SACs with Marine Components


Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) are designated for habitats and species listed on the Habitats Directive. SACs with marine components are defined as those that contain qualifying marine habitats or species.
There are currently 108 SACs with marine components, covering 7.6% of the UK sea area. A list of the SACs and their qualifying marine features is available and an ESRI shapefile of the sites can be downloaded. Information on the management status of these sites and the progress towards completion of the UK network is also available.
88 of these SACs are completely in inshore waters, 16 are completely in offshore waters and there are four sites which have parts in both inshore and offshore waters. On the land and in the sea out to 12 nautical miles the identification of SACs is the responsibility of the country conservation agencies. Beyond 12 nautical miles JNCC is responsible for the identification of SACs.
There are three marine habitats and four marine species present in UK waters away from the coast for which the European Commission (EC) has stated that additional SACs must be designated. JNCC and the country conservation agencies have worked together to designate sites that protect these and the range of Annex I marine habitats found in the UK; these sites are now at the latter stages of the SAC designation process with only one (Hatton Bank in Scottish offshore waters) awaiting EC approval. Following recent submissions of several marine SACs, the UK anticipates that the marine SAC network for marine habitats is now substantially complete. Work in relation to the four marine species found offshore is not yet complete.
JNCC is assisting Defra in liaising with other Member States over the management of SACs whose boundaries abut SACs in neighbouring waters. These are the Dogger Bank that extends into Dutch and German waters, and Bassurelle Sandbank which lies primarily in French waters.