housing developments are required to deliver at least a  10% net gain in Biodiversity. This is a new national requirement and is an enactment of s98 of the 2021 Environment Act. From 2nd April 2024, all minor developments will be required to deliver at least a 10% net gain in Biodiversity.

Biodiversity net gains (BNG) can be delivered either fully or in part through on-site habitat, off-site habitat, or as a last resort, the purchase of statutory biodiversity credits.

Policy JP-G 9 of the draft development strategy for Greater Manchester, 'Places for Everyone', requires new developments in Greater Manchester to produce a 10% gain in value, which can be demonstrated using the biodiversity metric developed by Natural England.

For further information, you may wish to visit: