National Marine Plan - EU exit: interpretive guidance

Guidance on how to interpret the National Marine Plan after the UK exits from the European Union. This guidance applies from 1 January 2021 and should be used to interpret references to the European Union in the National Marine Plan.

3. References to the Natura 2000 network

3.1. The terms "Special Area of Conservation" (or "SAC", in the abbreviated form) and "Special Protection Area" ("SPA") are being retained and refer to sites of that type in the UK, whether designated as such before or after EU exit.

3.2. Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) in the UK designated in accordance with the Habitats and Wild Birds Directives no longer form part of the European Union's Natura 2000 network. Instead, they form a UK-wide network of protected sites, called the "UK site network"[22] or the "national site network"[23] (the terminology varies between the relevant legislation). This network is made up of SACs and SPAs designated before EU exit (i.e. sites in the UK that previously formed part of the Natura 2000 network) and any sites designated after EU exit under legislation that implemented the Habitats and Wild Birds Directives[24] in the UK.

3.3. References to the "Natura 2000 network" (or the "Natura network", in the abbreviated form)[25] should therefore be read as the "UK site network" or the "national site network", and references to a "Natura Site" should be read as a reference to a site forming part of that network. These sites still contribute to delivering national and international biodiversity objectives and continue to form the UK's contribution to the Bern Convention's Emerald Network. Marine sites also contribute to the network under the OSPAR convention.



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