Special areas of conservation

A special area of conservation seeks to conserve nature habitats, flora and fauna which are seen as most in need, as listed in the  EU Habitats directive European Council Directive 92/43/EEC 

Special areas of conservation (SACs) are protected areas in the UK designated under:

  • The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended) in England and Wales (including the adjacent territorial sea) and to a limited extent in Scotland (reserved matters) and Northern Ireland (excepted matters)
  • The Conservation of Offshore Marine Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 in the UK offshore area.

Under these Regulations, the UK Government and devolved administrations are required to establish a network of important high-quality conservation sites that will make a significant contribution to conserving the habitats and species identified in Annexes I and II, respectively.

The listed habitat types and species are those considered to be most in need of conservation at a European level (excluding birds).

Of the Annex I habitat types, 78 occur in the UK. Of the Annex II species, 43 are native to, and normally resident in, the UK.

One special area of conservation can be found in Lichfield District – this is the River Mease SAC

Lichfield District is also within the zones of influence of three other special areas of conservation

When we consider proposals for new development, under planning and habitat laws we must also consider how the proposals affect special areas of conservation. 

This includes applications for householder development and permitted development / prior notification applications.