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 11 EMSs in the Southern IFCA District:
  1. Lyme Bay and Torbay SAC
  2. Chesil and the Fleet EMS
    • Chesil and the Fleet SAC
    • Chesil Beach and the Fleet SPA
  3. Studland to Portland SAC
  4. Poole Harbour SPA
  5. South Wight Maritime SAC
  6. Solent EMS
    • Solent and Isle of Wight Lagoons SAC
    • Solent Maritime SAC
    • Portsmouth Harbour SPA
    • Chichester and Langstone Harbours SPA
    • Solent and Southampton Water SPA
  7. Solent and Dorset Coast SPA

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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