West Pennine Moors SSSI

Closed 17 Mar 2017

Opened 17 Nov 2016

Feedback updated 10 Aug 2017

We asked

For your views on the notification of the West Pennine Moors SSSI.

You said

Whether you objected, supported or were neutral towards the notification, see Annex 1 of Natural England Board paper under ‘Board meetings’ at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/natural-england/about/our-governance

See "Results Updated 10 Aug 2017"  for a file showing comments from individuals who were either in support of, or neutral towards the West Pennine Moors SSSI notification. 

We did

Consider all objections and representations.  Officers discussed and clarified points with individuals to ensure the notification documents and evidence were understood, and discussed the meaning of the SSSI in relation to farming and land management.  Officers made recommendations to the Board of Natural England who approved confirmation of the notification with modifications to the boundary map (removing land not considered to be of sufficient special scientific interest) along with changes to the citation (description of the special interest) and views about management to improve their clarity.  The final legal documents are available on this page.

Details of the Board’s decision will be available in due course at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/natural-england/about/our-governance.

The West Pennine Moors SSSI is now protected in perpetuity. 


Results updated 10 Aug 2017

The notification documents were circulated to 180 owners and occupiers and 50 statutory bodies.  38 notices were put up on site, announcements were placed in the local press, and 217 interested parties were informed of the notification.  

Objections were received from 23 owner-occupiers and 3 interested parties. At the time of the Board meeting, 19 July 2017, where Natural England’s Board Members considered representations and objections, there were 22 outstanding objections. 17 of these were wholly or partially unresolved (9% of all representations) and 5 were fully resolved subject to the Board agreeing to adopt the recommendations of local officers in relation to the objections.

272 representations of support were received (88% of all representations) as were 10 neutral representations (9% of total representations).   94% of the supportive representations were received via Defra's Consultation Hub (Defra's Citizenspace).  Supportive representations were received from 4 owner/occupiers within the SSSI, 2 government agencies, 11 local authority wards, parish and town councils, 15 voluntary bodies and 240 interested individuals. 

Four grounds for objection were raised by more than one objector:

  • Inclusion of land as ‘additional upland breeding bird habitat’ supporting the upland moorland and upland in-bye and allotment farmland bird assemblage;
  • Impacts of the SSSI on farming businesses;
  • Use of lead shot and the restriction this would place on shooting; and
  • SSSI notification process.

Other objections were specific to local circumstances.  For details of objections, see the Natural England board paper under 19 July 2017 meeting at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/natural-england/about/our-governance.

At its meeting on 19 July 2017, the Board of Natural England approved the confirmation of the notification of the West Pennine Moors SSSI with modifications to the boundary map, the citation (description of the special interest) and the views about management (VAM).   The final legal documents are on this page.



Parts of the West Pennine Moors were notified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on 17 November 2016 recognising the national importance of the area's upland habitats and breeding birds.

This consultation is to enable people to send their views before Natural England decides whether to confirm or withdraw this notification.

You can submit your views via an online survey, by email or post. 

Before you submit your views, we recommend you read more about the notification.  The Notification document can be found in the related documents section.  


Why your views matter

The West Pennines is a moorland area rising above Manchester and the Lancashire Plain that provides a dramatic backdrop to the surrounding towns.  Within the West Pennine Moors SSSI there is a diverse mosaic of upland habitats with large expanses of blanket bog, heathland, flushes and mire grasslands, species rich grasslands, and woodland.  Collectively, these habitats support a wide range of upland and woodland breeding birds, including large numbers of breeding black headed gulls, Mediterranean gulls and a heronry.  The SSSI also provides habitat for Nationally Rare and Scarce plants: starry lady’s mantle, large-toothed lady’s mantle and floating water plantain.

The West Pennines are a valuable asset for wildlife, businesses, outdoor recreation and water provision.  Balancing the needs of all these interests is critical to the conservation of this upland landscape.  Through SSSI notification parts of the moor are now recognised for their national scientific importance and Natural England hopes this will act as a catalyst for everyone with an interest in the West Pennines to work together to maximise the landscapes’ potential for all concerned.

Working with owners and occupiers, Natural England wants to ensure that the West Pennine Moors SSSI is managed in a way that safeguards its national scientific importance whilst maximing the benefits to businesses and those seeking enjoyment and a sense of wellbeing from the area.   Central to our approach is the management and restoration of blanket bog.  Bogs in good condition provide multiple social benefits including increased water storage in the upper catchments to reduce flood risk downstream, increasing carbon dioxide uptake from the atmosphere as well as providing a unique habitat for wildlife.


What happens next

We are now assessing the response to the consultation and will be making a recommendation to the Board of Natural England in due course.  Natural England has to make a decision to either confirm or withdraw this notification by 16 August 2017 or the notification will cease to exist.  

We will widely promote Natural England's decision. 


  • Charities/Voluntary Organisations
  • Government Agencies
  • Local Authorities
  • Walkers
  • Farmers
  • Tenant Farmers
  • Agricultural Landlords
  • Land Agents
  • Public Bodies
  • Consultants


  • Natural environment
  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation
  • Land management
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Uplands
  • Protecting wildlife