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Special Protection Areas for Seabirds

Special Protection Areas for Seabirds

The EU Birds Directive requires the UK government to identify a network of Special Protection Areas (SPAs) to protect Europe’s rarest, most vulnerable and regularly-occurring migratory birds.

Whilst the suite of SPAs on English land is well-established, further work is required to complete a network at sea in order to meet the needs of our important populations of breeding and wintering seabirds.

The UK government has committed to identifying a network of SPAs in the marine environment and classifying sites by the end of 2015 to fulfil its obligations under the Birds Directive.

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) is conducting, on behalf of Natural England, a survey programme of seabirds breeding and foraging areas to inform the designation of the new marine SPAs. As part of this work, JNCC has been gathering data and carrying out modelling work around existing tern colonies.

The survey work is due to report findings at the end of 2012 at which point we can identify boundaries for possible sites.

Natural England will engage with stakeholders at two main stages, firstly at the informal dialogue stage after initial boundaries have been developed, and then secondly through a formal public consultation. Stakeholders will have the chance to discuss and respond to the scientific case for classification and to provide their own data, and also to provide information on the potential effects that classifying an area as a SPA might have on them, which will help to inform the associated socio-economic Impact Assessment. Several existing SPAs in the Eastern Channel area have been identified for possible extensions.

Information has just been published on the Natural England website.

For more information about the Special Protected Areas  click HERE.

For more information on the different types of Marine Protected Areas and the network they form click HERE.