UKBAP logoUK BAP list of priority habitats

 

UK BAP priority habitats were those that were identified as being the most threatened and requiring conservation action under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP).  The original list of UK BAP priority habitats was created between 1995 and 1999, and was revised in 2007, following publication of the Species and Habitats Review Report (PDF, 1.3Mb). Following this review, the list of UK BAP priority habitats increased from 49 to 65.

As a result of devolution, and new country-level and international drivers and requirements, much of the work previously carried out by the UK BAP is now focussed at a country-level rather than a UK-level, and the UK BAP was succeeded by the 'UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework' in July 2012.  The UK list of priority habitats, however, remains an important reference source and has been used to help draw up statutory lists of priority habitats in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as required under Section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2016 (England), Section 7 of the Environment (Wales) Act 2016, Section 2(4) of the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004, and Section 3(1) of the Wildlife and Natural Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011.

The revised list of priority habitats is shown in the table below, along with links to the definitions of these habitats, which are from 'UK Biodiversity Action Plan: Priority Habitat Descriptions' (PDF, 2.0Mb), published in 2008.  Note this document was updated in July 2010 and December 2011, with some amended definitions.

In addition to the priority habitat details, including links to definitions, and details of changes following the 2007 review, the priority habitats are grouped according to the UK BAP broad habitat type with which they are mainly associated.

Habitat definitions are available as 'Word' documents, and also as PDF files.

 
UK BAP broad habitat UK BAP priority habitat
(click on link for definition)
Changes agreed in the 2007 review
Terrestrial and Freshwater Habitats    

Rivers and Streams

Rivers (updated December 2011*)
Word document

PDF (114kb)

New priority habitat [including existing Chalk Rivers priority habitat] (scope clarified in 2010)

Standing Open Waters and Canals

Oligotrophic and Dystrophic Lakes

Word document

PDF (31kb)

New priority habitat

 

Ponds

Word document

PDF (71kb) 

New priority habitat

 

Mesotrophic Lakes

Word document

PDF (26kb)

No change

 

Eutrophic Standing Waters

Word document

PDF (29kb)

No change

 

Aquifer Fed Naturally Fluctuating Water Bodies

Word document
PDF (37kb)

No change

Arable and Horticultural

Arable Field Margins

Word document

PDF (43kb)

Revised name (previously 'Cereal Field Margins'); scope clarified

Boundary and Linear Features

Hedgerows

Word document

PDF (25kb)

Revised name (previously 'Ancient and/or Species-Rich Hedgerows'); scope expanded

Broadleaved, Mixed and Yew Woodland

Traditional Orchards

Word document

PDF (80kb)

New priority habitat

 

Wood-Pasture and Parkland (updated December 2011)

Word document

PDF (34kb)

Revised name (previously 'Lowland Wood-Pasture and Parkland'); scope expanded

 

Upland Oakwood

Word document

PDF (26kb)

No change

 

Lowland Beech and Yew Woodland

Word document

PDF (29kb)

No change

 

Upland Mixed Ashwoods

Word document

PDF (29kb)

No change

 

Wet Woodland

Word document

PDF (29kb)

No change

 

Lowland Mixed Deciduous Woodland

Word document

PDF (27kb)

Formally adopted as priority habitat

 

Upland Birchwoods

Word document

PDF (33kb)

Formally adopted as priority habitat

Coniferous Woodland

Native Pine Woodlands

Word document

PDF (27kb)

No change

Acid Grassland

Lowland Dry Acid Grassland

Word document

PDF (30kb)

No change

Calcareous Grassland

Lowland Calcareous Grassland

Word document

PDF (29kb)

No change; scope clarified

 

Upland Calcareous Grassland

Word document

PDF (27kb)

No change

Neutral Grassland

Lowland Meadows

Word document

PDF (30kb)

No change

 

Upland Hay Meadows

Word document

PDF (27kb)

No change

Improved Grassland

Coastal and Floodplain Grazing Marsh

Word document

PDF (26kb)

No change

Dwarf Shrub Heath

Lowland Heathland

Word document

PDF (25kb)

No change; scope clarified

 

Upland Heathland

Word document

PDF (29kb)

No change

Fen, Marsh and Swamp

Upland Flushes, Fens and Swamps

Word document

PDF (34kb)

