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C3a. Status of UK habitats of European importance

Type: State indicator

Indicator Description

Member States of the European Union are required to report every 6 years on the conservation status of habitats and species of community interest (listed in the Annexes of the Habitats Directive). These are habitats and species for which the UK has European level conservation responsibilities.

The assessments need to conclude whether each habitat of European importance found in the UK is in a: ‘Favourable’, ‘Unfavourable-Inadequate’, ‘Unfavourable-Bad’ or ‘Unknown’ conservation status. This indicator is based on an evaluation of whether the results of the most recent assessment (2013) are better or worse than those for the previous assessment (2007).


  1. Summary


No new data since the previous publication, however, a new assessment of conservation status is being finalised through the 2019 Habitats Directive Article 17 report to the European Union. This indicator will be updated once the Article 17 report has been published.

In 2007, 5% of UK habitats listed in Annex I of the Habitats Directive were in favourable conservation status, decreasing to 3% in 2013.

The conservation status of 48% of the habitats was unfavourable-improving in 2007, decreasing to 31% in 2013. 

The conservation status of 30% of the habitats was unfavourable-declining in 2007, decreasing to 25% in 2013.

Figure C3ai. Conservation status of UK habitats of European importance, 2007 and 2013.

A bar chart showing the percentage of UK habitats of European importance in favourable, unfavourable-improving, unfavourable-stable, unfavourable-declining and unknown conservation status in 2007 and 2013. The percentages of habitats in favourable, unfavourable-improving, unfavourable-declining and unknown conservation status have all decreased between 2007 and 2013, whereas the percentage of habitats in unfavourable-stable condition has increased over the same time period.


  1. The chart is based on 77 habitats listed in Annex I of the Habitats Directive.
  2. The aim of the Habitats Directive is to achieve favourable conservation status for the species and habitats listed in its Annexes. An assessment of status and trends for each species and habitat is undertaken every 6 years. Trends in ‘unfavourable’ conservation status allow identification of whether progress is being made, as it will take many years for some habitats and species to reach ‘favourable’ conservation status.

Source: UK Habitats Directive (Article 17) reports 2007 and 2013.

Assessment of change in status of UK habitats of European importance


Long term

Short term

Latest year

Percentage of UK habitats of European importance in favourable or improving conservation status


Decreased (2013)

Note: The short-term assessment is based on a 3% rule of thumb. See Assessing Indicators.



Download the Fiche and Datasheet from the JNCC Resource Hub

Last updated: September 2019

Latest data: 2013



UK Biodiversity Indicators 2019

Published: .

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