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Special Areas of Conservation

Volume 714: debated on Wednesday 4 November 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many areas Natural England has declared as special areas of conservation under the European Habitats Directive (a) in the United Kingdom inshore area, and (b) in the United Kingdom offshore area. [HL5818]

The designation of special areas of conservation (SACs) under the EU habitats directive is not a matter for Natural England, but is the responsibility of Ministers in the relevant country administrations. So far 609 terrestrial/coastal SACs have been designated. Of these, 73 are partly located in inshore waters.

Before sites are formally designated by the relevant Secretary of State they need to be approved by the European Commission. A further seven terrestrial/coastal sites (three of which are partly in inshore waters) and five marine sites in offshore UK waters have either been submitted to, or recently approved by, the European Commission and are likely to be formally designated by government in due course. Full details of the sites are available on the website of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government to what management regulations inshore and offshore special areas of conservation are subject; whether all special areas of conservation are subject to the same management regulations; and how many management regulations for special areas of conservation are enforced. [HL5819]

Special areas of conservation (SACs) are afforded protection under the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (as amended), the Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc.) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1995 (as amended) and the Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 2007 (as amended). The controls contained in these regulations are strictly enforced. Most designated sites will also be subject to management schemes agreed between the relevant statutory nature conservation body and owners, occupiers and other bodies.