This table provides metadata for the actual indicator available from UK statistics closest to the corresponding global SDG indicator. Please note that even when the global SDG indicator is fully available from UK statistics, this table should be consulted for information on national methodology and other UK-specific metadata information.
Total extent and proportion of protected areas at sea
The extent measures are a calculation of the net (non-overlapping) extent of protected areas using mean high water as the boundary between the at-sea and on-land measures. The proportion measures are a percentage of UK marine extent contained within marine protected areas.
|Unit of measurement||
Million hectares / Percentage (%)
Data is based on calendar year of site designation. For 2019, the data cut-off is 31 May.
The boundary between protected areas on-land and at-sea is mean high water (mean high water spring in Scotland). Coastal sites in the indicator are split between ‘on-land’ and ‘at-sea’ if they cross the mean high water mark. At-sea extent includes offshore marine protected areas out to the limit of the UK continental shelf.
Extent is based on the following site designations - Areas of Special Scientific Interest, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, National Nature Reserves, Marine Conservation Zones, Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas, Ramsar Sites, Special Areas of Conservation (including candidate Special Areas of Conservation and Sites of Community Importance), Special Protection Areas, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Scenic Areas, National Parks.
Many protected areas in the UK cover the same physical parcels of land, but for different reasons; as a result the designation types can overlap. For example, it is possible for an individual site to be designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Area (SPA), Ramsar site and National Nature Reserve (NNR), and could also be part of a National Park, an AONB (Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty) or National Scenic Area (NSA).
No calculations on the source data were required. See C1. Protected Areas for more information on methodology.
This indicator is a component of UK Biodiversity Indicator C1. Protected areas which comprises two additional measures, 'Total extent of protected areas - on-land', and 'Condition of Areas / Sites of Special Scientific Interest'.
This indicator is being used as an approximation of the UN SDG Indicator. Where possible, we will work to identify or develop UK data to meet the global indicator specification. This indicator has not been identified in collaboration with topic experts.
|Data last updated||21 September 2021|
|Metadata last updated||01 December 2021|