A section of Northumberland coastline supporting 200,000 seabirds are getting greater protection, Natural England announced today.
The newly designated Northumberland Marine Special Protection Area (SPA) stretches 12 miles from the coastline into the North Sea, and covers an area equivalent to more than 120,000 football pitches.
Natural England describes the Northumberland coast as as 'the most important site in the UK for Arctic, common and roseate terns, the second most important site for sandwich tern, and the third most important site for Atlantic puffin.'
International designation will help ensure any disturbance to the birds’ open water feeding areas is minimised, so that the birds have a safe space to feed in.
A spokeswoman for Natural England said the announcement builds on the protection already afforded to important breeding sites via the network of SPAs at Coquet Island, Farne Islands, and Lindisfarne.
Along with the new Northumberland Marine SPA, Natural England also announced extensions to Hamford Water SPA in Essex and Morecambe Bay and Duddon Estuary SPA in Cumbria.