LoGS / RIGS
Government guidance uses the term Local Sites for non-statutory sites, as distinct from the Sites of Special Scientific Interest [SSSIs] which are protected by government statute.
- In England they are often called Local Geological Sites.
- In Scotland they are often called Local Geodiversity Sites.
- In Wales they are called Regionally Important Geodiversity Sites.
NOTE: The term Regionally Important Geological / Geomorphological Sites (RIGS) has been in usage now for many years and is still used to describe Local Geological / Geodiversity Sites and should be regarded as synonymous.
RIGS are designated by locally developed criteria. They are important as an educational, historical and recreational resource. The designation of RIGS is one way of recognising and thereby protecting important Earth science and landscape features for the future.
Integrity sites: These are sites whose scientific or educational value lies in the fact that they contain finite and limited deposits or landforms that are irreplaceable if destroyed e.g., active process geomorphological sites or limestone pavements.
Exposure sites: Sites whose scientific or educational value lies in providing exposures of a deposit, which are extensive or plentiful, underground e.g., cuttings, cliffs, outcrops and mines.
Sites are selected according to their value for:
- Educational fieldwork in primary and secondary schools, at undergraduate level and in adult education courses.
- Scientific Study by both professional and amateur Earth scientists. Such sites demonstrate, alone or as part of a network, the geology or geomorphology of an area.
- Historical significance in terms of important advances in Earth science knowledge.
- Aesthetic qualities in the landscape, particularly in relation to promoting public awareness and appreciation of Earth sciences.
Many Earth science sites are under threat from a whole host of sources. LoGS / RIGS are equivalent to Local Wildlife Sites (LoWS) and other non-statutory wildlife designations. They can be listed in local authorities’ development plans and shown on “alert maps”. LoGS / RIGS can be protected through the planning system if a group recommends sites to the local planning authority.
LoGS / RIGS are currently considered the most important places for Earth science outside statutorily protected land such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).
To be able to monitor the quality and condition of RIGS it is essential to document the site efficiently. To this end UKRIGS have developed two tools to add this process:
- GeoConservation a database for geological site recording
- Site Assessment Form – a standardised series of criteria for site designation
The Site Assessment forms were developed by John Reynolds of UKRIGS & Staffordshire RIGS Group. They are available for download here: