Ashdown Forest SAC
Large parts of Ashdown Forest (2,729 hectares) are designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The SAC status was awarded because Ashdown Forest contains one of the largest single continuous blocks of lowland heath in south-east England. The SAC designation recognises the special nature of the vegetation found within Ashdown Forest, namely European dry heaths and North Atlantic wet heath and affords it legal protection by the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended) which transposes the requirements of the European Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC).
The main threat to the SAC relates to air pollution and the Council has commissioned a number of reports that include considering the effect of new development on the Ashdown Forest SAC with regards to an increase in additional traffic movements resulting from development across the forest. These studies are provided below:
- Ashdown Forest Air Quality Monitoring and Modelling August 2018 – Part One
- Ashdown Forest Air Quality Monitoring and Modelling August 2018 – Part Two
- Ecus Ltd Report Ecological Monitoring at Ashdown Forest: considering the current and future impacts on the SAC caused by Air Quality and Nitrogen Deposition – Main Report – July 2018
- Ecus Ltd Report Ecological Monitoring at Ashdown Forest: considering the current and future impacts on the SAC caused by Air Quality and Nitrogen Deposition – Main Report – Appendices – July 2018
- GTA Civils Consulting Engineers Ashdown Forest Traffic Model Technical Note – April 2018
- Natural England Discretionary Advice Service – Ashdown Forest SAC: air quality monitoring and modelling – February 2018
- Ashdown Forest Special Protection Area (SPA) Strategic Access Management and Monitoring Strategy (SAMM) Tariff Guidance – May 2018
Ashdown Forest SPA
Large parts of the Ashdown Forest (3,205 hectares) are designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA). The SPA status was awarded for a number of qualifying individual species that includes the Dartford Warbler and nightjar that the SPA supports during their breeding season. Natural England last published the conservation objectives for Ashdown Forest SPA on 21 February 2019 where it aims to ensure that the integrity of the site is maintained or restored as appropriate, and ensure that the site contributes to achieving the aims of the Wild Birds Directives. The main threats to those qualifying features includes the disturbance by humans and recreational activities, development pressure and the loss of nesting/feeding habitats. The Ashdown Forest SPA is also legally protected through the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended).
The Ashdown Forest Visitor Studies are available below:
- Ashdown Forest SPA Mitigation Zone Background Paper – January 2019
- Ashdown Forest Visitor Survey 2016
- Footprint Ecology – Visitor Surveys at Potential SANGs Sites in Wealden – April 2015
- Ashdown Forest Visitor Survey Data Analysis – September 2010
- UE Associates Visitor Access Patterns on the Ashdown Forest Report for Mid Sussex District Council and Wealden District Council – September 2009
The Pevensey Levels, between Eastbourne and Bexhill, is one of the largest and least fragmented lowland wet grassland systems in the southeast of England. The Pevensey Levels site is designated as a Ramsar site for the outstanding assemblage of ditch flora and fauna supporting wetland plants, invertebrates including the rare Fen Raft spider, aquatic beetles and dragonflies amongst others species.
The Pevensey Levels is also designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The SAC status was awarded for the presence of the Ramshorn snail which can be found here in both a wide spatial distribution and in good population densities. The Pevensey Levels are required to be protected from any detrimental development impacts that may affect its environmental designations.
Information and studies relating to Pevensey Levels are provided below:
- Southern Water Wastewater Position Statement – December 2018
- Pevensey Levels Air Quality Modelling – August 2018 (pdf)
- Natural England Discretionary Advice Service to Wealden District Council on Pevensey Levels Special Area of Conservation and Ramsar Site – December 2017
Previous reports in relation to impact of development within Wealden District on hydrology/ wastewater for the Pevensey Levels are also available below:
- Wealden and Rother Core Strategies Appropriate Assessment, Hydrology for the Pevensey Levels Report – September 2010
- Wealden and Rother Core Strategies – Appropriate Assessment – Hydrology local to the Pevensey Levels Report and appendices – September 2010
- Environment Agency Pevensey Levels SSSI Water Level Management – December 2006
Lewes Downs SAC
The Lewes Downs has been designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a National Nature Reserve (NNR), due to its orchid-rich chalk grassland and scrub vegetation, which contains numerous southern and oceanic-southern species. It also supports a rich invertebrate fauna, including moths and a breeding community of downland birds.
The reports below consider the potential for adverse air quality impacts on the Lewes Downs Special Area of Conservation (SAC). These assessments are intended to assist Wealden District council in meeting its duty in relation to Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended) as relevant to plan making.
- Air Quality input for the Habitats Regulations Assessment: Lewes Downs Air Quality Modelling – August 2018