Last edited 30 Nov 2020

Sites of community importance


[edit] Overview

A site becomes a site of community importance when it has been submitted and adopted by the European Commission as a special area of conservation (SAC), but not yet designated by the government of the member state.

[edit] Background

A site of community importance supports natural habitats and species of community interest that are listed in the Annexes of the Habitats Directive. The habitats and species are vulnerable, rare and endangered.

The sites are part of the European network and therefore the provisions of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (the “Habitats Regulations”) apply to them. Article 4.4 of the Habitats Regulations states:

Member States shall designate sites of Community importance as a special area of conservation as soon as possible and within six years at most, establishing priorities in the light of the importance of the sites for the maintenance or restoration, at a favourable conservation status, of a natural habitat type in Annex I or a species in Annex II and for the coherence of Natura 2000, and in the light of the threats of degradation or destruction to which those sites are exposed”.

Within six years of a site being identified as a site of community importance, it should be should designated as special area of conservation with a priority being given to the more important sites, or those facing threats.

[edit] UK sites of community importance summary

In 2014, there were a total of 33 sites of community importance within the UK, with the break down as follows:

  • England: 10.
  • England/Offshore: 2.
  • Northern Ireland: 3.
  • Scotland: 1.
  • Scotland/Offshore: 2.
  • UK Offshore Waters: 15.

Further information on the sites of community importance in the UK is available from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee website.

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[edit] External references

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