What is the status of European Marine Sites and European legislation after EU Exit?
The eight European sites (SACs and SPAs) along the inshore waters of the Berwickshire and Northumberland coast were created to meet EU obligations and legally meet the requirements of UK national legislation. Following EU Exit on 31st January 2020, the provisions of the Habitats Regulations continue to operate in UK law through The Conservation of Habitats and Species (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. As such, all roles and responsibilities for Relevant Authorities towards European Marine Site’s will remain for the foreseeable future.
Why do we need Marine Protected Areas (MPA?)
The seas around the coast of the UK support a huge variety of marine life, including species and habitats that are globally rare and declining. The seas are also a place where people earn their livelihood or spend their time in recreational pursuits. Our marine areas are of environmental, social and economic importance but despite this they are still being impacted on by some human activities.
Marine Protected Areas offer a way of recognising the importance of our most important areas of sea while putting a mechanism in place whereby pressures on them can be identified and addressed.
Why are Marine Protected Areas relevant to me/my organisation?
Our seas support a rich array of plants and animals, many of which are rare or declining, and are an important source of livelihood and enjoyment for local communities. Well managed, high quality, marine areas are important to social, economic and environmental wellbeing.
In addition to this, many organisations have legal responsibilities and duties to protect the marine environment under UK and European legislation. This legislation needs to be taken into account by organisations when undertaking their functions, for example by ensuring that activities that they permit or licence do not cause damage to protected areas.
On a day to day basis, the main ways in which legislation may be effect an organisations are by:
- introducing consenting or licencing requirements for certain activities on MPAs (e.g. requirements for Marine Licences for deposits on the seabed, or need for consent for activities on Sites of Special Scientific Interest)
- requiring a Habitats Regulations Assessment of Plans or Projects taking place on a SPA or SAC
- placing statutory duties on certain bodies (e.g. the duty placed on Public Authorities in England to duty to consider the effect of proposed activities on MCZs before authorising them)
Further details of the responsibilities on individual organisations can be found under individual entries in the Partnership Members section of the toolkit
What do I do if I find a stranded or dead marine mammal?
Please download a copy of our information note Reporting Dead or Stranded Marine Mammals.
If the animal is still alive it can be reported to the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) on 01825 765 546 (during office hours) or on 07787 433 412 (out of hours). BDMLR will advise on what to do and will send a trained medic out as soon as possible.
If the animal is dead it should be reported to The Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) on 0800 652 0333
Please remember that finding a seal on a beach does not necessarily indicate a problem. It is part of the normal behaviour of seals to haul out on to the coast where they regularly spend time resting or digesting their food. Mothers regularly leave their pups alone on the shore while they rest, play and forage for food nearby. Lone pups are a common sight and are quite safe. If you find a live seal on the shore, it is more than likely just resting. Observe from a distance, particularly if it is a young pup. Scaring it may cause it to move, making it difficult for its mother to find again.
How do I report a pollution incident at the coast?
Environmental incidents in both England and Scotland can be reported to the Environment Agency/SEPA’s 24-hour incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60
Pollution incidents that can be reported via the hotline include both chemical pollutants and sewage-related pollution.
Where can I find what data or information exists for a particular marine protected area?
A great deal of information exists about the marine environment, much of it spread between a large number of organisations. One of our reasons for creating this site was to try to bring all of this information together in one place. The entries for individual sites in the MPAs in Our Area part of the toolkit summarise the data sources that we know about and provide links to these. This will be added to as new data becomes available.
Please also see our Guidance Note entitled Summary of MPA Data Sources for more information about the online resources available for information about the marine environment.
I don't understand a particular technical term or acronym that you use. Can you explain what they mean?
Please see our Glossary of Terms for an explanation. If there is a term or an acronym that is missing then please contact us and let us know and we will try to include it.
Does the Management Scheme for the Berwickshire and North Northumberland Coast European Marine Site still exist?
How can I get more involved in conserving our local seas?
There are many organisations or projects operating along the Berwickshire and Northumberland coast how are actively seeking volunteers to help them in their work. These include the St Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve in Scotland and the Coast Care Project operating in Northumberland.
There are also a wide variety of ‘Citizen Science’ projects that you can become involved with and which will help to provide us with valuable information about what is happening in our marine environment. A full list of these are available on our links page.