Closed – consultation: Solway Firth proposed SPA (proposed marine extension and site name change)

Closes midnight, 17th January 2017.

Scottish Natural Heritage and Natural England are jointly consulting on the Solway Firth potential Special Protection Area (pSPA). This is a cross-border site and the new SPA will be formed by merging the existing Upper Solway Flats & Marshes SPA with a new extension encompassing the marine waters west of the existing SPA, between Whitehaven (England) and Wigtown Bay (Scotland). This area supports important wintering bird populations such as red-throated diver, common scoter and goosander. Solway Firth’s marine waters are shallow and support extensive areas of intertidal mudflats and sandflats, reefs and sub-tidal sandbanks. In turn, these habitats support a large diversity of fish (including providing important spawning and nursery grounds) and a broad range of shellfish such as crabs and mussels. Divers and scoters forage primarily by surface diving, and these rich and shallow waters provide excellent feeding habitat for these wintering birds. In addition, the inner and outer firth are used by a rich assemblage of water birds such as whooper swan, cormorant, common gull and scaup for roosting, loafing and feeding. The proposed extension to the SPA will help protect the birds themselves as well as the rich feeding grounds and sheltered waters on which they depend. It is also proposed to add new species to the exisitng SPA as a review in 2001 showed that the mudflats, saltmarshes and grazing marshes also support important numbers of ringed plover, lapwing, cormorant, blackheaded gull, common gull and herring gull.

For more information click here. Please note that responses should be submitted to Scottish Natural Heritage as they are acting as the lead Statutory Nature Conservation Body for the site proposals.


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