NEW legislation which will give stricter protection to important wildlife sites has been welcomed by Lancashire's Wildlife Trust.

The Countryside and Rights of Way Bill will give stricter protection to Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in England and Wales.

There are 67 such sites in Lancashire, including Longworth Clough SSSI, between Belmont and Egerton, which is managed by the Wildlife Trust.

John Lamb, the trust's conservation officer for East Lancashire, said: "We have been waiting years for this. Too many of our top wildlife sites have been degraded in the past two decades and this Bill offers them a securer future."

The trust has also welcomed the bill's promises for increased access to the countryside.

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