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Special Protection Area

A Special Protection Area (SPA) is a designation under the European Union Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds. Under the Directive, Member States of the European Union (EU) have a duty to safeguard the habitats of migratory birds and certain particularly threatened birds. Together with Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), the SPAs form a network of protected sites across the EU, called Natura 2000. Each SPA has an EU code – for example the North Norfolk Coast SPA has the code UK9009031.[1]

In the United KingdomEdit

As at 21 September 2006, there were 252 classified SPAs and 12 proposed SPAs in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Conservation (Natural Habitats etc.) Regulations 1994 implement the terms of the Directive in Scotland, England and Wales. In Great Britain, SPAs (and SACs) designated on land or in the intertidal area are normally also notified as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), and in Northern Ireland as Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs). For example, the Broadland SPA in eastern England is a conglomeration of some 28 SSSIs. SPAs may extend below low tide into the sea, and for these areas SSSI notification is not possible. In Scotland, some SPAs have been classified without any underpinning designation by SSSI.[clarification needed]

In PolandEdit

Special Protection Areas for birds in Poland are called OSOPs (Polish: Obszar Specjalnej Ochrony Ptaków). As of 2005, there were 72 OSOP Areas designated as such.

In PortugalEdit

In SpainEdit

The Spanish term is ZEPA. There were 644 Spanish sites as at 2016.[2]

In the Czech RepublicEdit

The Czech Republic use the term Ptačí oblast (PO, bird area) for SPAs. There were declared 41 bird areas by the government directives between 2004 and 2009.[3] They cover 9% of the state area.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The Birds Directive". Environment. European Union.
  2. ^ ""Zonas de especial protección para las aves de España"". Environment. Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Spain).
  3. ^ Ptačí oblasti – nařízení vlády

External linksEdit