European Marine Sites

The term European Marine Site (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.

Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) – ‘contains animals, plants and habitats that are considered rare, special or threatened within Europe’ which are protected under the EU Habitats Directive (1992) and;

Special Protection Areas (SPAs) – ‘protect internationally & nationally important bird species’ and their supporting habitats which are protected under the EU Birds Directive (2009)
There are 7 EMSs in the Southern IFCA District:
  1. Lyme Bay and Torbay cSAC
  2. Chesil and the Fleet EMS
  3. Studland to Portland cSAC
  4. Poole Harbour SPA
  5. South Wight Maritime SAC
  6. Solent EMS
  7. Solent and Isle of Wight Lagoons

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

Selection of site boundaries are based completely on scientific evidence and socio-economic factors cannot be taken into consideration.
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