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 (Natural Habitats &c.) Regulations 1994 (as amended) in Scotland,
- the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1995 (as amended) in Northern Ireland, and
- the Conservation of Offshore Marine Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 in the UK offshore area.
These regulations require establishment of 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, of European Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, known as the Habitats Directive.
For more information on Special Areas of Conservation, including the background to SAC selection, visit the SAC overview page.
Details of the background to SAC selection and designation are available on the National Archive.