New priority habitat

 

Purple Moor Grass and Rush Pastures

Word document

PDF (27kb)

No change

 

Lowland Fens

Word document

PDF (26kb)

Revised name (previously 'Fens')

 

Reedbeds

Word document

PDF (26kb)

No change

Bogs

Lowland Raised Bog

Word document

PDF (29kb)

No change

 

Blanket Bog

Word version

PDF (30kb)

No change

Montane Habitats

Mountain Heaths and Willow Scrub

Word document

PDF (33kb)

New priority habitat

Inland Rock

Inland Rock Outcrop and Scree Habitats

Word document

PDF (37kb)

New priority habitat

 

Calaminarian Grasslands

Word version

PDF (65kb)

New priority habitat

 

Open Mosaic Habitats on Previously Developed Land (updated July 2010)

Word document

PDF (78kb)

New priority habitat (scope clarified in 2010)

 

Limestone Pavements

Word document

PDF (25kb)

No change

Supralittoral Rock

Maritime Cliff and Slopes

Word document

PDF (33kb)

No change

Supralittoral Sediment

Coastal Vegetated Shingle

Word document

PDF (27kb)

No change

 

Machair

Word document

PDF (29kb)

No change

 

Coastal Sand Dunes

Word version

PDF (34kb)

No change

Marine Habitats    

Littoral Rock

Intertidal Chalk

Word document

PDF (34kb)

Revised name (previously part of 'Littoral and Sublittoral Chalk')

 

Intertidal Underboulder Communities

Word document

PDF (84kb)

New priority habitat

 

Sabellaria alveolata reefs

Word document

PDF (35kb)

No change

Littoral Sediment

Coastal Saltmarsh

Word version

PDF (84kb)

No change

 

Intertidal Mudflats

Word document

PDF (35kb)

Revised name (previously 'Mudflats')

 

Seagrass Beds

Word document

PDF (34kb)

No change (includes both intertidal and subtidal beds)

 

Sheltered Muddy Gravels

Word document

PDF (86kb)

No change

 

Peat and Clay Exposures with Piddocks

Word document

PDF (132kb)

New priority habitat

Sublittoral Rock

Subtidal Chalk

Word document

PDF (33kb)

Revised name (previously part of 'Littoral and Sublittoral Chalk')

 

Tide-swept Channels

Word document

PDF (35kb)

Revised name (previously 'Tidal Rapids'); scope expanded

 

Fragile Sponge and Anthozoan Communities on Subtidal Rocky Habitats

Word document

PDF (76kb)

New priority habitat

 

Esuarine Rocky Habitats

Word document

PDF (105kb)

New priority habitat

 

Seamount Communities

Word document

PDF (33kb)

New priority habitat

 

Carbonate Mounds

Word version

PDF (79kb)

New priority habitat

 

Cold-Water Coral Reefs

Word document

PDF (123kb)

Revised name (previously 'Lophelia pertusa Reefs')

 

Deep-Sea Sponge Communities

Word document

PDF (135kb)

New priority habitat

 

Sabellaria spinulosa Reefs

Word document

PDF (35kb)

No change

Sublittoral Sediment

Subtidal Sands and Gravels

Word document

PDF (38kb)

Revised name (previously 'Sublittoral Sands and Gravels')

 

Horse Mussel Beds

Word document

PDF (37kb)

Revised name (previously 'Modiolus modiolus Beds')

 

Mud Habitats in Deep Water

Word document

PDF (105kb)

No change

 

File Shell Beds

Word document

PDF (248kb)

New priority habitat

 

Maerl Beds

Word document

PDF (33kb)

No change

 

Serpulid Reefs

Word document

PDF (33kb)

No change

 

Blue Mussel Beds on Sediment

Word version

PDF (101kb)

New priority habitat

 

Saline Lagoons

Word document

PDF (32kb)

No change

*Note that a spreadsheet of potential, or candidate river water bodies was generated in December 2011.  For more information >>

 

Note also that several habitats (e.g. 'Coastal and Floodplain Grazing Marsh' and 'Wood-Pasture and Parkland') actually occur in more than one Broad Habitat type, or are habitat complexes, but for simplicity they are listed against only one broad habitat in the table above.