Protected areas of the United Kingdom are areas in the United Kingdom which need and /or receive protection because of their environmental, historical or cultural value to the nation. Methods and aims of protection vary depending on the nature and importance of the resource. Protection operates at local, regional, national and international levels, and may be backed by legislation and international treaty, or less formally by planning policy.
Within the United Kingdom, different approaches are taken to some forms of protection within the constituent countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, while other forms of protection are more consistent across the UK. Protected areas can be divided according to the type of resource which each seeks to protect. Primarily, these are: scenic or landscape value; biodiversity value (species and habitats); geodiversity value (relating to geology and geomorphology); and cultural or historic value. Several types of protected areas are focused on more than one of these areas.
Besides protected areas, a number of individual features are protected through other designations, such as tree preservation orders, listed buildings, and protected shipwrecks.