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The extent of Annex I Sandbanks in North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reef cSAC/SCI 2015


The North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reef candidate Special Area of Conservation (cSAC) is located in the southern North Sea, extending from approximately 40 km (22 nautical miles) off the north east coast of Norfolk out to approximately 110 km (60 nautical miles). The cSAC/SCI was designated for two Annex I features: ‘Sandbanks which are slightly covered by seawater all of the time’ and ‘Sabellaria spinulosa’ Reef. In 2010, JNCC published The North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reef SAC Site Assessment Document (SAD) to support the nomination of the site under the EC Habitats & Species Directive. The SAD noted: The [SAC] boundary presented includes both ‘sandy sediments in less than 20 m water depth’ and the flanks and troughs of these banks which are also part of the sandbank feature but extend into deeper waters.

To support ongoing discussions about management within the cSAC/SCI, JNCC undertook further analysis to confirm the extent of the features within the site. Additional data were collected from the North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reef cSAC/SCI as part of a JNCC/Cefas survey of the site in 2013. Following the analysis, JNCC concluded that the biological communities associated with the individual modelled shallow sandbanks occur across the MPA, including adjacent areas where the seabed is much deeper than 20m. Sand is the dominant sediment type across the MPA, with patches of coarser and mixed sediment, which may then also be associated in places with Sabellaria spinulosa reef.

These results confirm JNCC’s earlier view set out in the SAC Selection Assessment Document, that the whole MPA should be considered as a representative functioning example of the Annex I feature Sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time.

Resource type Publication

Topic category Oceans

Reference date 2015·06·01

Results of a study conducted to investigate the extent of Annex I sandbanks in the North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reef cSAC/SCI

Responsible organisation
Communications, JNCC author

Limitations on public access No limitations

Use constraints Available under the Open Government Licence 3.0

Metadata date 2020·05·06

Metadata point of contact
Communications, JNCC

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