Dogger Bank becomes protected EU habitat

27th November 2012

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  • Agriculture ,
  • Business & Industry ,
  • Ecosystems ,
  • Biodiversity ,
  • Natural resources



More than 12,000 square kilometres of sandbanks off the east coast of England is now under EU protection after being added to the Natura 2000 list

Dogger Bank is the largest of the 235 sites to receive approval from the European Commission to be added to the Natura 2000 network of protected areas.

Natura 2000 is made up of special areas of conservation and protection, as established by the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive, and each year member states are able to put forward new areas for inclusion.

Following the approval of a further 25,000km2 of sites this week, habitats included in Natura 2000 now cover 17.9% of the EU’s landmass and around 4% of its seas.

“The Natura 2000 network forms the backbone of our efforts to protect the natural world, and is vital for biodiversity,” said Janez Potočnik EU commissioner for the environment. “The expansion is good news for nature, and good news for us.”

The commission describes Dogger Bank as this year’s most significant addition to Natura 2000 and, with adjacent sites from Germany and the Netherlands, creates a trans-boundary area covering more than 18,000km2 of the North Sea.

The submerged sandbanks provide key spawning and nursery grounds for many of the EU’s commercial fisheries, and the commission hopes that the new designation will encourage greater coordination in the management of the area, including joint efforts to develop appropriate fisheries measures.

East Mingulay in the Outer Hebrides was also confirmed as a special area of conservation and extensions were approved to the Shell Flat sandbank site off the coast of Lancashire and at Prawle Point, part of the Plymouth Sound site on the Devon and Cornwall coast.

Other major additions this year included 10 new marine areas in the Baltic Sea covering almost 4,000km2 of feeding grounds for seals and migratory fish; and 109 new sites in Romania comprising meadow and forest habitats vital for rare and endangered bat and amphibian species.


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