Regionally Important Geological and Geomorphological Sites (RIGS), designated by locally developed criteria, are currently the most important places for geology and geomorphology outside statutorily protected land such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The designation of RIGS is one way of recognising and protecting important Earth science and landscape features for future generations to enjoy.
The concept of RIGS was first initiated by the Nature Conservancy Councils (NCC) publication Earth Science Conservation in Great Britain – A Strategy (1990).
RIGS sites started life as SSSIs denotified after the Geological Conservation Review (1977-1990). The statutory agencies wished to secure their conservation in another form. RIGS sites are those which, whilst not benefiting from national statutory protection, are nevertheless regionally or locally representative sites where '.... consideration of their importance becomes integral to the planning process' according to the Earth Science Conservation Strategy (ESCS).
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