Coastal area to receive special designation

This story was published 1 August 2018

Seabirds breeding along the Yorkshire coast will be afforded additional protection, following the expected designation of a new Marine Protected Area (MPA) around Flamborough and Filey.

Filey North Cliffs

The Flamborough and Filey Coast Special Protection Area (SPA) will build on existing designations along this internationally-important stretch of coastline to ensure further protection for the UK’s largest mainland seabird colony, both on the cliffs and within inshore waters. 

Jeremy Pickles, chair of the management partnership that looks after the various Marine Protected Areas around Flamborough and Filey, said: “We are pleased to welcome this announcement from the Government.

“Our seabirds are under significant pressure from international issues, such as climate change, and therefore it is important that we provide safe breeding areas for these iconic species. 

“The expected designation has already been incorporated into our management plan and we look forward to continuing to work closely with our partners to ensure this magnificent area for wildlife is effectively and appropriately managed.”

The new designation will include protection for all species of seabird nesting around Flamborough and Filey, including the colourful puffin and the UK’s largest seabird, the gannet, which has a wing span of up to two metres. 

The protected area will also include two kilometres of inshore waters, where many seabirds carry out social behaviours during the breeding season and can often be seen gathered in small groups on the sea at this time of year. 

The Flamborough and Filey Coast Special Protection Area will extend over 7,600 hectares from Sewerby Cliffs in the East Riding of Yorkshire to Cunstone Nab, south of Scarborough, in North Yorkshire. 

County Councillor Andrew Lee, Executive Member for Open to Business, said: “The County Council welcomes the formal protection of these internationally important seabird colonies and the new extension from Filey to Cunstone Nab. Active conservation measures to protect nesting birds have paid dividends with numbers increasing in most species.  The move will also protect this wildlife so that it can be enjoyed by future generations.”

A formal designation announcement from the Government is expected to follow in the next few weeks. See more details of the protected area and the internationally-important seabird colony.