Sites of Special Scientific Interest

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) may be ‘special’ because of their plants, animals or habitats, their rocks or landforms, or a combination of these. They are protected by law.

Several of the geological and geomorphological SSSIs contain more than one Geological Conservation Review (GCR) site within their boundaries. There is a total of 26 geological SSSIs in Lochaber.

The largest of these sites cover areas greater than 100 km2 and contain large numbers of valuable ‘geosites’. Some SSSIs are ‘mixed’ and also contain important features of biological interest. Details of  each SSSI can be found at www.ros.gov.uk/sssi.

Background of SSSIs

The most relevant legislation in the 1981 Act concerns SSSIs. It is the duty of Scottish National Heritage (SNH) to notify local planning authorities, owners and occupiers of land, and the Secretary of State, that a locality has SSSI status. Planning authorities thus have a duty to respect SSSI status when considering planning applications.