EA explains WIYBY replacement and scaling issues

A number of operators responsible for the spreading of organic materials to land, including compost and digestate via deployments have recently expressed concern over the recent replacement of the What's in your Back Yard (WIBY) service and its replacement.
The National GIS team from the EA has provided an update on this issue.

The What’s in Your Back Yard (WIYBY) service has provided environmental data on maps to members of the public for nearly 20 years. But in recent years has been running on out of date technology, which meant that the service was running at significant risk of failure. The service was withdrawn at the beginning of April as we were no longer able to keep the maps and data up to date.

We have not been able to create a replacement, as the Government has changed their approach to how digital services should work, along with our Defra Open Data strategy making our data more freely available, means WIYBY is no longer a preferred solution.


We have added the SPZs to the Magic map, meaning that applicants completing permits, such as SR2010No4, can find SPZs, SSSIs, RAMSAR and European Sites together in one service.

Magic also provides the facility for users to outline specific parcels of land, using the draw tools, so they can better see what effects their land.


With regards to the scale, the data is available – have only been available overlaid onto Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 scale raster background maps, though in WIYBY these were enlarged to 1:20,000, so the level of accuracy remains the same in Magic.

This has been because the data was only modelled to this level and was not deemed suitable to accurate to be compared against field boundaries.


We have reviewed this, along with the guidance for applicants completing permits, and have made the decision to remove the scale restriction from Magic – Magic now has the ability to show SPZs down to a field scale of 1:10000 and instructions which may be helpful can be found at: 

For Groundwater Source Protection Zones

In the left-hand toolbar click the + sign for:-


-Land Based

-Non Statutory

-Source Protection Zones merged (England)


Please note that the WIYBY service was built to provide members of the public with information so that they can better understand their local environment.

The use of the service for commercial use was not advised as some of the data had been simplified and was against the terms and conditions of use, which did not permit commercial use.

As soon as we have further information from the EA, we will inform REA members.



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May 26
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