This spatial dataset contains the digital boundaries of all Spatial Protection Areas (SPAs) in Wales. The EC Birds Directive of 1979 requires member states to establish SPAs to conserve the habitats of two categories of birds:
i) Species which are rare or vulnerable, of which there are forty-eight in the UK.
ii) Some migratory species which visit our shores regularly.
SPAs in Wales are identified by NRW, in conjunction with the UK Joint Nature Conservation Committee, and designated by the First Minister for the Welsh Assembly Government. These sites are also protected through being Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). The 1994 Conservation Regulations also provide a means of protecting such areas at sea. SPAs together with SACs will contribute to a European Union network of protected sites to be known as 'Natura 2000' (N2K sites). SPAs have been designated over a number of years, from 1982 to the present day, and are on-going. The data has been held digitally since the mid1990s.