This report focuses on three European Protected Sites in Kent, namely the Thames Estuary and Marshes; the Medway Estuary and Marshes and The Swale. The three sites are designated as Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and also as Ramsar Sites and form a contiguous swathe of coastal habitats along the north Kent shore. The designations reflect the importance of the area for wintering waterfowl, breeding waterfowl, breeding and wintering raptors and also encompass a range of rare plant and invertebrate species.
A real and current issue for nature conservation in the UK is how to ensure the integrity of key sites in the context of development and other pressures. There is now a strong body of evidence showing how increasing levels of development, even when well outside the boundary of protected sites, can have negative impacts on the sites. The SPA and Ramsar designations bring particular and strict legal requirements relating to plans and projects which are not for nature conservation management.
In this report we collate existing baseline information relating to the three European Sites, summarising the designated interest features, their status and trends, habitat issues and potential threats. The aim of the work is to provide these data in a way that is easy to access and available to others. It also provides an assessment of where there are gaps in our knowledge about the European sites.