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New protections for thousands of seabirds - Natural England

Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, announces new protections for the breeding and foraging grounds of rare and vulnerable seabirds.

Ambitious plans to help protect England’s rare and vulnerable seabirds will today (16 January 2019) be announced by Environment Minister Rebecca Pow.

New and extended special protection areas, designated to protect rare and vulnerable seabirds from human activity, such as fishing or outdoor recreation, will be designated in the Solent and near Middlesbrough.

common tern
common tern

Close to 1,000 pairs of three species of tern will benefit from a new Solent and Dorset Coast Special Protection Area (SPA) which will span more than 891 km2, equivalent to more than 125,000 football pitches. The area is the fifth most important foraging site in the UK for little tern and seventh most important for common tern during their breeding season.

The Teesmouth and Cleveland Coast SPA will also be extended by 109 km2, bringing the total area size to more than 122 km2, which equals more than 17,000 football pitches. With the extension in place, more than 35,000 individual birds such as pied avocet, ruff and migratory red knot will be protected.

The new and extended locations join 47 existing sites in English waters.

The Environment Minister will also confirm a comprehensive Seabird Conservation Strategy, which will be published in December 2020. This will assess the vulnerability of each species in light of the pressures they are facing and will propose actions to address them.