Ramsar sites in the UK, its Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies

Ramsar sites are wetlands of international importance designated under the Ramsar Convention.

Sites proposed for selection are advised by the UK statutory nature conservation agencies, or the relevant administration in the case of Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, co-ordinated through JNCC. In selecting sites, the relevant authorities are guided by the Criteria set out in the Convention. The UK also has a national Ramsar Committee composed of experts who provide further advice.
In the UK, the first Ramsar sites were designated in 1976. Since then, many more have been designated. Compared to many countries, the UK has a relatively large number of Ramsar sites, but they tend to be smaller in size than many countries. The initial emphasis was on selecting sites of importance to waterbirds within the UK, and consequently many Ramsar sites are also Special Protection Areas (SPAs) classified under the Birds Directive. However, greater attention is now being directed towards the selection of Ramsar sites in UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies; the first of these was designated in 1990. Both within the UK and overseas, non-bird features are increasingly taken into account, both in the selection of new sites and when reviewing existing sites. A summary table showing the number of designated and proposed Ramsar sites is available, along with a full list of Ramsar sites for either the whole UK, or each individual country (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) and the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies. GIS boundary data for Ramsar sites in the UK is available for download, and a summary spreadsheet with further information on Ramsar sites in the UK and its Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies will soon be available.
Further data and information on Ramsar sites elsewhere in the world can be located via the Ramsar Wetland Data Gateway as well as on the formal Ramsar sites database.