Some statutory nature reserves are designated by national bodies in the United Kingdom, and are known as national nature reserves.
In Great Britain, nature reserves designed under Part III of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 that are deemed to be of national importance may be designated as statutory 'national nature reserves' by the relevant national nature conservation body (Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage, or Natural Resources Wales) using section 35(1) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
If a nature reserve is designated by a local authority in Great Britain, then the resulting statutory nature reserve will be referred to as a local nature reserve.
In Northern Ireland, statutory nature reserves are designated by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency under the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (Northern Ireland) Order 1985. There are 47 NNRs in Northern Ireland.
- Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (c.69) Section 35: National nature reserves
- "National nature reserves". NatureScot. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
- S.I. 1985/170