Not all ponds will be identified as priority ponds under the the Habitat Action Plan. Priority ponds will need to meet certain criteria and it is estimated that around 20% of the 400,000 or so ponds (ponds not in gardens) in the UK will meet one or more of the criteria:
1. Habitats of high conservation importance
Ponds that meet criteria under Annex 1 of the Habitats Directive.
2. Ponds with species of high conservation importance
These are Red Data Book species, BAP species, species fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act Schedule 5 and 8, Habitats Directive Annex II species, a Nationally Scarce wetland plant species, or three Nationally Scarce aquatic invertebrate species.
3. Ponds with exceptional populations or numbers of key species
This is based on
(i) criteria specified in guidelines for the selection of biological Sites of Special Scientific Interest (currently amphibians and dragonflies only)
(ii) exceptionally rich sites for plants or invertebrates (supporting 30 or more wetland plant species or 50 or more aquatic macroinvertebrate species).
For information about pond survey methods click here.
4. Ponds of high ecological quality
These are ponds classified in the top category for ecological quality, as assessed by the standardised method for assessing the biological quality of still waters in England and Wales - the Predictive System for Multimetrics (PSYM).
5. Other important ponds
These are individual ponds or groups of ponds with a limited geographic distribution recognised as important because of their age, rarity of type or landscape context e.g. pingos, duneslack ponds, machair ponds.