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Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)

Jasmine Arnould

This page is designed to explain the ‘Special Areas of Conservation’ data hosted in our map-based platform Land Explorer. This data shows land that is legally designated for conservation protection.

What is this data?

Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) are sites protected under the European Commission Habitats Directive, designated as part of a network of high-quality sites contributing to the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora. The listed habitat types and species are those considered to be most in need of conservation at a European level (excluding birds).

Why is it useful?

Depending on the SAC, the local planning authority may prohibit development and restrict some activities on and near the area. Knowing whether you are located near an SAC may indicate whether you will need to ask for consent to carry out certain activities. This data also provides more in depth details of the SAC in question, including the organisation responsible for the site and the species and habitats being protected.

How do I use/ interact with it?

Simply look at the particular area you are interested in to see if there are any SACs. If you are more generally looking for SACs in the UK, go to the planning restrictions page of Land Explorer, and navigate the map in the SAC section.

Learn more:


License information:

License: Open Government License (OGL)

Information provider: Joint Nature Conservation Committee (DEFRA)

Title of the information resource: Special Areas of Conservation (UK)

Date it was published: 24/10/2016

Link to the information:

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