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Special Areas of Conservation for Harbour Porpoise – Impact Assessment 2015

Marine Protected Areas Seabed Habitats and Geology Habitats Habitats Directive Marine Habitats UK Habitats and Species


This impact assessment was undertaken by JNCC in 2015, and provides a socio-economic impact assessment of the five proposed harbour porpoise SACs. It was produced for the public consultation on the sites, held in 2016.

Harbour porpoises are impacted by a number of anthropogenic pressures, including, but not limited to: bycatch in static net fisheries; activities that generate impulsive noise (e.g. pile driving and seismic surveys); chemical pollution, notably persistent organic pollutants, and; variability in food resources. The species is recognised as one of conservation importance under several directives and conventions. It is a species listed in Annexes II and IV of the EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EC).

The EU Habitats Directive requires Member States to take measures to maintain or restore natural habitats and wild species listed on the Annexes of the Directive to favourable conservation status (FCS). To that end Member States are required to contribute to a coherent European ecological network of protected sites by designating Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) for habitats listed on Annex I and for species listed on Annex II of the Directive.

JNCC, Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage, Natural Resources Wales and the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland provided advice to the UK Governments with respect to the designation of eight new Special Areas of Conservation to protect harbour porpoise in UK waters. The identification of these sites was based on the evidence presented in a recent analysis of harbour porpoises sightings data collected throughout UK waters between 1994 and 2011. The sites have persistently higher densities of harbour porpoises than other areas. Designation and management of these sites would contribute to the UK’s wider measures in place to ensure the conservation of this species. The Governments of Wales and Northern Ireland, and Defra on behalf of England and for offshore waters, decided to proceed to consultation with five of the sites, and the impact assessment therefore focusses on these five sites. These proposed sites are:

  • Southern North Sea
  • North Channel
  • North Anglesey Marine / Gogledd Môn Forol
  • West Wales Marine / Gorllewin Cymru Forol
  • Bristol Channel Approaches / Dynesfeydd Môr Hafren

The outputs of the public consultation are available in JNCC Report No. 597: '2016 Consultation on possible Special Areas of Conservation for harbour porpoise: Post-Consultation Report'

Resource type Publication

Topic category Oceans

Reference date 2015··

This Impact Assessment was undertaken by JNCC to inform the public consultation on the proposed designation of harbour porpoise Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) held in 2016.

Responsible organisation
Communications, JNCC author

Limitations on public access No limitations

Use constraints Available under the Open Government Licence 3.0

Metadata date 2020·02·26

Metadata point of contact
Communications, JNCC

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