Regionally Important Geological and Geomorphological Sites


egionally Important Geological and Geomorphological Sites (RIGS), identified by locally developed criteria, are currently the most important places for geology and Geologygeomorphology outside statutorily protected land such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest Pages marked with this symbol are exclusively written for Naturenet (SSSI) which include sites of earth science importance as well as biological ones.

RIGS are selected in a different way to Earth science SSSIs, which are chosen on a national basis. RIGS are selected on a local or regional basis using four nationally agreed criteria:

• The value of the site for educational purposes in life long learning.
• The value of the site for study by both professional and amateur Earth scientists.
• The historical value of the site in terms of important advances in Earth science knowledge, events or human exploitation.
• The aesthetic value of a site in the landscape, particularly in relation to promoting public awareness and appreciation of Earth sciences.

Local RIGS groups, of which there are 30 in England and Wales (2004), often devise additional criteria based on these national parameters depending on local or regional circumstances. The concept of RIGS was first initiated by the Nature Conservancy Councils (NCC) publication Earth Science Conservation in Great Britain – A Strategy (1990).

RIGS sites started life as SSSIs denotified after the Geological Conservation Review (1997-1990). The statutory agencies wished to secure their conservation in another form. RIGS sites are those which, whilst not benefiting from national statutory protection, are nevertheless regionally or locally representative sites where ".... consideration of their importance becomes integral to the planning process" according to the Earth Science Conservation Strategy (ESCS).

RIGS were introduced in 1990 and are analogous to SINCsPages marked with this symbol are exclusively written for Naturenet and other non-statutory wildlife designations. They can be listed in local authorities' development plans and shown on "alert maps". RIGS can be protected through the planning system if a RIGS group recommends sites to the local planning authority. Conservation and management of sites will usually depend upon agreements and co-operation with landowners.

UKRIGS group: a good page to find out more about RIGS and contacts, and from which much of the above has been taken.
Gloucestershire Geology Trust
Hereford and Worcester Earth Heritage Trust