Natura 2000 Protected Areas

Previous agreed guidance on Natura 2000 (N2K) „protected areas‟ has established which habitats and species „features‟ of the Habitats and Birds Directives should be considered as water dependent for the purposes of the WFD (UK TAG Guidance 4a- Identification of Natura 2000 protected areas). This has led to the entry of N2K protected areas designated for one or more water- dependent „feature‟ onto the register of protected areas, as required by Article 6. Determining whether „protected areas‟ are meeting the requirements of Article 4 (1c) is independent of the classification of „water bodies‟ and indeed covers “areas” which are not „water bodies‟. Furthermore, „water bodies‟ may meet the requirements of Article 4 (1a & 1b) whilst the „protected area‟ element fails to meet the requirements of Article 4 (1c)1 . According to guidance from Government, the deadline for ensuring that a water dependent N2K protected area is achieving the requirements of Article 4(1c) is 2015. If the protected area is also a water body, the deadline may be extended provided (i) the relevant conditions described within Article 4 (4) are met; and (ii) that doing so does not undermine compliance with the requirements relating to the particular protected area.

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