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A Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI)

March 22, 2013

On the 26th February 2013, Bishop’s Meadow was selected as a SNCI, based on the National Vegetation Classification survey report for Bishop’s Meadow (2013) and using data collected during 2011 and 2012 by the Surrey Wildlife Trust.  The reason for its selection was as follows:

Selected for its species rich grassland habitat supporting 17 plant species typical of grassland of conservation interest in Surrey.  The site is well used by the local community.’

The 17 species are: Sweet Vernal-grass – Anthoxanthum odoratum, Yellow Loosestrife – Lysimachia vulgaris, Water-cress – Nasturtium officinale, Timothy – Phleum pratense, Square-stalked Willowherb – Epilobium tetragonum, Common Sorrel – Rumex acetosa, Meadowsweet – Filipendula ulmaria, Pepper-saxifrage – Silaum silaus, A Hawkweed agg., Marsh Woundwort – Stachys palustris, Meadow Barley – Hordeum brachyantherum, Lesser Stitchwort – Stellaria graminea, Meadow Vetchling – Lathyrus pratensis, Goat’s-beard – Tragopogon pratensis, Oxeye Daisy – Leucanthemum vulgare, Hairy Tare – Vicia hirsute and Common Bird’s-foot Trefoil – Lotus corniculatus.

Non-statutory designated sites, or Sites of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCIs) as they are known in Surrey, are identified on account of the habitats and flora/fauna they support and are of County or regional wildlife importance.  They are selected by a panel of professional ecologists who together comprise the Surrey Nature Conservation Liaison Group (SNCLG), which includes representatives from Surrey County Council, district and borough councils across the County, English Nature, the Surrey Wildlife Trust, the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG), the Environment Agency and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Once identified, designation and protection of the areas are done by local authorities through planning policies in their development plans. National government guidance requires all development plans to include such policies.

Bishop’s Meadow falls within the administrative areas of Waverley Borough.  359 sites in Waverley were initially surveyed between 1993 and 1997 as part of a Borough wide review carried out by the Surrey Wildlife Trust on behalf of the Borough Council and Surrey County Council.  167 SNCIs were originally identified across Waverley, all of which were adopted by the Borough Council and incorporated into the adopted Waverley Borough Local Plan, 2002, as Policy C10.  Subsequent to this date, a limited number of additional sites such as Bishop’s Meadow have been evaluated by the SNCLG and added to the list of SNCIs in Waverley on the basis of information provide by relevant organisations or individuals.

This is wonderful news for the Bishop’s Meadow Trust, the people of Farnham and of course the meadows and the wildlife they support.

The Bishop’s Meadow Trust would like to say a huge thank you to the Surrey Wildlife Trust and in particular Isobel for helping us to save and look after this wonderful place.

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