Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) are designated under Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (often referred to as the ‘Habitats Directive’). The wider SAC is made up of component Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and these smaller individual sites have legal protection in their own right, as do many of the plant and animal species that depend upon them.

It is the nature of the minerals’ industry that many quarries have these legally protected sites immediately next to them, and some of our clients even have legally protected sites within their own landholdings and are obligated to maintain them at favourable status. In other situations, our clients have entered into agreements to monitor and manage off-site SSSI in order that their quarry operation does not unintentionally result in any degradation. Over the years, AEcol have advised on the design of precautionary strategies that remove the potential for any risk to SSSIs through alterations in quarry management and husbandry.

We’ve also designed monitoring that is sufficient to give a warning far enough in advance that potentially damaging operations can be stopped before the damage is irreversible, and we have sufficient breadth of expertise to be able to design management that yield positive results that are disproportionate to their outlay.