The term ‘European Marine Sites’ (EMS) collectively describes Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) that are covered by tidal waters and protect some of our most important marine and coastal habitats and species of European importance.
SACs contain animals, plants and habitats that are considered rare, special or threatened within Europe while SPAs protect important bird species. These sites are designated under the EU Habitats and Birds Directives respectively and form part of the European-wide Natura 2000 network of internationally important sites.
Natural England is responsible for providing nature conservation advice to relevant authorities for EMS in English territorial waters. It also provides joint advice with statutory nature conservation bodies in Wales and Scotland for cross-border and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) for offshore sites. Until 2010, this advice was given under Regulation 33 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 Advice is now provided under Regulation 35 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010.
To satisfy the requirements set out in the Report of the Habitats and Wild Birds Directive Implementation Review (Defra, March 2012), the European Commission guidance on conservation objectives and to respond to stakeholder feedback on the quality of current advice, Natural England is reviewing the approach it takes to developing and delivering the information contained in these packages. Please see our improving MPA conservation advice pages for more information.
Search for sites within English waters and cross-border sites by alphabetical listing or map location. Along with the conservation advice packages, all or some of the following supporting documents are also provided:
Natura 2000 Standard Data Forms (forms submitted to the EU Commission at site designation, containing high-level information about site location and designated features)
Maps of the sites extent, the individual SACs and SPAs within the sites or other features
SAC Selection Assessment Documents and Departmental Briefs for SPAs
Management Plans or links to the management scheme websites (where applicable)
The SAC network in English territorial waters is complete. Further work is required to complete the SPA network at sea in order to safeguard internationally important populations of breeding, migrating and wintering birds. See new marine Natura 2000 sites for further information.
If you have any further questions regarding conservation advice please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
(10 October 2012) During Autumn 2012 Natural England is carrying out informal dialogue with stakeholders about proposals for a marine Special Protection Area (SPA) along the south Cornwall coast between Falmouth Bay and St Austell Bay.
(13 June 2012) During Summer 2012 Natural England is undertaking informal dialogue with stakeholders about proposals for an extension to the existing Flamborough Head and Bempton Cliffs Special Protection Area (SPA).