Conservation. Species-rich Neutral Grassland sites in Barnsley are small in area, localised and fragmented; with many lost or declining in condition: Neutral Grassland is a priority for conservation.
Factors causing loss or decline
In Barnsley the Lowland Meadow / Neutral Grassland SSSIs have legal protection..
Neutral Grassland sites in Local Wildlife Sites have a presumption against development or change of use if planning consent is required.
Specific wildlife species are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. This includes intentionally or recklessly disturbing birds at, on or near an ‘active’ nest.
Defra Ecological Impact Assessments may apply to species-rich grasslands.
Links for advice and information
Magnificent Meadows: Guidance
Buglife: Grassland management
Good management practice for biodiversity:
Maintaining or returning to traditional low-intensity farming of semi-natural unimproved or semi-improved grassland.
* Other indicators of favourable condition may include ≥ 10 cm height of sward in June/July; < 10% rye grasses and white clover; < 10% tall grasses; < 25% plant debris litter layer
Neutral Grassland BAP priority habitat in favourable condition* is denoted by:
≥ 2 frequent/2 occasional Lowland Meadow indicator species or ≥ 1 frequent floodplain meadow indicator species and 3 occasional indicator species in floodplain meadows
≥ 20% cover of wildflowers and sedges excluding undesirable species (below), creeping buttercup and white clover
< 5% undesirable species eg dock, nettle, thistle, ragwort, cow parsley,bracken,
< 5% cover of invasive trees and scrub
< 30% indicators of water logging - rushes,reeds, large sedges etc
< 10% extent of bare ground *
From Farm Environment Plan guidance
Neutral Grassland Conservation
The best form of management is ‘cut and remove’ in late summer – preferably as a hay crop.
This maintains a lower level of fertility that benefits herb species.
Grazing after cutting in autumn and very early spring encourages plant diversity in meadows.
See also guidance and requirements
for Countryside Stewardship and
New Environmental Land Management Schemes