Identifying and selecting SINCs
SINCs are identified using data, gathered from a variety of sources. These may include biological surveys (conducted with owner permission) or documents such as the Inventory of Ancient Woodland for Hampshire.
SINCs form part of a wider national network of non-statutory locally valued wildlife sites. These are generally administered by local authorities in partnership with conservation organisations. All sites are assessed against detailed criteria developed by Hampshire County Council, Natural England and the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.
A site may qualify as a SINC due to the presence of a notable species or an important habitat.
Key habitats include ancient woodlands, old meadows, chalk downland, heathland and wetlands. A site may also qualify if it supports a rich assemblage of species. In Hampshire this system supports over 3700 sites (9% of Hampshire's land area) which contributes significantly to delivering both UK and Hampshire Biodiveristy Action Plan targets.
Detailed data on the wildlife interest of each SINC is held by the Hampshire Biodiversity Information Centre (HBIC) which has been established to bring together information on Hampshire’s natural environment. This information is available to all owners and managers of SINCs, as well as others who have an interest.