Water Framework Directive-Register of Protected Areas

In accordance with the requirements of the Water Framework Directive and the associated national regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency have compiled the Register of Protected Areas.

While the overall objective of the Water Framework Directive is to achieve good status for all waterbodies by 2015, some waterbodies require extra protection by virtue of their location in a protected area or their function as drinking or bathing water. Under Article 6 of the Water Framework Directive (Dircetive 2000/60/EC) ANNEX IV Protected Areas are identified as those requiring special protection under existing national or European Legislation, either to protect their surface water or groundwater, or to conserve habitats or species that directly depend on those waters.

The register of protected areas required under Article 6 includes the following types of protected areas:

  1. Designated areas for the abstraction of water intended for human consumption under Article 7.
  2. Designated areas for the protection of economically significant aquatic species.
  3. Bodies of water designated as recreational waters, including areas designated as bathing waters under Directive 76/160/EEC.
  4. Nutrient-sensitive areas, including areas designated as vulnerable zones under Directive 91/676/EEC and areas designated as sensitive areas under Directive 91/271/EEC.
  5. Designated areas for the protection of habitats or species where the maintenance or improvement of the status of water is an important factor in their protection, including relevant Natura 200 sites designated under Directive 92/43/EEC (1) and Directive 79/409/EEC (2).

Please see the Water Framework Directive (DIRECTIVE 2000/60/EC) ANNEX IV PROTECTED AREAS for further information.

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Most recent data update


What is in the download?

Files are presented as a zipped Access database and include the following data:

  • • Bathing Waters;
  • • Nutrient Sensitive Areas;
  • • Special Areas of Conservation (S.A.C.) Conservation Objective (CO) Water Dependent Habitat and Species;
  • • Special Protection Areas (S.P.A) Conservation Objective (CO) Water Dependent Habitats.
  • • Shellfish Areas;
  • • Salmonid.

The data consists of point, polyline and polygon feature class types. A field showing the owner of the Designated Protected Area is included, as well as a description of the dataset.

Also Included in the zipped files:

  • • WFD Register of Protected Areas - Overview of Data Excel spread-sheet;

The data includes data number, group, dataset name, description, owner, feature class type, number of records and metadata link.