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Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats

A table or matrix that sets out the site’s key strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats can be a useful tool. It can be particularly appropriate to involve the main stakeholders in this stage of the plan, to collect views from various viewpoints.

Site strengths can include strong or diverse species populations, large areas of important habitats, the site’s visual appeal, visitor access features and other features described positively in the site description section.

Site weaknesses are characteristics of the protected area or factors relating to it that can have a negative effect on its management. This could include isolated species populations, difficult habitat management and land ownership issues.

Opportunities can be thought of as external factors which benefit site management. Obligations, such as meeting Natura 2000 requirements, could be considered to be desirable opportunities to further the conservation management of the site.

Threats, or challenges, have a negative impact on the site’s management, and could include climate change, air pollution, water management, disturbance, nearby development or incompatible management of adjacent land.

Links to additional information

Red deer stag - Copyright Natural England Paul Glendell
Red deer stag - Copyright Natural England Paul Glendell