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Vision for Sutton Heath

Suffolk Coastal District Council is teaming up with Natural England and The Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB team to deliver an open day session on Sutton Heath’s new management plan.

The Site Management Plan sets out a vision for the Sutton Heath, an area which continues to be protected both as an internationally important Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for heathland and a community woodland environment maintained for informal recreation.

A Site Management Plan is an easy to read document that helps explain a sites qualities, facilities and wildlife detailing a forward work plan which helps to maintain the site in Natural England’s designation of, favourable condition. The site management plans are agreed in partnership with Natural England and checks are undertaken annually to ensure that SSSI’s do not fall out of favourable condition.

birdwatchers-laughing-dmoThe session will be held on the Sutton Heath site and is an opportunity for users to find out about the newly developed management plan, the forward plan for maintenance and heathland restoration at the site and an opportunity to answer any questions people may have.

Cllr Carol Poulter, Cabinet Member for Green Environment, said: “Sutton Heath is a popular and well used site by families, horse riders, dog walkers, bird watchers and conservationists, making it an important destination in our District. Therefore, it’s important we develop a balanced approach to the management of the site to ensure we meet the needs of both the recreational users and the Councils legal obligations and duty to manage the heathland to Natural England’s designated site specifications.”

Steve Gilby, Senior Advisor for Norfolk and Suffolk from Natural England, said: “Sutton Heath is a vital part of Sutton and Hollesley Heath SSSI which is one of the last Bastions of Lowland Heathland left in Europe and has International Importance. It is a well-used recreational site used by the public, so it is vital we get the correct and appropriate management in place to safeguard its future for all to enjoy. The management plan is the key to enabling Suffolk Coastal to provide sensitive but essential ongoing management to achieve Favourable status while allowing its users full access to a range of habitats and a chance to be part of a unique site.”

The open day session takes place at Sutton Heath on Monday 24 October between 8am – 2.30pm. The team will be located in the south car park off the B0183.

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