UK coastal seabird haven is made a marine special protected area

A stretch of the Northumberland coastline which is known as an important site for Arctic terns and Atlantic puffins has been granted greater protection

Part of the coastline in Northumberland which is one of the most important sites in the UK for seabirds such as Arctic terns and Atlantic puffins has been given greater protection by government conservation body Natural England.

The newly designated Northumberland marine special protected area (SPA) stretches 12 miles from the coast into the North Sea, covering an area larger than 120,000 football pitches.

It is the most important site in the UK for Arctic, common and roseate terns, the second most important site for sandwich tern, and the third most important site for Atlantic puffin.
International designation is designed to help ensure any disturbance to the birds’ essential open water feeding areas is minimised, so the birds can feed safely.

Chris Corrigan, director of RSPB England, said: “It is fantastic to see these special places being recognised and given the protection they so need and we hope to see more designations in the very near future.

It is fantastic to see these special places being recognised and given the protection they so need

“As the UK moves closer to leaving the EU, we urge the government to continue to recognise the significance of protecting these sites, based on scientific evidence, and that they continue to protect and manage these sites to the same or even higher standards than those currently secured by European law for generations to come.”

Natural England has also announced extensions to Hamford Water SPA in Essex and Morecambe Bay and Duddon Estuary SPA in Cumbria, adding an area bigger than 150,000 football pitches to the existing marine protected area network.

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