Protecting sites of special scientific interest: Intrinsic and utilitarian values

Clive L. Spash, Ian A. Simpson

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Great Britain faces ever-growing threats to the countryside from an expanding population and urban-industrial sprawl. In addition, areas which are designated as worthy of protection can be threatened by more gradual erosion via rural development. Current legislation in Great Britain has set up a class of protected land under the designation Site of Special Scientific Interest. However, what exactly is to be protected, and how, are questions largely left unanswered. The designation of a site as being of conservation value requires an agency which enforces protection from rural development. We analyse the role played by such a conservation agency under alternative environmental valuation philosophies. We show how the values underlying the motive for conservation will affect the environmental management process chosen, with particular emphasis on the role of rural development. This provides contrasting views as to the future for countryside management, and focuses concern on the current trend towards the free market in which trade-offs based upon the anthropocentric usefulness of nature are fundamental.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-227
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Conservation management
  • Land use
  • SSSIs
  • Utilitarian and intrinsic values

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