The Landscape and Ecology of Hartlepool
The Borough is bordered on the east by the North Sea and features extensive areas of attractive coastline including beaches, dunes and coastal grassland. Much of the coast is internationally important for its bird species and is protected as a Special Protection Area/Ramsar site, with additional designations as Sites of Special Scientific Interest and the Teesmouth National Nature Reserve.
The prominent location of the town's Headland, as a first landfall on the east coast, makes it of national significance for the birdwatching community.
Inland is an attractive, rolling agricultural landscape including areas of Special Landscape Value. Interspersed in this landscape are a number of generally small and fragmented, but nevertheless diverse and important wildlife habitats.
There are 6 Local Nature Reserves spread across the town and 52 non-statutory Local Sites. Local Sites comprise Local Wildlife Sites (formerly Sites of Nature Conservation Interest) and Local Geological Sites (formerly Regionally Important Geological & Geomorphological Sites). They are protected through policies in the Hartlepool Local Plan.
Species Protected by Law
A number of species are protected under UK or European legislation. In most cases the protection is from harm to the species but certain species are also protected from being disturbed and in some cases the protection extends to the places that an animal uses for shelter. Consequently it is not possible to list all of the species that are protected and the different levels of protection that they have. The legislation such as the Wildlife & Countryside Act (1981) should be consulted for the definitive position.
The groups of protected species that are most likely to be encountered by householders or to affect planning applications are bats and nesting birds. The Council has produced some guidelines as to when a bat survey would be required with a planning application.
Bird's nests are protected and it is an offence to take, damage or destroy them while they are in use or being built though for most bird species it is no longer an offence once the birds have finished nesting. As a rule of thumb the bird breeding season is usually taken to be March-August inclusive.
Current information on the status of protected, or other species, can be obtained from the Council's Ecologist on 01429 523431.
Hartlepool's Local Wildlife Sites and Local Geological Sites
A map showing Hartlepool's Local Wildlife and Geological Sites
Tees Valley Wildlife Trust
An independent local charity working to create a better future for wildlife and people
Bat Conservation Trust
Working towards a world where bats and people live in harmony
Pages containing information about Hartlepool's Countryside Warden Service
A website that brings together geographic information on key environmental schemes and designations in one place
Working for people, places and nature to conserve and enhance biodiversity, landscapes and wildlife in rural, urban, coastal and marine areas
Ecological and Arboricultural Consultancy
Information about Hartlepool Borough Council's Ecological and Arboricultural Consultancy service
Telephone: 01429 266522