Summary data for UK SPAs

Spreadsheet of UK SPA information as contained within the Natura 2000 standard data forms submitted to the European Union.

Summary data for all classified (also known as designated) SPA in the UK is included in a Microsoft Excel  spreadsheet, which enables users of Excel to carry out a number of analyses of the SPA data. By using Excel's AutoFilter function (Data > Filter > AutoFilter), it is possible, for example, to list all SPAs supporting any  marine features, or, by using the Custom AutoFilter function, to carry out multiple queries such as identifying all SPAs in England that have wintering curlew as a qualifying species. The columns can also be sorted in a variety of ways (Data > Sort) - for example alphabetically by SPA name or  by feature name.


Data for potential SPAs (currently in the process of being classified) are not available, but will be added once sites have been classified (some information for potential SPAs is available in the SPA Review).
The status of 'qualifying' species on individual SPAs - important information>>>

The spreadsheet contains a number of tabs/worksheets:


  • SPA site details - contains summary information about the SPAs themselves, including a brief description, their size, location and date of classification. Most of the data are sourced from the Natura 2000 Data Form, the exceptions are those in 'overview' and 'local authority' which are sourced from the 2001 SPA Review. The list includes all classified SPAs. There is also an indication of which sites contain marine components ie can be considered to be part of the Marine Protected Areas Network.
  • Admin regions contains details of the administrative regions for each site using the NUTS Level 2 categories.
  • SPA interest features shows bird data submitted to the EU - ie the occurrence of each species on each site. The list of species for each site includes only those listed on the Natura 2000 Data Form submitted to the European Commission (specifically those listed in section 3.2 of this form). It does not yet take account of the amendments published in the SPA Review - because in many cases these data have not yet been submitted to the EU as part of an amended Natura 2000 Data Form. This does not include assemblages – these are listed in a separate sheet.
  • Assemblages - shows the assemblages that are cited on the legal site documentation used for consultation with Stakeholders. Please note that these are not listed in the Site data form in Section 3.2. This is because assemblages are not recognised as qualifying features at an EU level – only individual species/sub-species of birds can be included as qualifiers on the standard data form. Assemblages are however included on the standard data form in section 4.2 – quality and importance. This is included in the “SPA site details” tab on this spreadsheet in the column “site quality”. This indicates the date of the counts used for the compiling the assemblage count figure.
  • Maps - offers a simple mapping facility. If a particular feature or site is selected in the above worksheets using the Autofilter function, a dot map will be displayed showing the location of the site(s).
  • Habitat classes - indicates the percentage of certain broad habitat types in each SPA. These are intended to give a general impression of the character of the SPA. The habitat types are defined by the Natura 2000 Data Form.
  • Threats and pressures lists the positive and negative factors that impact on the site. These data were collated for the first time in the UK as part of the December 2015 submission to the EU.
  • Management Body – indicates the appropriate Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies
  • Management plan – indicates whether or not a management plan exists for the site.
  • Designation type – this refers to a very limited range of National Designations, specifically SSSI, (ASSI in Northern Ireland), Marine Nature Reserves and National Nature Reserves. 


Within each worksheet additional explanatory information is provided for many columns - to read this, hover your mouse cursor over the column heading.


The spreadsheet has been compressed into a ZIP archive to reduce download size - you will need compression software such WinZip or StuffIt to expand the file. The spreadsheet is updated after any new SPA information is submitted to the EC, so if you have previously saved it to your own disk, please check that you are still using the latest version. The naming convention is UK_Natura 2000_yyyy-mm-dd.xlsx where yy is year, mm is month and dd is day.

Last updated 26 March 2019. Previous update 17 September 2018.

Please note that from the January 2016 release onwards, SAC and SPA information has been combined together into a single spreadsheet. Some of the tabs are however specific to SACs – this is indicated by the title of the tab. Where a tab contains both SAC and SPA data there is always a column for designation type.


In some cases JNCC has been able to convert codes into meaningful text  whereas in some places the codes are retained so as to not take up too much space in the spreadsheet.


The official guidance (and explanation of codes) for the SDFs is available on European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity website. (follow the link at the top of the page to the Standard Data form reference document).


This spreadsheet is included with the GIS data download of SPAs.
Important note: although the data presented in this spreadsheet are derived both from legal and published sources the spreadsheet is not a legal document. For legal uses we recommend that copies of legal documents are requested directly from the relevant country agency.