Last edited 10 Feb 2022

Special protection areas


[edit] Introduction

Special Protection Areas (SPAs) are internationally important areas defined in the national planning policy framework as, ' Areas which have been identified as being of international importance for the breeding, feeding, wintering or the migration of rare and vulnerable species of birds found within European Union countries. They are European designated sites, classified under the Birds Directive.'

Special Protection Areas, along with Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), which are classified under the Habitats Directive, collectively form the Natura 2000 network. Designated rare and vulnerable birds are listed in Annex I of the Birds Directive.

[edit] Locations

Within the UK, the first Special Protection Area was designated in the 1980s and in 2014 there were 270 sites and one potential Special Protection Area (pSPAs). A map displaying the location of Special Protection Areas is available on the Joint Nature Conservation Committee website and the MAGIC website.

[edit] Designation

Guidance for the designation of Special Protection Areas is not provided by the Birds Directive, and so the Joint Nature Conservation Committee have formulated guidelines for use within the UK. The guidelines have two stages. The first stage is intended to identify areas that are likely to qualify for SPA status. The second stage then provides criteria for selecting the best area for classification.

[edit] Stage 1

[edit] Stage 2

  • Population size and density: Areas holding or supporting more birds than others and/or holding or supporting birds at higher concentrations are favoured for selection.
  • Species range: Areas selected for a given species provide as wide a geographic coverage across the species' range as possible.
  • Breeding success: Areas of higher breeding success than others are favoured for selection.
  • History of occupancy: Areas known to have a longer history of occupation or use by the relevant species are favoured for selection.
  • Multi-species areas: Areas holding or supporting the larger number of qualifying species under Article 4 of the Directive are favoured for selection.
  • Naturalness: Areas comprising natural or semi-natural habitats are favoured for selection over those which do not.
  • Severe weather refuges: Areas used at least once a decade by significant proportions of the biogeographical population of a species in periods of severe weather in any season, and which are vital to the survival of a viable population, are favoured for selection.

[edit] Qualifying species accounts

A detailed account has been prepared for each species which includes the following information:

[edit] Special protection area review

A detailed report has been produced by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee which presents information on the UK Special Protection Area network.

[edit] Proposals that may affect a Special Protection Area

Any developments that are close to (or within) the boundary of a Special Protection Area may require a Habitat Regulations Assessment if they are likely to have an adverse affect on the site. An initial screening stage would be required, followed by an Appropriate Assessment.

Where it is considered that an adverse effect on the integrity of the site is likely, and no alternatives are available, the project can only go ahead if there are imperative reasons of over-riding public interest and if the appropriate compensatory measures can be secured.

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings

[edit] External references

Designing Buildings Anywhere

Get the Firefox add-on to access 20,000 definitions direct from any website

Find out more Accept cookies and
don't show me this again