LANDOWNERS AND farmers report feeling “bruised” by the way the creation of sites of special scientific interest is being handled in Wales.

A survey commissioned by the Countryside Council for Wales has indicated widespread strong criticism of its alleged clumsy and heavy-handed dealings with people owning conservation areas.

People managing SSSIs were questioned in response to complaints from the Country Land and Business Association on behalf of its members.

The aim was to pinpoint problem areas and improve relations.

“There has for too long been a lack of respect for property rights, and disregard for those who manage the land,” said Sue Evans, a CLA Wales spokeswoman.

Views revealed in the survey about how the designation of statutory wildlife sites is being administered will discussed when Roger Thomas, CCW chief executive meets CLA president Mark Hudson on June 11.

In advance of the meeting the CLA has called on the CCW to be ready to make public its plans to improve its relations with SSSI owners.

“We are sure they will want the public to know that they have got measures in place that will lead to improvements,” said Ms Evans.