Barnsley Biodiversity Trust logo Barnsley Biodiversity Trust: Barnsley Biodiversity Action Plan. DRAFT Last Updated August 2019

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

Legal protection

In Barnsley the Lowland Meadow / Neutral Grassland SSSIs have legal protection..

Some Neutral Grassland sites are in Local Wildlife Sites with a presumption against development or change of use when planning consent is required.

Specific wildlife species iare 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 apply to species-rich grasslands.

Good management practice for biodiversity:

Maintaining or returning to traditional low-intensity farming of semi-natural unimproved or semi-improved grassland.

In addition

* 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

Links for advice and information

Magnificent Meadows: Guidance

RSPB: Grazing grassland; Hay meadows

RSPB: Grassland management for birds

Buglife: Grassland management

Buglife: Community meadows

NE: Assessing grassland priority habitat

NE: Grassland management handbook

NE: Horses & grassland management

Priority Grassland characteristics from Natural England Assessing Priority Habitat
At least two of:

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

Great Burnet meadow next to the  River Dearne