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Special Areas of Conservation

Volume 469: debated on Monday 10 December 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which inshore sites he has identified to become special areas of conservation over the next five years; and if he will make a statement. (170890)

Currently, there are 28 Special Areas of Conservation with marine habitats or species in English inshore waters. Natural England are in the process of carrying out a programme of further data collection and survey work for seven additional inshore areas. This should lead to the selection of further Special Areas of Conservation.

The areas involved include: Outer Wash sandbanks; Greater Thames estuary; Lyme Bay to Poole Bay; Salcombe to Yealm and Eddystone; Lizard Point; Lands End and Cape Bank; and Outer Morecombe Bay, Shell Flat and Lune Deep.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which offshore sites he has identified to become special areas of conservation over the next five years; and if he will make a statement. (170891)

We are completing our Natura 2000 network of sites in the marine area, which we hope to have substantially finalised by 2012. We expect to send an initial tranche of candidate offshore special areas of conservation to the European Commission before September 2008.

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee will be consulting on seven initial sites later this month. These include: Braemar Pockmarks, Darwin Mounds, Haig Fras, North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reef, Scanner Pockmark, Stanton Banks and Wyville Thomson Ridge.

Our programme of data collection and survey work will continue to identify further sites needed to complete the UK network.