HL Deb 27 July 1988 vol 500 cc372-3WA
Lord Melchett

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will list those Sites of Special Scientific Interest in Dorset which have been damaged or destroyed in the last three years due to (a) agricultural or forestry operations; (b) consents issued under the town and country planning legislation; (c) oil/gas pipelines; or (d) fire; and whether they will state what action is being taken to conserve southern heathlands in Dorset.

The Earl of Caithness

I am advised by the Nature Conservancy Council that no SSSI in Dorset has been destroyed in the last three years. The following sites have sustained some degree of damage:—

Agricultural or Forestry Operations

  • Haydon and Askerwell Downs
  • Hurn Common
  • Newlands Batch
  • Purewell Meadows
  • Thrashers Heath
  • Verwood Heath

Consent Issued Under the Town and Country Planning Legislation

  • Bourne Valley
  • Canford Heath
  • Chesil Beach and The Fleet
  • Hyde Heath
  • Isle of Portland
  • Lodmoor
  • Poole Harbour
  • Radipole Lake
  • Sandsfoot Castle Grove
  • Stoborough Heath
  • Upton Heath
  • Harmwell Heath

Oil-Gas Pipelines

  • Avon Valley
  • Corfe Meadows
  • Hartland Moor
  • Molt Heath
  • Hurn Common
  • Matchams
  • Moors River
  • Poole Harbour
  • Stoborough Heath


  • Canford Heath
  • Upton Heath

In some cases the damage has been slight and the sites are expected to recover. In other cases steps are being or will be taken to minimise the effects of damage.

The SSS1 system provides the framework necessary to ensure that the importance of this type of habitat for nature conservation is taken fully into account in land use decisions concerning Dorset heathland. We shall be considering with the NCC whether any changes in the way in which the system has been applied to southern heathlands would be appropriate.