The UK Marine SACs Project website was a vehicle for communicating and distributing the learning, knowledge and outputs from the UK Marine SACs Project to its wider audience. Since the project was completed in 2001, this website has been closed and all its documents and background information can now be accessed through the UKMPA Centre.

The aims of the Habitat and Birds Directives

The aim of the Habitats Directive (Article 2) is:

‘ contribute towards ensuring biodiversity through the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora in the European territory of the Member States to which the Treaty applies

In pursuit of this aim, Article 2 also sets two main considerations for Member States:

  1. ‘Measures taken pursuant to this Directive shall be designed to maintain or restore, at favourable conservation status, natural habitats and species of wild fauna and flora of Community interest
  2. ‘Measures taken pursuant to this Directive shall taken account of economic, social and cultural requirements and regional and local characteristics

In addition, the Birds Directive aims to protect bird species within the European Union through the conservation of populations of certain birds and the habitats used by these species. There are specific requirements on Member States to deliver the broad aims of both Directives. The Habitats Directive lays out, under Article 6, these requirements in relation to Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) (although only 6 (ii) and 6 (iii) apply to SPAs):

  1. ‘For special areas of conservation, Member States shall establish the necessary conservation measures involving, if need be, appropriate management plans….and appropriate statutory, administrative or contractual measures which correspond to the ecological requirements of the natural habitat types in Annex I and the species in Annex II present on the sites’.
  2. ‘Member States shall take appropriate steps to avoid, in the special areas of conservation, the deterioration of natural habitats and the habitats of species as well as disturbance of the species for which the areas have been designated, in so far as such disturbance could be significant in relation to the objectives of this Directive’.
  3. ‘Any plan or project not directly connected with or necessary to the management of the site but likely to have a significant effect thereon, either individually or in combination with other plans or projects, shall be subject to appropriate assessment of its implications for the site in view of the site’s conservation objectives’.