Nature conservation

There is a wide variety of natural habitats within our landscape. The protection and enhancement of these habitats with their plant and animal species are guided by environmental legislation and through policies contained in the Local Plan.

The Sherwood Forest area is currently being considered as a future Special Protection Area (SPA) (opens in a new window), which is a site of European importance. It is being looked at as part of a UK-wide review led by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affaris (DEFRA) (opens in a new window).

SPAs are designated to protect rare and vulnerable bird populations and their habitats, in this case, Nightjar and Woodlark.

Although the area is under review, Natural England (opens in a new window) has advised us that we should take a risk-based approach [968kb] (opens in new window) towards development in order to avoid or reduce its impact upon the protected birds and their habitats.

Our approach is set out in the following documents:

Nationally important sites

There are six sites in our district that have been labelled as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) (opens in a new window). These are protected sites which have significant nature conservation value.

Policy NE2 of the Mansfield District Local Plan applies to development that would affect an SSSI area.

All national and European designated sites mentioned above can be viewed on the DEFRA Magic Map (opens in a new window).

Locally important sites

Mansfield has many sites of local nature conservation importance. There are over 80 Local Wildlife Sites (opens in a new window) and nine Local Nature Reserves in the district.

In addition to nature conservation, sites can also be designated for their geological interest. These sites are known as Local Geological Sites (opens in a new window). There are 13 in the district.

Policy NE2 of the Mansfield District Local Plan relates to development that would affect these areas.

Protected species

A number of species are protected by national and European laws (opens in a new window). The presence of protected species, such as bats, in the district is taken into account in planning applications.

Local Nature Recovery Strategy

Mansfield District Council is assisting Nottinghamshire County Council in preparing a Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS) for the county. Local Nature Recovery Strategies were established by the Environment Act 2021 and aim to help reverse the ongoing decline of nature in England. The LNRS seeks to establish priorities for nature recovery and identify locations to create or improve habitat most likely to provide the greatest benefit for nature and the wider environment, and in doing so contribute to the national Nature Recovery Network.  The LNRS will also inform the delivery of mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) and help to guide local planning policy for nature recovery.

More information on the LNRS is available on Nottinghamshire County Council’s website by following the link below:

Local Nature Recovery Strategy | Nottinghamshire County Council

For more information on Mansfield District Council’s approach to Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) please visit our Biodiversity Net Gain webpage.