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The ecological character of St Helens is a largely product of its industrial development coupled with the local geology and climate. In appreciating the wildlife resource it is necessary to be aware of the historical processes and their resulting effects on distribution of differing habitats.
From a biodiversity perspective, three broad periods are relevant: pre-industrial, industrial and a few post-industrial sites. All these have influenced the present-day landscape and ecology of St Helens.
Looking at St Helens from a spatial point of view, the Borough can be divided between the urban town areas and open countryside.