Assessment of the Condition of Features in Marine Protected Areas (TIN178)

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In 2016, Natural England trialled and rolled out a new condition assessment methodology that provides robust results and information on the condition of marine features within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Natural England’s Area Teams, who as site leads are very familiar with their sites, as well as the past and ongoing monitoring projects and other evidence sources, conduct these assessments following a standardised approach. The method assesses if feature- and site-specific targets that are set out in the sites’ Supplementary Advice on Conservation Objectives (SACOs) have been met.
The marine condition assessment process is applicable to all fully marine features that lie seawards of mean high water. This excludes saltmarsh, sand dunes, vegetated coastal shingle/driftlines and vegetated cliffs, but includes coastal and saline lagoons, intertidal reef and intertidal sediments. The methodology will be developed to also assess the condition of species, including mobile species, in the future.
Assessments for the first sites have been completed, and several others are currently assessed by the Area Teams. To date, condition assessments have been carried out for marine habitat features of a number of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). Marine habitat features in other SACs will be assessed in the future. Different processes are currently in place to report on the condition of features in Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs), and on the condition of non-marine habitat features and species features of SACs. The method will be trialled for these cases in the future.

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TIN178 - Edition 1: Assessment of the Condition of Features in Marine Protected Areas, PDF, 206.6 KB 2020/12/03