Protecting the site

The World Heritage Site is protected through existing UK legislation that applies to Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI's). There are thirteen SSSI's that cover all but 10.5km of the coast, typically divided at the gateway towns.

The Earth science interests are recognised through 66 Geological Conservation Review (GCR) sites that essentially define the core values of the World Heritage Site for geology, palaeontology, geomorphology and structure.

In addition to the geology, the SSSI's also protect wildlife interests and approximately 75% of the coast is also designated as Special Areas of Conservation under the European Habitat Directive, typically for rare Vegetated Sea Cliff communities; plants and animals that specialise in colonising broken and disturbed ground or salt sprayed sea cliffs.

The setting of the site is largely protected by the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) designations in all but Portland and a small part of East Devon. Landscape planning issues should be considered in the context of this landscape conservation measure unless applications have the potential to impact directly on the Outstanding Universal Value of the Site. Conservation areas within historic towns are a further measure to define appropriate development on the coast adjacent to the Site.