These are protected for their use (such as drinking water or fisheries) or because they have important habitats and species that depend on water.
The Water Framework Directive requires a register of protected areas. The register includes areas identified by the Water Framework Directive or other European Directives.
- Water bodies used for the abstraction of drinking water.
- Areas designated to protect economically significant aquatic species (areas protected under Freshwater Fish Directive 78/659/EEC; Shellfish Directive 79/923/EEC).
- Recreational waters (areas protected under Bathing Water Directives 76/160/EEC and 2006/7/EC).
- Nutrient sensitive areas (areas protected under Nitrates Directive 91/676/EEC; Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive 91/271/EEC).
- Areas designated for the protection of habitats or species where maintenance or improvement of the status of water is an important factor in their protection (Natura 2000 sites under Birds Directive 79/409/EEC and Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC).
Protected Areas will be managed to achieve the Water Framework Directive objectives and the objectives of the existing legislation.
You can find further information on protected areas, including how they are monitored, what their objectives are and how they rate against these objectives, in Annex D of each River Basin Management Plan, and in our Identifying pressures and risks pages.
Protected Area Register
A database that lists the protected areas, their location and the originating directive: