Those who damage environment will pay under changes to law

Law changes mean sites of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) now enjoy more protection and those who damage trees, plants and other wildlife will have to pay for replanting.

Tweaks to the Environmental Damage Regulations for England mean that from 1 March a "polluter pays" principle rules that those who cause harm must pay to restore environment to its previous condition.

Environmental damage includes that done to protected species and habitats, water and soil. The operator will be liable for the environmental damage caused.

England has over 4,000 SSSIs, covering about 7% of the country's land area. But they are under growing pressure from development, pollution and climate change.

"They must be preserved for their importance in wildlife conservation, their contributions to ecosystem services and their value for future generations."

The Environmental Damage Regulations 2009 transpose Directive 2004/35/EC, otherwise known as the Environmental Liability Directive, into English law.

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