New Marine Protected Area expected

Thursday, 2 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. 

The Flamborough and Filey Coast Special Protection Area (SPA) will build on existing designations along the 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 SPA will extend over 7,600 hectares from Sewerby Cliffs in the East Riding of Yorkshire to Cunstone Nab, south of Scarborough, in North Yorkshire.

Cllr Mike Cockerill, Scarborough Borough Council Cabinet Member for Major Projects said:

"We are pleased to able to support this very important initiative, which will not only directly benefit the seabird colony in the Filey and Flamborough areas and help to protect them for future generations, but will also extend the Yorkshire coast’s visitor appeal as an excellent destination for nature tourism."

A formal designation announcement from the Government is expected to follow in the next few weeks. More details of the protected area and the internationally-important seabird colony can be found at

The natural marine environment around Flamborough Head and Filey Brigg is managed and protected by a partnership of organisations under the umbrella title of the Flamborough Head European Marine Site (EMS). Eleven organisations form the decision-making body of a wider partnership structure, known as the Management Scheme. As part of this group, local authorities, government departments, harbour commissioners and local water resource managers work in close partnership with other interested parties, such as the RSPB, to further the conservation and management of this internationally-important area.

Picture of puffins on a coastal cliff