European Legislation

EC Birds Directive

In 1979, the European Community adopted Council Directive 79/409/EEC on the conservation of wild birds (the 'Birds Directive') in response to the 1979 Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Habitats and Species (the 'Bern Convention'). The Birds Directive provides a framework for the conservation and management of, and human interactions with, wild birds in Europe. Among its provisions are requirements for the identification and protection of Special Protection Areas (SPA) for internationally important populations of wild birds.

SPAs in in Sussex are:

  • Arun Valley SPA
  • Ashdown Forest SPA
  • Chichester and Langstone Harbours SPA
  • Dungeness to Pett Level SPA
  • Pagham Harbour SPA
  • Wealden Heaths Phase ll SPA

EC Habitats Directive

In 1992, the European Community adopted Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, in response to the 1979 Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Habitats and Species.

Article 3 of the Habitats Directive requires the establishment of a European network of important high-quality conservation sites that will make a significant contribution to conserving the 189 habitat types and 788 species identified in Annexes I and II of the Directive (as amended). 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 are believed to occur in the UK. Of the Annex II species, 43 are native to, and normally resident in the UK. Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) are strictly protected sites designated under the EC Habitats & Species Directive.

SACs in Sussex are:

  • Arun Valley SAC
  • Ashdown Forest SAC
  • Castle Hill SAC
  • Duncton to Bignor Escarpment SAC
  • Dungeness SAC
  • Ebernoe Common SAC
  • Hastings Cliffs SAC
  • Kingley Vale SAC
  • Lewes Downs SAC
  • Pevensey Levels SAC
  • Rook Clift SAC
  • Singleton and Cocking Tunnels SAC
  • Solent Maritime SAC
  • The Mens SAC

Annex II species listed in the Directive are afforded special protection in England under the terms of the Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000 and the Habitats & Species Regulations 1994.