A protected area is defined as:
“A clearly defined geographical space,
recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective
means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with
associated ecosystem services and cultural values”.
Source: Dudley, N. (Editor) (2008).
Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories.
Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. x + 86pp.
The first key point of this definition is that the primary
objective of a protected area is conservation of nature. The second
key point is that the protection is “effective”. That will
generally mean that the area is protected by an Act of Parliament
or in the case of privately owned or indigenous land by a covenant
or conservation agreement.
Creating Protected Areas in the UK is an important part of the
delivery of our requirement to conserve and enhance habitats, earth
science features and species. The UK has many different types of
Protected Area; some are established solely for nature conservation
while others, like National Parks, serve a range purposes including
nature, landscape and amenity values.
Within the UK, Protected Areas fall into a number of
- Protected areas established under National Legislation. This
includes Sites of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature
- Protected areas established as a result of European Union
Directives or other European initiatives. They include the Natura
- Protected areas set up under Global Agreements. They include
- Marine Protected Areas.
The categories can overlap. For example Marine Protected Areas
include National and internationial designations. It is possible
for an area of land (or sea) to fit into all four of the above
JNCC’s role includes:
- We are the official source of information on all Special
Areas of Conservation and Special
Protection Areas designated within UK territory and officially
submitted to the EU Commission. This site provides information on
the location and boundaries of these protected areas and the
features that are important on one. The two types of designation
together form the Natura 2000 network. For terrestrial and inshore
sites, the designating authority is the relevant country
- JNCC has a vital role in establishing, managing and monitoring
offshore MPAs (beyond the 12 mile limit). This
includes work on offshore SPAs and offshore SACs as
well as new Marine Conservation Zones and Scottish
- We co-ordinate site submissions of Wetlands of International
Importance under the Ramsar Convention for the UK, Overseas
Territories and Crown Dependencies.
- We have an important role in co-ordinating the different marine
protected area programmes across the four countries of the UK.
- We act as a focal point for the collation of lists of national
designations via the European Environment Agencies Common Database
on Designated Areas.
- We help the country agencies assess the condition of protected
areas by co-ordinating surveillance schemes (for example, for
- We co-ordinate reporting exercises to assess the condition of
certain types of protected areas (for example, Common Standards Monitoring for Designated
Sites: First Six Year Report 2006), and integrating information
on the state of Protected Areas into assessments, such as the
Report on the Habitats Directive.
- We advise on Protected Area Management Effectiveness.
- We work with Defra and the country agencies to see that the
requirements for managing and sharing Protected Area spatial
information are complied with.